- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 15, 2009

Apparently, we were warned. The world will come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012.

We know this because a new movie points out that’s when the Mayan calendar ends.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not much of a “warning” to me.

The Mayans had an advanced civilization but were conquered by Spain more than 300 years ago. If they were so smart, maybe they should have put that on their calendar. (“You want to go out with me in 1697? Let me check my calendar. … Sorry, can’t make it. I’m being conquered by the Spanish then. Looks like the whole year is a bust. And the rest of the millennium isn’t looking too good, either.”)

I mean, what makes the Mayan calendar so great? Did it predict the Boston Red Sox would win the 2004 World Series? I think not.

Did it predict that Jay Leno would leave “The Tonight Show” for a gig in prime time? I think not.

Did it predict that Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson would break up? No! And that was an easy one!

You know, the Mayan calendar ending in 2012 isn’t necessarily a harbinger of the end of the world. Maybe the calendar maker just got tired and quit. (“2010, 2011… 2012! That oughta hold ‘em.”)

Or maybe he couldn’t count any higher than 2012. (“What comes after 2012? It’s either 2013 or the end of the world. Which one? … I’ll flip a coin.”)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that the world isn’t going to end in 2012. It is an election year, after all.

I’m just saying the world isn’t going to end in 2012 just because the Mayan calendar says so.

In fact, there are LOTS of signs that the end is closer than we think:

• The New York Yankees won the World Series — again.

• Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt haven’t adopted anybody in a while.

• The U.S. House of Representatives worked all day last Saturday.

• “Sesame Street” is 40 years old, but Big Bird is only 6.

• Aerosmith says they’re looking for a new lead singer, but Steven Tyler says he’s not leaving the band.

• The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a game — and the loser wasn’t the Washington Redskins.

• Jon Gosselin of “Jon & Kate Plus 8” is going to date Nadya “Octomom” Suleman. On the air.

Coincidence? You make the call.

Me? I’m going to Disney World. Because, when it comes to experiencing the end of the world, only three things matter — location, location, location.

•••


I’ve reached an age where I hate getting late-night phone calls.

It’s a certain age — somewhere between 25 and death.

You see, late-night phone calls take on different meanings as you age.

When you’re young, a late-night phone call is a call to excitement.

It means there’s a party somewhere, and you’re not going to get much sleep.

It means somebody needs to talk to you desperately, and you must listen and offer advice.

It means that somebody’s in jail, and they need you to bail them out.

You’ve gotta get up, get out, get going.

But when you get older, a late-night phone call is only a call to trouble.

It means there’s a party somewhere, and you’re not going to get much sleep.

It means somebody needs to talk to you desperately, and you must listen and offer advice.

It means that somebody’s in jail, and they need you to bail them out.

You’ve gotta get up, get out, get going.

Or it’s just a wrong number.

Either way, you’re just going to be cranky in the morning.

•••


In my first column, I said that words are my “thing.”

It’s not a very good thing.

I tend to think a lot about words — their meaning and usage.

Which means that, yes, I am a nerd. And, no, I do not have a lot of friends. Or money.

This is just my way of explaining my puzzlement at a gas pump last week.

I was filling my tank and started reading the sign on the pump to pass the time.

It said, “We honor the following credit cards,” and it showed the logos for MasterCard, Visa, Discovery and some other cards.

I frowned.

They honor my credit card? That just doesn’t sound right to me.

As a kid, I was taught to honor my father and my mother. I wasn’t taught to honor all major credit cards … until adulthood.

I know that one definition for honor means to “accept” a credit card.

But it has always been my experience that companies don’t just accept my card. They take it. They abuse it. They squeeze it for every penny they can wring from its little plastic form. Then they return it with a smile.

There is no “honor” in it.

When they say they will honor my card, it sounds as if they want to pay tribute to it. But what they really want is for me to pay tribute — at 19.9 percent annual interest.

Would they honor my card if I had no credit? I don’t think so.

I’m pretty sure they would call it mean names and start vicious rumors about it.

You can reach Carleton Bryant at 202/636-3218 and cbryant@washingtontimes.com — but only if you call before 8 p.m.

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