Aphorisms For The Apocalypse

Harold Camping in 2008

Would it kill you just say you were wrong and then stop talking? (Image via Wikipedia)

Well, here we are at Rapture + four days. I don’t think there are many of us surprised by that. None of us except predictor in chief, Harold Camping.  Camping has indicated he was, in fact, surprised. He then issued another date for the end (October 21, 2011) upon realizing that he had miscalculated.

Mr. Camping, let’s talk shall we?

I was taught to respect age, but I think my parents felt that in teaching me so, they’d also be teaching me to respect the wisdom that comes with that age. Since wisdom seems to be a missing piece in you, allow me to impart a few bits of common knowledge that you might want to consider before issuing another apocalypse date.

Check Your Work

I remember taking a math test when I was very young. I remember it more for the life lesson I learned than for the math knowledge I gained.

Check your work, sir. (image via sondrakistan.com)

In my youthful zeal to not be involved in doing any math, I rushed through the test and turned my answers in before anyone else in the class. I then returned to my seat and started reading.

A few minutes later, the nun who was my second grade teacher came up behind me, smacked me in the back of the head and dropped my test paper on my desk. She’d indicated with a  large red x each of the wrong answers I’d written. There was so much red ink on the paper that I am surprised she had enough left to write, “check your work”.  She must have had a fresh pen, Mr. Camping, because it sure was written there. She pushed my head down until my forehead touched the words, so I remember them clearly.

Mr. Camping, you are an engineer. How do you say “the world is going to end” and not check your work? I certainly hope this is not the standard of care you used in your calculations in the more orthodox applications of your engineering education. Just in case it is, would you provide my friends and I the names of any building projects you might have been involved in, especially any bridges over deep gorges?

Check your work sir. I hear Sister Mary Theresa still has a wicked right hook.

Am I Crazy Or…

Sir, when you see something astounding, for instance, a calculation that indicates when the world will end, it is appropriate to ask someone else to verify what you see.

The other day I was in a car with a colleague. We passed a car that seemed to be driven by someone neither of us had seen for a long time. I said to my friend “am I crazy, or was that Gene in that Toyota?” My friend reminded me that Gene passed away a few years ago and would never have owned a Toyota. By asking that simple question, I avoided embarrassing myself by telling a larger group of people that I had seen Gene.

When you think you want to issue another prediction, say aloud “am I crazy, or is the world going to end on October 21, 2011?” Mr. Camping, the answer to that question is always “yes you are and no it is not.”

Measure Twice, Cut Once

A carpenter and his mate prepare a door for in...

If I had a hammer, I'd swing it in the evening...(Image via Wikipedia)

Hey, you know who are really bright people? Carpenters. Give them some wood, some tools, some fasteners, bang – you’ve got a new chair, or maybe even a house. Can you do that Mr. Camping? Me neither.

Carpenters are not big fans of  wasted material. If they cut a board to fit a particular use and come up short, they have wasted the money it cost to get that board plus the time it took to prepare it for use. Time and material are money to a carpenter. Because of that, carpenters measure their work meticulously and repetitively. Doing this ensures accuracy.

Think of this as checking your work, sir. In your case, inaccuracy doesn’t lead to wasted wood, it leads to wasting the world’s time. Before your next prediction, consider measuring twice and saving us all some time. Remember, according to you, we don’t have much of it left.

Three Strikes, You’re Out

Baltimore Orioles Bird

Knows how many strikes you get (Image by Keith Allison via Flickr)

Do you like baseball Mr. Camping? Me too. So it would be pretty elementary for us to discuss that if you swing and miss at three pitches during an at bat, you are out. You return to the bench and that opportunity is considered a failure.

Sir, with all due respect, you’ve had your three strikes.  You’ve predicted our demise on May 21, 1988, September 7, 1994 and then this past Saturday, May 21, 2011. Three strikes, sir, please take a seat. No one is going to put a lot of stock in your idea that we’re all going to say goodbye to one another in October of this year. Only the most foolish of fools is paying heed to your prediction.

Ah, and what of the fools? They bring me to my final point.

What A Fool Believes

Sir, I’d bet that you and I could agree that Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest leaders the United States will ever have. Do you know what he said regarding making a fool of oneself? Lincoln said:

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

Mr. Camping, there are a lot of us who think you might just be a fool. As I mentioned earlier, my parents raised me to respect age and wisdom. Generally, I think they’d be against me telling a gentleman of your age to stop talking. In your case, I know they’d make an exception. Stop talking. Stop now. You aren’t helping your case, but you’re making Abraham Lincoln look even smarter than we agreed he was.

Say goodbye, sir.

58 Comments on “Aphorisms For The Apocalypse”

  1. That’s one of my favourite Lincoln quotes, Oma!

    I think you should send Camping a link to your post…I especially like the “3 strikes” rule!

    I’m happy you’re still here to provide me with giggles!


  2. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I’m beginning to feel a tiny bit sorry for him. His behavior is something you see from lots of old, senile folks – the retelling of a story or some news because they can’t remember they said it before. Ok, I’m being far too kind. This dude is just a freaky old geezer. I suppose, if you had to look at that mug in the mirror everyday, and realizing you were wearing the skull of death, you’d be predicting the end constantly.

    Loved this post! You are the wisest, Oma!

  3. Lenore Diane says:

    Did the Nun really push your head down in to your paper? That’s awful. Awful! However the post? Great! Here’s hoping Mr. Camping has a chance to read this for himself. If not Mr. Camping, perhaps his followers.

    By the way, I am now singing the Doobie Brother’s song “What a Fool Believes” in my head. Thanks.

  4. We found him Captain!! says:

    Hey Oma,

    I really like your work. You have the wisdom of a true WISEMAN. You are even wise enough to stay in front of the pack when traveling with other wisemen on your camel. The scenery is much better from the front of the pack than from the back. who wants to cross the desert looking at the butt end of a posse of camels.

    I don’t think the world will end in October…… I have tickets for an October concert to see “The Inkspots”. They cut a record in 1951 which became the top hit 45 rpm record that year. It was entitled ” If I Didn’t Care”.

  5. Betty says:

    I think that nun in the video was my 6th grade teacher.

  6. Check your work, show your work, carry the 1. I don’t think this guy even took math in school.

    I’m also totally with you on the 3 strikes and you’re out. It definitely applies to more than just baseball.

  7. There are three kinds of people in the world: those who are good at math and those who are not.

    Maybe we should do the math on Mr. Camping’s age. There has to be some way to calculate it so that he’s not elderly and then you have a loophole on that respect thing.

  8. Todd Pack says:

    I think you’re too lenient, Oma. I think you should be thrown out as soon as you stand up and announce the date you think the world will end. If history has taught us anything, though, it’s that these people can’t be embarrassed, and they can’t be discouraged.

  9. madtante says:

    He ain’t a-gwine nowhar if there’s money and FAME to be made/ had.

    I so adore your flashy-Blues-Brothers!

  10. […] from oma who got it from somebody else. You have to read his post to […]

  11. Kim Pugliano says:

    It’s so much easier to be Jewish.

  12. Queen says:

    well said, oma. well said.

  13. bekaboo says:

    Also one of my favorite Lincoln quotes! This man clearly has no fear of public embarrassment. I am just annoyed that he has now delayed the rapture until my birthday. I’m starting to hope he does get raptured, although it would deprive the world of much needed entertainment.

  14. Laura says:

    I think you might be able to persuade Mr. Camping to check his work or to measure twice, cut once. But getting him to ask “am I crazy?” seems almost as unlikely as the world ending on October 21.

  15. Bravo (standing ovation).

  16. jaerae1971 says:

    See, I like it when these sorts speak out…Lincoln said ‘open your mouth and remove all doubt’…..I think that makes it easier to know who NOT to sit next to on the bus. Just saying.

  17. Katybeth says:

    I don’t think anyone could have said it better than you said it in your post. Could you just add, …. and go far, far away.

  18. thejaggedman says:

    I believe Abraham Lincoln had another quote that could be applied to Mr Camping: “You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
    Abraham Lincoln
    Great post and love the use of the Baltimore Orioles mascot “The Bird”.

  19. Jane says:

    The restraint with which you delivered those thoughts not only testifies to your elevated level of wisdom but also borders on super-human control.

    A respectful nod here.

  20. Amy says:

    It would be easy to just dismiss him and move on, but he is scaming so many people out of their money. Urg!

    Love the Blues Brothers .gif!

  21. Now he said an invisible Rapture came on May 21, and the end of the world is still coming in October. Do I start working on my Halloween costume or not?

  22. Spectra says:

    An ‘Invisible rapture’, is it now, eh? Wow. In that case, I had an invisible car accident and lost my 3 extra ‘invisible’ legs, worth $1.5 Million each, but am willing to settle for $3 Mil.. If that goes well, 2 of my invisible children have been kidnapped, and are being held for ransom…please send money to help me get my invisible children back home. Their invisible pets miss them!

  23. planetross says:

    I saw a few raptures in “Jurassic Park”, but never in the real world.

    note: being a witness to the end of the world would be like winning the lottery: the latter would still be better than the former though … unless you were a former day saint.

    double note: who is this guy??? … there should be laws against inciting public distubances of this nature. The Y2K person should be serving life to Y3K as well!

  24. planetross says:

    afterthefact note: The Blues Brothers GIF was a nice touch.

  25. spencercourt says:

    I think it’s all about the money. He’s hoping to squeeze a few hundred thousand more dollars in contributions from his followers and then “retire.”

  26. gmomj says:

    If it weren’t for Mr. Camping and his predictions we wouldn’t have any post-Apocalypse parties.
    All zombies welcome.
    I already sent the invites to the printers. Darn.

  27. Pauline says:

    Great post! Mr.Camping and anyone involved with him needs to stop obsessing over the end of the world and start enjoying the time they have left! (Of course there may not be as much money in that though. ;))

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