After years of chugging along on the conveyor belt of compulsory/strongly-insisted-on education, a couple thousand of my fellow class members and I are finally graduating. May 22 is the big day – I know because it’s circled in red Sharpie and orange highlighter in my planner, next to a note reading “no tattoos before this date or mom will flip.” So imagine my indignation when I realized evangelicals were trying to one-up us by scheduling the rapture on none other than May 21st. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that the two aren’t actually all that different. Allow me to explain:
It’s only unexpected if you haven’t been paying attention
Harold Camping, 89-year old founder of the Family Radio, might only have calculated May 21 to be Judgment Day a few months ago, but apparently this is far from a randomly picked date – the Bible knew it all along. Similarly, although you might be under the impression that graduation was discovered in a moment of drunken revelation by your best friend in a dive bar this January, sources say that signs pointed to its inevitability all along. Just as the devastating moral decay of society has foreshadowed the end of the world, the devastating moral decay of your social group has foreshadowed that this world must too culminate in a day of reckoning. So as Jesus says, get a haircut and don’t be too hungover. (Did I say Jesus? I meant Mom.)
The chosen ones will ascend, while the rest are left behind
Those blessed with foresight and an healthy amount of paranoia have been awaiting the Rapture for years, and have prepared by accepting Jesus into their hearts. Jesus will reward this dedication by granting 200 million or so people some complimentary mineral water and a cushy spot in Heaven, while the rest of the 6.7 billion Jews and sodomites get left behind on Earth. It has recently occurred to me that while us unrepentant sinners (also known as “humanities/communications/fine arts majors”) have been fiddling around with godless alchemy, the more practical-minded have been tending to their business degrees and racking up all sorts of references and resume-padding internships in order to get first dibs on a tailored suit and an apartment in the Financial District. As the New York Times likes to remind us year after year, something like three people out of every graduating class will ascend to “financial stability.” Joke’s on them – sinners brew the best espresso.
It marks a sordid period of Tribulation
When the raptured are safely sequestered in the Kingdom of Heaven, a period of Tribulations will set in. Religious scholars are not clear on whether Tribulations will last five months or up to seven years, but they agree that it will feature devastating earthquakes, unprecedented amounts of sodomy, famine, and suffering. This will sound familiar to anyone left to fend for themselves in post-collegiate limbo. Things are about to get real. We brace ourselves for a period of darkness and uncertainty, for night shifts at the Stop N Shop and moving back in with our parents, for devastating earthquakes, unprecedented sodomy, the Four Horsemen of the College Loans, and the Great Burrito Famine…
It’s a great excuse to party
Guys, the end times are nigh and that can only mean one thing. Time to party! Inhibitions and reasonable levels of alcohol consumption were for the old you, the you who remembered MLA format and had a reasonable expectation of tomorrow. Let your freak flag fly! Be proud of those Liz Lemon dance moves! Make out with that dude from your econ class and blow your last paycheck on a sequined jumpsuit and a Morrissey haircut, because CEO Jesus won’t stand for that in the Holy Kingdom of the Upper Middle Class. And for those left behind? Do the same! You were probably going to do so anyway, because let’s face it, this is exactly the kind of uncouth behavior that got you into this mess in the first place. At least that’s what the evangelist at the bus stop has been telling me. (Did I say evangelist? I meant Mom.) But hey, don’t sweat it. When Judgment Day has come and gone, I bet life on Planet Tribulation won’t be all that different. It might even be a lot of fun, especially once all those people parked in the bike lane are out of our hair. So when you’re having a great conversation with that hot Accordion Studies major who you just did a tequila shot with at your local End of the World party, feel free to invite them to Morning After the Rapture brunch. I’ll bring the bagels.