Given Betty Friedan’s prediction of the soon-coming ice age in Harper’s Magazine of 1958, I suppose it makes sense that my dear late grandpa installed a wood stove in the house. In general, older folks never have been too keen on extreme cold; their circulation slows as they age, and it takes more and more to keep them warm.
This may also, I suppose, explain his penchant for hoarding large quantities of mayonnaise, salad dressing, strawberry cream cheese, pasta noodles, basically anything that was on sale. Crossing the frozen tundra of North Carolina to get to a Krogers was not something he would have been interested in, and Duke, the fat-yet-faithful family Dachshund, would not have made much of a sled dog. Thankfully, her utterly scientific, airtight conclusion did not come to pass.
But it would not be the last harbinger of impending doom. Having survived twelve years from the time of Friedan’s prediction of an ice age, Grandpa came to the year 1970, in which Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
I was born in 1970. Even back then as a baby, I knew grandpa was strangely distant and highly distracted. I had no way of knowing though that as he held me he was thinking “I wish I could have more time with this precious child; it is so sad to realize that he and I and everyone else on earth will be dead in just over a decade.”
This could explain, I guess, why, as I grew, he never bothered to teach me much of anything. Why take the time to help a child learn when he will never even reach adulthood? I am pretty sure on different occasions I heard him mutter, “Go play with the wolves, kid, we are all going to die soon anyway.”
Somehow, miraculously, we, and most everyone else on earth, survived. That coming apocalypse simply never happened either.
Grandpa, sadly, passed away a few years ago, and never did get to see the coming doom which he had so often been warned of. But I took up his mantle, and am trying hard to live up to his legacy. Thus it was that in 2006, with global cooling falling out of vogue, Al Gore predicted a 20-foot sea-level rise in the near future due to global warming, and I took action. I remember that it was a Saturday, and my family and I were engaged in that most Southern of activities, yard saleing.
But when I saw the six-person inflatable raft, I immediately thought of Al Gore’s obviously unassailable prediction and realized that I had to have it. By my calculations, my family of five should have been able to pack a small bag apiece and simply float to Arkansas by the time the coming wave stopped pushing us inland.
After a few years, though, it became clear that Al Gore’s wave was not coming, and, since I needed the space for a set of golf clubs, I sold the raft.
I am forty-eight years old now; not exactly ancient, but no longer a spring chicken, and that frightens me immensely when I realize that I will not make it to any more than sixty years old. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez recently let us all know that the world is going to end in twelve years. I only wish grandpa was still here. I would love to have his wisdom to lean on; if anyone knows how to handle the end of life as we know it, a man with his decades of experience with the various predicted apocalypses certainly would.
But I cannot help but wonder, why is it that when religious people predict the end of the world they are called “cults,” but when politicians do so, they are called “voices of reason?”
Mind you, I, the author of this very tongue-in-cheek column, write all of this as a great believer in being a good steward of the planet. My family and I are avid recyclers, and I have been known to pick up the trash from a litterbug and walk over and hand it back to them saying “you dropped this.” You see, it was our God who appointed man to tend and care for the earth he gave us. But it was also our God who said in Genesis 8:22, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”
So, with decades of experience in climate hysteria and with a healthy dose of skepticism of all things political and with Genesis 8:22 as a guide, thanks, but I will pass on this latest gloom-and-doom prediction and the power grab that lies behind it.