Waiting For Armageddon



I had two reasons why I secretly wished the world would have ended on December 21, 2012. One was so I wouldn't have to go back to work and two, so I could stop feeling anxious about these supposed Last Days of Man.

Come to think of it, it seems like the Day of Reckoning has been a cloud looming over a sizable part of my life.

I guess my pseudo anxiety about the Apocalypse began the day I saw the movie, The Day After. It got reinforced with viewing the films WarGames and the original Red Dawn. It's nothing like the threat of a nuclear holocaust taking up space in an impressionable mind that is already full of imagination. I used to be so paranoid that I drew up blueprints for a blast shelter in crayon and packed a survival bag full of can goods and a flashlight, which I kept in my closet. (Oh those years of cold war pop culture propaganda) I guess that's why they give movies parental guidance ratings huh?

As I grew older, the threat of thermonuclear annihilation took a back seat to gun violence. Coming of age during the era of Reaganomics in Washington, DC was a risky endeavor for young black males in certain parts of the city. Sometimes in my neighborhood, the nightly gunfire seemed to be as frequent as breathing. I can remember one evening in particular where I was peeking out of a hallway window in my apartment building and heard the fully automatic gunfire that killed one of my friends. It was that night I silently said to myself my life would probably end by a bullet as well.

Nuclear holocaust fears had been thoroughly replaced by Rapture via firearm. That same year, three more of my childhood friends were shot and killed. I was convinced gun violence was a plague like the locust signaling the coming end of human existence.

I started to mentally prepare for my inevitable demise.

I would often imagine what it would feel like to be hit by a bullet...especially in the head. Would I even feel it? Would it be like Mark's murder, whose head was blown apart and brains scattered all over the sidewalk? Would I get caught in the crossfire of a shootout? Or would I catch a hot one getting mistaken for somebody that was in the game while walking home from school?

Needless to say, I was a kid who spent a lot of time indoors with my thoughts and worries. Even though I was eventually able to leave my neighborhood, those thoughts of death by bullet always occupied a space in my mind. It wasn't until I had a near death experience with a handgun as an adult that the veil of firearm violence lifted itself from my existence.

Of course the around-the-clock news feeds of natural disasters, famine, war and other despicable deeds humans carry out against one another is more than enough fodder for a worried mind. I guess the trick is to not let any of it take up a huge amount of mental real estate.

Or maybe just think of the Prophesied End as a beginning.

What kind of beginning is the trillion dollar question.


2 comments:

  1. You said as a kid you imagined you would meet your end by way of gun violence...I guess that's every child's nightmare, well those who grow up in those environments because I use to think the same- that I would get hit going or coming from the neighborhood corner store. It did take a traumatic experience for me to release those thoughts....reality is too real...

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