A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City. ______________________________________________________________

Bad news, everyone.

Did you know that May 21 is Judgment Day? I had no idea, but two guys on Fifth Avenue were wearing signs that said so yesterday. They seemed pretty confident, and it’s so specific. I mean, you don’t just pull a deadline like May 21st out of thin air. I have to imagine it came from some reliable algorithm, because otherwise that date presents a real inconvenience. For one thing, it’s a Saturday, which is a bummer. Also I have family commitments and visitors coming in that weekend, and I’m really looking forward to them. So I would sincerely hope we’re not being trifled with here. I would hate to change my plans for no good reason.

Apparently, this calculation comes from 89 year-old Bible scholar, Harold Camping, who is also the leader of an independent Christian ministry called Family Radio Worldwide. It has been reported that Camping already predicted the second coming back in 1994, but he forgot the carry the six and wound up waaaaaay off (after all his followers dressed in their Sunday best and gathered together with their Bibles, ready to ascend). Could happen to anybody, really. I never used to check my work on algebra problems. After that little gaffe, Camping went back to the books, recrunched the numbers, and is now mathematically certain that the end is nigh.

“Beyond the shadow of a doubt,” he told the Associated Press.

His followers and several other factions of believers have been doing their best to canvas the country with billboards, postcards, posters, signs and t-shirts in an effort called “Project Caravan,” spreading the “awesome news,” as they call it and inviting people to “Save the Date!” It’s really nice that they’re so happy about it. I’m afraid there’s going to be some terrible disappointment come May 22nd. My money has always been on 2012. You’ve got to have respect for the Mayans. According to an extremely unreliable internet search, they correctly predicted every solar eclipse we’ve had—to the day. I happen prefer their Doomsday scenario, since it means we all suffer (or enjoy) the same fate regardless of religious persuasion. That’s sweet!

If the Camping camp is correct, the rapture will be followed by the utter destruction of the world and eternal damnation of the non-believers on October 21, 2011. I am unclear on what happens in the interim, but it’s always nice when the city empties out a little during the warm weather. It’s probable the the Hamptons crowd and the Heaven crowd won’t have a ton of overlap, which means the subways will be nice and empty. I am having some fun with this, and I don’t mean to be overly cavalier. Who knows? Maybe they’re right. But either way, I really have nothing to lose. If Judgment Day is indeed May 21, I’m pretty much cooked.

I may as well enjoy myself now, because I think my Jewish mother would be quite irritated if I converted at this point. I think I’d rather take my chances.

What are your thoughts? Will May 21 bring the final judgment? And if so – what are you doing to prepare?

Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

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Comments (13)
  1. JOSEPH B OF NJ says:


  2. KPMc says:

    ZBS deleted my comment? Figures. They don’t like people pointing out the truth about their despicable bias.

  3. true believer says:

    Good morning Nina!

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. However, I wanted to bring to your attention:
    1. It is not a laughing matter at all
    2. Believing in May 21st does not require conversion of any kind

    Until then, please pray to God and perhaps he will save you.

    True believer

  4. Babs Johnson says:

    Nina Hagen told us back in the 80’s that this would happen. However, she said that UFOs would pick us up.

  5. Chuck Anziulewicz says:

    Not only is the so-called “Rapture” NOT going to occur on May 21st, it isn’t going to occur EVER. And I can promise you this with absolute 100% certainty. There will be no “Rapture,” no “Second Coming,” no “End Of Days.” There most certainly will continue to be wars, plagues, and natural disasters as there have always been, but there won’t be anything supernatural about them. And most importantly there is no such thing as “prophecy” … except for the self-fulfilling kind.

    In a perverse sort of way, I actually WISH that Harold Camping was right! What an interesting day that would be! What would be even more interesting is if the Apocalypse were to occur in a more spectacular fashion, not in the anthropomorphical sense the authors of the “Left Behind” series have portrayed, but as more of a Stephen Spielberg production, with boiling clouds, trumpets, angels descending out of the sky, Moon turned to blood, the whole nine yards. Imagine coming to the realization that it was all coming true, just as the evangelists had been warning for years, and that there was something more awesome than just the cold, hard, physical reality we inhabit. Imagine actually watching people disappear into thin air! Wouldn’t THAT be something???

    Yet in the final analysis, it’s that cold, hard, physical reality that I will content myself with. My life is not so meaningless that I need the fear of a “Rapture” and the “End Times” to make sense of it all … nor do I need Heaven or Hell to bribe me into behaving decently, thank you very much.

    Since the death of Jesus, people in every generation for over 2,000 years and hundreds of generations have wanted to be the one that experiences the end of days. None has. There must be a clue in there somewhere for you.

    If you waited at a bus stop for 2,000 years, at what point would you conclude that the bus wasn’t coming? Or would you just stand there … FOREVER … because somebody had stuck up a “bus stop” sign?

    1. KPMc says:

      Just as you think you are sure and 100% right those that have religious beliefs think they are sure too. That’s why they call it faith. Personally I think it’s kind of presumptuous to think you understand everything about the ways of the world and if there is or is not a higher power and what said being has in store for us.

      You can’t promise anything with 100% certainty and the belief that you can only belies your major human flaw, hubris.

      It’s nice that you don’t need anyone or anything else to behave decently. Keep up the good work and here’s hoping others can do the same whether or not they need the guidance of a belief system.

  6. Cassie says:

    Where’s Buffy the vampire slayer when you need her????

  7. jerseyjoey says:

    Remember 2000, yup the sky was falling the ground was going to open up and swallow the world, oh and the big comet was the finishing finale. Mean while in isreal hundreds of christians sat pennieless waiting to die, you see they sold everything they had to die in the hoilly land, funny thing was the jews did not seem to be worried at all, matter of fact they sold them bottled water and snaks at inflated prices to keep these christian fatalist comfy to death came. Oh Boy, now they are back home here in america on welfare waiting yet again.

  8. Ellen says:

    Looked at the History channel some weeks ago, and it was said we’re like five years off the calendar. Hate to say this but we celebrated the 21st. century way back in 1995, so by all accounts we should all be dead by now.

  9. Geryy says:

    Priests have been wrong about the return of Jesus for over 700,000 days in a row. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  10. Jeremy says:

    How could you not look at this billboard and laugh, though? I mean it’s a BILLBOARD announcing the second coming…with a “save the date”? That’s a ludicrous mixing of the Book of Revelation and my Outlook calendar, and it cries out for humorous treatment. If you get uptight about it and claim religious persecution, then you deserve to be made fun of, too.

    1. SM says:

      I agree. There is something absurd about a religious prophesy combined with “save the date.”

    2. KPMc says:

      There are lots of absurd things in EVERY religion we could all laugh about. But this is supposed to be an attempt at journalism. Comedians can make fun of whoever they want. Companies that purport to be legitimate journalism outlets should stand clear of making fun of anyone’s religion.

      And I stand by my statement… CBS thinks its ok to ridicule Christians but it’s a hate crime to even say anything negative of anyone else and their religion.

      Actually I’m not religious at all but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect other peoples beliefs.

      And lastly…. why does CBS avoid LEGITIMATE news stories that cast other religions in a bad light? If the story I mentioned had involved a Catholic priest it would have been juicy front page, leading story headline.

      I call attention to that story and I’m an anti-Semite but I object to ridiculing others beliefs and I’m too sensitive. nah… no double standards here.

      Anyone find that story on CBS Local yet?

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