“The end of the world is just five years away — and it always will be…“ Every Optimist

I’ve never been a doomsdayer and I’m not now, despite legitimate concerns over the current global health crisis. It’s always bumping around though, in the bingo hopper of my head, that life as we know it might turn on a dime — to begin the downward slide that takes us out as a species.

In 1971, just before a Cub Scout meeting, my mom, who was also my Den Mother, showed me a newspaper clipping — an article about an earthquake in Los Angeles a few days earlier. The story told of a young boy, also a Cub Scout, who had been killed collecting soda bottles to raise money to buy a new uniform. It wasn’t her intent to alarm me, but I got the sense that all of Los Angeles had been destroyed by that earthquake.

Several years later in China, an earthquake was said to have killed 500,000 to 1,000,000 people. That number would later be amended down to roughly 250,000, though the exact number can never be known. Still, by the time I was 12-years-old, my science teachers and the nightly news convinced me that earthquakes were capable of killing millions. It just hadn’t happened yet. What a way for the world to end though.

Long before the movie Independence Day, in early elementary school, I often wondered if large spaceships might show up to annihilate us. That’s what happens when your 3rd-grade teacher makes the class listen to The War Of The Worlds on Halloween day, rather than practice addition and subtraction problems.

Each morning, when I step outside to retrieve the newspaper, before I return to the house, I always do a 360° pirouette, looking up for the spaceship that might be preparing zap us into infinity. I do that at other times during the day too, no joke, I actually do.

Just before Christmas in my 7th-grade year, The Missiles Of October aired on PBS. It was a well-made television show, which had actors, William Devane and Martin Sheen among others, use actual transcripts of meetings between JFK and his cabinet, to dramatize how Kennedy addressed Russia placing missiles on the island of Cuba. My brother and I watched it side-by-side in absolute silence. If the Cuban missile crisis had gone in the wrong direction, I might have died in a diaper 11-years earlier. Pfew…

In 2010, during the H1-N1 pandemic, I joked to a few clients that the Swine Flu couldn’t catch me because the Swine Flu wasn’t quick enough. After a short trip to Chicago to visit my daughter that year, I learned that the H1-N1 was not only quick enough, but had the stamina to go the distance with me. I ultimately won, but spent 11-days not ingesting a single calorie, and had a fever which hovered around 102° for over a week. The world did a good job keeping it at bay, but I had first-hand knowledge of what to expect if millions of people were exposed to it.

Today I live in Fallbrook California, less than a mile from the back gate of Camp Pendleton Marine Base. Part of living adjacent to the base means that we hear waves of ordinance being detonated regularly, often so loud that windows, walls, and pictures on those walls shake. Every-so-often there will be an explosion hard enough and loud enough that, no matter how well conditioned I am to think it’s Pendleton, I still run to the nearest window looking for the mushroom cloud that came courtesy of North Korea or Russia. So far, so good.

It’s always there — thoughts that on any given day, it might be my last day on earth, or the first day of the big downward slide that eliminates our specie. So far, so good.

When I was a kid, my dad placed a hand-written note on the bulletin board of my bedroom. It was my father’s liberty with the words of Rudyard Kipling, and it read precisely as follows.

“If you can keep your head when those about you are losing their’s, then my son, you are a man…”

I can’t say I’ve been perfect with those instructions, but the older I get, the more I find value in trying, pandemics included.

This is what I think about when I ride… Jhciacb

This Week By The Numbers…

Bikes Ridden: 6
174 miles
8,000’ climbing
15.0 mph avg
9,700calories
11 hours 27 minutes seat time

Whether you ride a bike or not, thank you for taking the time to ride along with me today. If you haven’t already, please scroll up and subscribe. If you like what you read, give it a like and a share. If not, just keep scrollin’. Oh, and there’s this from The Hoodoo Gurus. Enjoy…

6 thoughts on “Waiting On That Final Day…

  1. Thanks, Roy! I needed this today! I can’t figure if you have a typo in the last sentence. “Tying.”

    I wrote this today. Not sure to use it anywhere of not.

    My Corona
    Ooh, my little deadly one, deadly one
    When you gonna get me some time, Corona?
    Ooh, you make my fever run, my fever run
    I’m running from you all the time, Corona
    You’re never gonna stop, never give it up, how you’ve planed
    You’re always giving it to me with the touch of a dirty hand
    My, my, my, ay, ay, wash!
    M-m-m-my Corona
    My Corona
    Come a little closer, huh, ah, ya will, huh
    Close enough to come into my eyes, Corona
    Still keeping it a mystery how you get to me
    Coming through the ACE2 pathway you see, Corona
    Never gonna stop, never give it up, how you’ve planned
    Always giving it with the touch of a dirty hand
    My, my, my, ay, ay, keep washing!
    M-m-m-my Corona
    M-m-m-my Corona
    Na, na, na, na, na-na
    My Corona
    When you gonna get to me, get to me
    It is just a matter of time, Corona
    Is it…??

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good word Roy. I was in the middle of the 1971 earthquake. My school was condemned. I will never forget that. Now, schools are closed. I’m told I must still report to work. It’s a skeleton crew at this point. Crazy! I became anxious at Albertsons yesterday. I was looking for refried beans and tissues! I got the last can and one of the last few boxes. People were wearing gloves. The cashier gave me his take on it all (always happy to hear how strangers know the answers to situations scientists are frantically trying to solve) and then He coughed without covering his mouth. I was going to get gas afterwards and decided to pass. It’s funny how the panic of our childhood, when we were too young to understand, comes back to haunt us, when we should know better. Stay well my friend!! Wipe down those machines between clients…

    …Eva

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Eva. Though I was 1000 miles away when it happened, that 1971 earthquake still haunts me because of the Cub Scout story.

      Last evening in Major Market, All was calm. There were no paper products found; paper towels, toilet paper, etc. For the most part though everything else is on the shelf, including bleach.

      I’m taking clients on a limited basis, and may even cancel that at some point. I spent the last three hours cleaning the studio to a point where I would eat out of the toilet. TMI… Again, thank you.

      Like

  3. Another well written Spoke and Words today ! The old man would tell us ” Be Prepared” I thought be prepared for What ? Him being a Boy Scout and Army Veteran would say just have your shit together, in order. Whether it be household goods or your gear. Okay I thought. All I knew was from all the shit he experienced in his life,nothing ever phased him or got him shook up. He was on the Island of Kauai when Hurricane Iniki hit landfall. Tore that island apart. He remained calm helping others. As we should also in times of crisis.
    I do remember you getting very ill with that horrible flu back in 2010,quite honestly it surprised me I’ve never seen you sick. It struck me as Dang even Roy get’s hits.
    Posted the pic during my Stater Bros shopping,so many in a Frenzy. I went in just for a few items on our list. And came out with a cart load of necessities. I did not panic and grab shit. I figured if I;m in here I better make the best of it. Be well my Brother. Take Good Care of Yourself,Willie,Stroodle and Misha !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As always, Brudduh, thanks for the read and the good thoughts. I have a feeling tomorrow will be my last work day for a while. If California goes to a restaurant van, that will be my signal to shut down altogether. Maybe then we can finally catch up for that long overdue walk

      Like

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