"gratifying mammalian nervous systems since 1988"

28 September 1999
How to get an "End of the World" nut to curb his Dogma in public.
by Ben Bridenbaugh

A few days ago, I got an e-mail from a Japanese friend of mine who is a journalist. He mentioned that the French seer Nostradamus had gotten quite popular in his country, and wanted me to provide more info and my opinions on this. Someone had interpreted his writings to say that the world will end this month. This is being taken very seriously by a number of people there. Some have actually taken extended leaves of absence from high-paying jobs to hide out in fallout centers this month!

I had heard mention of this in the news earlier, but did not believe it to be more than tabloid journalism. When my Japanese friend mentioned such hysteria, I was sort of surprised. Sure, Japan has a rich cultural background which includes some superstition, but I still thought it was a very realistic, high-tech culture that would not have such crazed occurrences. Also, if you saw the film "The Man who saw Tomorrow", hosted by the late Orson Wells, you know that Nostradamus seemed to think that the world will end thousands of years from now, not this month. I think that because the Japanese are probably 100% Y2K-ready, they need some sort of outlet for general millennial mass-hysteria.

I guess that this just says that "End of the World" nuts are global. I've been unfortunate enough to meet quite a share of them. I am sure that almost all of us have met these characters at one time or another. Most are pretty set in strict religious beliefs and use this to justify any action that they take. When they are walking down the street, carrying an "The End is Nigh" sign, you can simply ignore them. When they are a classmate, co-worker, or close friend of a friend, they are not as easy to dismiss.

I have developed a four-step, sure-fire way to get these nuts to "Curb their Dogma," at least in public.

  1. Talk with them and define EXACTLY how and when the world will end, according to them. (An angel trashing Las Vegas, for example) If they try to give you a vague answer, say that you doubt the strength of their beliefs and they will research an exact definition.
  2. Bet ANY amount of money that it will NOT end on that date, nor in that particular way. Do this, be it $5, $10, $100, or your car versus their car. They might not believe in gambling, but if they are certain of this date, is it truly gambling?
  3. The world will NOT end on that date. How can I be sure of this? Well, it has been estimated that in America alone, a group of at least 1000 people or more has predicted the end of the world on every other year for this last century. As we can see, they have been wrong.
  4. Once world does not end, they will avoid you and be less vocal. This is not out of fear of having to pay you a large amount of money. What has happened is that they have accidentally given you a piece of proof that their "Perfect" system of belief is in error. This is what they fear far more than the "End of the World."

Granted, the world just might end. Of course the money you bet would then be a moot point.

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