Those Pesky Mayans
If you've been awake for anything more than 13 minutes, some toothy, giggly anchor dressed in a sleeveless dress on your local news channel has already told you that today is 12-12-12 and he then added that the next time there can be three numbers the same in a date will be January 1, 2101.
Of course, there won't BE an 01-01-01 because why? Because the end of days is 12-21-12 which is almost a palindrome.
More to the point, it is also my 66th birthday.
Why is that meaningful? Because under current law (and until the Congress and the President screw things up again) at age 66 an American who has worked and toiled lo these many years qualifies for full Social Security.
Sixty-six, in Social Security Speak is Full Retirement Age. F…R…A. That means I can get as much in Social Security payments per month as I've earned over the past 45 years and not have to give any back because I'm still working.
I know. If I'm still working, why take the money?
Good question. Good answer? Because I can.
I am the walking, talking, embodiment of the fiscal cliff. I and I alone am responsible for the $16 trillion national debt.
If I just delayed taking my Social Security for a year or two the debt would evaporate like spilled lemonade on the back deck on the Fourth of July.
However, the Mayans have determined there will be no December 22, 2012, so all that is moot.
They knew, thousands of years ago, that I would never collect a dime of Social Security.
Here's what I don't know. I don't know who the Mayans are. Or were. I know they lived somewhere around Albuquerque (or maybe it was Scottsdale) and I know they are gone now, but … that's about it.
Oh. I looked it up. Guatemala is where they were from and they hit their peak about 1,500 years ago. Then they disappeared.
According to History.com: From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.
So, about this End of Days thing. According to that 21st century Oracle, Wikipedia: The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.
Some scholars believe that the Mesoamerican Long Count was designed to try and pull the Incans off sides, but that is a minority view.
NASA has a whole page devoted to explaining why the world will not end on 12-21-12. But, NASA has a vested interest in keeping the world going, if only to see how far the Voyagers I & II can go and keep sending back signals.
I don't really think the world is going to end on the 21st. But just in case, the question I Tweeted yesterday was: Does the world end at 12:01 AM or 11:59 PM on December 21. I need to know because I have a lunch scheduled and I'm not sure whether to cancel it.
Happy Mesoamerican Long Count.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the History.com Mayan history page and to the NASA the-world-is-not-coming-to-an-end page and the definition of eschatological. Also a Mullfoto of a very cute infant's tee shirt from NPR.