Rats. I thought I could get out of writing a column this week.
I had marked May 21 as the end of the world because a preacher named Harold Camping in California (that should have been my first clue something was amiss) said on that day the earth would be obliterated.
If the world is coming to an end, I don't think writing a column is the highest and best use of my time.
Of course, the apocalypse never happened and now I am scrambling to get something together in case Rev. Nutcase was only off a week or two. Even though you would be drifting through space looking like something the cat drug in, your last thought would be that your favorite column was missing and you would go through all eternity mad at me. I couldn't stand that.
I should have listened to Dr. Gil Watson, the World's Greatest Preacher. Dr. Gil says nobody knows when the world is coming to an end except God and if somebody thinks they do, God will change the date just to show us who is really in charge. Dr. Gil knows his stuff.
Even though he whiffed badly, don't be too hard on Camping. The man lives in Oakland. If I had to live in Oakland, I would probably be wishing the world would come to an end, too.
Camping is a retired civil engineer with a degree from the University of California at Berkley. At least the alumni of You-Know-Who Institute of Technology can breathe a sigh of relief. It's bad enough that they are perennial runners-up for the state football championship and can claim but three Rhodes Scholars, (the University of Georgia, the nation's oldest state-chartered university, located in Athens, "The Classic City of the South," has 18), they sure don't need Dr. Doomsday claiming to be one of them.
Camping did manage to get a few people in a swivet. Oprah decided she had better wind up her long-running television show on the outside chance that God has more influence that she does. Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger chose to get right with his maker by publicly admitting he fathered a love child. The Terminator wasn't so much asking forgiveness for violating the Seventh Commandment as he was trying to explain why he chose a woman uglier than a muck rake.
I got a little edgy, I must admit. Just in case Camping had stumbled on some inside information not available to the New York Times or Wolf Blitzer, I thought it wouldn't hurt to hedge my bets and admit to a few random sins of my own.
For one thing, I am too easily tempted and I think God frowns on temptation worse than having a love child with a woman uglier than a muck rake.
It's not all my fault that I am led into temptation. If there weren't so many humor-impaired people among us, I wouldn't be tempted to gig them so much. (I know that sounds like a cop-out, but give me credit for trying.) The humor-impaired are a disparate bunch but one thing unites them: Their skin is thinner than a sweet Vidalia onion.
Among their number are loud-talking, know-it-all Yankees who have moved here and like to criticize us but refuse to move back North because the snow would freeze their tongues; narrow-minded Bible thumpers who think women aren't qualified to be preachers and when they get to heaven, are going to have to listen to a sermon into eternity from a woman preacher while the saints laugh their heads off; state flaggers who claimed to have engineered the defeat of Gov. Roy Barnes, only to have their champion, Gov. George E. Perdue, run over them like road kill; fans of YKW Institute of Technology (see above); liberal weenies; anybody that thinks ice hockey has any redeeming social value; Muslims and cat lovers.
Now that I know Harold the Herald was wrong and Dr. Gil was right, I am asking God for a mulligan. There is no reason to seek forgiveness at this time. (Besides, I think God enjoys reading the harrumphs I get from the humor-impaired as much as I do).
There will always be another opportunity. Our boy in Oakland says upon further review, the apocalypse will occur Oct. 21. This time it could be the real thing because God may grant his wish just to shut him up.
Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and on gainesvilletimes.com. You can reach him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.