I’ve been answering the End of the World question for years.
One usually first confronts it around middle school. Without probing too deeply I realize that I had never really revised my answer since that time. A voice from the Id, something along the lines of: “Yeah! I want a seraglio full of Penthouse models all dressed in hooker costumes, and all the chocolate chip cookies in the world!”
That would have been my knee jerk answer, but I’ve realized that it no longer holds up. I’m going to have to bore you by being boring, and knocking this answer down. Even if a mansion full of 72 Fallen Women did exist, and I had executive access (don’t laugh, it could happen!), it’s not where my head’s at.
I have found the One Person my hunter instinct was propelling me toward. Since I can’t bear to be five feet away from her during the best of times, at the End of the World, I will sew myself to her. So I’m afraid I go under the far duller “spending time with loved ones” list. Being with my domestic partner and my two sons would be all I could think about.
Furthermore, we have mini-ends-of-the-world all the time, and many people do take the self-indulgence route under those circumstances. In my fantasy, when I breeze through the grocery store putting everything I want into a shopping cart and walking out without paying, I’m sort of by myself.
In real life, everybody gets the same bright idea at the same time. It’s called “looting”. It usually goes hand in hand with a host of other crimes that are too ugly to think about. When it comes to that, I’m definitely as perverse as your Last Policeman. I’d prefer to hang on to civilization and “humanity” as long as I possibly can.
There’s a wonderful image in the 1958 Titanic movie A Night to Remember. As chaos is breaking out, the ship is sinking, people are scurrying to and fro, the camera repeatedly shows us a single old man, calmly sitting in the smoking room, turning over the leaves of a book.
What is the book? We are never shown.
But there is a wisdom to it, a Zen. When the end is near, it’s hardly the time to be thinking of the needs of your transitory appetites. It’s time to get yer head right and figure yer shit out!
Writer and performer Trav S.D. is best known for his book "No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous" and his blog Travalanche. His next book "Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube" will be out in September. Photo via Lara605 (http://bit.ly/Nf4xHZ)