The end of the world is not near — But just in case …

I don’t believe a word of this “end of the world” chatter. As far as I am concerned, the only reason the Mayan’s calendar ended on Dec. 21, 2012, is that they got distracted by a new craze, as we do in the 21st Century.

Perhaps it was the finals of the “Mayan Idol” competition, or tense moments in “Survivor: Tortuguero.” Maybe it was a new invention that took the kingdom by storm, like the “iMayan pad” or the “Mayan Furby.” Everyone might have been obsessed dancing the “Mayan Macarena” or playing “Words with Mayan Friends.”

I think the doomsday prattle is a bunch of hooey.

But just in case ….

I’d hate to see the end of the world come and go without taking care of a few things. Here’s my To Do list for the next week:

• Some quality family time: Maybe a pool tournament downstairs with the boys, or a family excursion to our favorite Irish pub — great fish and chips and “futbol” on the telly.

• Hugs for mom, dad and dad. My own mother is gone, but extra time with my dad and my in-laws sounds like a good idea.

• Watch “Star Wars: The Return of the Jedi” one more time. No further explanation needed.

• Say thank you, thank you and thank you. I’ll take a few moments to say thank you to the people who deserve it. It’s so easy to forget to say thanks to our coworkers who put up with us every day, to our friends and relatives who let us lean on them at any time, and our neighbors who help before we ask.

• A random act of kindness: Just because it’s fun to see a stranger’s face light up with surprise and then a smile.

• Write a poem. I’ve been reading a lot of poetry, following the outline of an MIT literature course. I am going to write a whole poem, start to finish, even it if stinks.

• Take a walk. Despite being brown and gray, it is beautiful in Minnesota in December. It will be even better if we get snow, the fresh white powder is beautiful when the sun is shining and the sky is blue.

• Boil the crab legs and eat every bit. I have frozen crab legs in the freezer I bought the last time they were on sale. I will not bear not eating my crab legs. (I envision a bottle of really good chardonnay that night, too.)

• Buy a new book. The anticipation of a new, unopened book, just waiting for you, is a great thought. (This book will be downloaded to my iPad, not in hardcover, but the feeling is the same.) I’m thinking about Neal Stephenson’s latest – any other recommendations?

• Practice the piano. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Now seems like a good time to start.

• Eat some really good chocolate. No further explanation needed.

• Laugh a lot. Watch “Blues Brothers” or “Blazing Saddles” one more time, with popcorn popped in oil in a pan on the stove.

• Pull out the vinyls. Crank up the speakers. Neil Young “Harvest.” Carol King “Tapestry.” CSNY and “Déjà vu.” Black Sabbath and “Iron Man.” “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The Doors and “People are Strange.”

Finally, I think I’ll plant something. Martin Luther was once asked, what would you do if you knew the world was ending tomorrow, and he said he’d plant a tree today. I’ll plant my tree (or flower or herb) in a pot indoors, and enjoy the anticipation, waiting for the seeds to emerge from the dirt.

It will be satisfying to approach Dec. 21 with no regrets and a few things on the horizon. While I think the end of the world talk is silly, I believe a few essential actions are in order.

Just in case …

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