Tick, tock, tick, tock…………..
Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock and so on, can’t you hear it? Time is ticking away and we really aren’t thinking about the important things anymore. Silly old us eh! There is a magazine out there called ‘How It Works’ and it’s just packed full of interesting things you should know, especially if you’re in the 11-16 age male and curious (not bi-curious) market niche whatever they call it. It also appeals to the 39 year old man outside having a quick fag between episodes of Breaking Bad. Apparently. In a recent issue it ran an article guaranteed to pour dread through the perky little lungs of any spoddy, library bothering dribble, all about the ways the world could end. Of course they didn’t want to frighten everyone so they subtly powered down the feature by sticking the title in the middle of the front cover in big letters that read ‘ HOW THE WORLD COULD END’ with a terrifying backdrop image of a city being consumed by a great big bloody volcano. I almost expected to see Frodo and Sam performing last rite mutual masturbation on top of a skyscraper. But I didn’t. Perversely other features included the future of policing and next-gen human bodies just in case we don’t all get toasted in a tsunami of rather hot lava, desperately converting to Christianity on the off chance it’s true after all.
Moving forward (this is a truly awful, awful phrase which seems to have insidiously crept into modern patois on the virtue that it means absolutely nothing whatsoever, unless someone has managed to halt or reverse time) here are the varied and wonderous ways that could end us all. Yes, that includes you. Incidentally it really is very considerate of god to have thought of more than just one way to do it, as a mark of his infinite wisdom and mercy. Just a thought, it might be more fun to read this from the imagined perspective of an impressionable, reasonably gifted, 11 year old child with their whole, promising life ahead of them. So they thought.
- A super-volcano blows! This is accompanied by an artistic impression which suggests the damage could include the destruction of two lego skyscrapers, 3 trees, a pig, a sheep, 3 fish and 1 blue whale. It would also involve a large cloud of smoke in a shape eerily similar to Captain Caveman’s club. Did he know all along, hence the barely repressed rage? ‘How It Works’ magazine seems reluctant to comment on this but they know I’m onto something.
- Nuclear winter!! If there is a nuclear war there’s only one place I’d like to be when it kicks off and that’s lying directly on the impact point of the first bomb to land, I’ll even pay for the ticket to get there. I don’t want to survive to watch a grainy tv broadcast as Morgan Freeman gets elected to ‘President of the remaining humans’ and calls for order. I don’t want to be trapped in a bunker with 12 people I don’t like, getting paler and spottier and smellier by the day and living on Crosse and Blackwell baked beans and condensed milk. And I don’t want to wander a barren landscape with my wife, being forced to move on from obliterated town to devastated village to another obliterated town by interbreeding baby eaters. I’ve walked from North Harrow to Harrow via West Harrow, I know what that’s like. The picture for this one suggests the destruction of one detached house with an acre of land, 2 cows, 2 small fish and one big fish with 3 eyes. But there is a man in a fallout suit showing the dead fish what a nuclear sign looks like, so that’s ok.
- Asteroid impact!!! As far as I can establish the end result of this one is similar to the nuclear shenanigans but possibly a bit faster and there would be slightly more chance it would wipe out Aerosmith while it’s at it. Since Aerosmith haven’t done anything decent since 1977 this one gets a big thumbs up from me. Again, I want to be lying on my back, eating Minstrels when the asteroid hits me full in the face.
- Runaway greenhouse effect (no exclamation marks because it just sounds a bit flaccid). Oh come on, we all do it. Don’t pretend you don’t contribute to gently boiling the planet and please don’t think that recycling those Covent Garden soup cartons is going to buy you another 3 minutes in your stupid, unnecessary Range Rover/small penis compensation device.
- The sun dies!!!!! The sun dies? What a rotten sod he turned out to be. The sun has got his hat on. Has he arse. Thanks for leading us all on by providing us with the building blocks of life only to make us a bit unsettled with skin cancer and then revealing your true nature by imploding or exploding or whatever it is you’re going to do and engulfing us in a ball of flames. Still, we do have at least a billion years until it happens, that’s if the scientists have the faintest idea about a place they’ve never even been close to. For all we actually know the sun could be extinguished by an enormous inter galactic water balloon, created by aliens from Button Moon, being burst above it.
- Gamma-ray burst!!!!!! On the absolutely massive list of things I don’t have a clue about would surely be the humble gamma-ray. Apparently they are created by stars exploding which then send some great big pulse of crappy energy out, which thoughtfully destroys everything in its path. Ish. The effect for us will be intolerable levels of radiation (that buggering thing again, what did we ever do to radiators to invite such wrath?) and an unpleasant death. Knowing my luck a gamma-ray will hit when I’m half way through mowing the lawn. Or watching Dickinson’s Real Deal. Damn you all to hell you pesky Radiatodrons.
- Global pandemic!!!!!!! Oh for heaven’s sake, this’ll be the one won’t it? Some crab fisherman from Papua New Guinea will win the lottery and go on holiday to Singapore without consulting his GP about his ongoing stomach cramps and profuse sweating and before you know there’ll be planes full of rapidly dying people unhappily romping across the globe infecting the shit out of each other. Those who don’t get infected will be beating the crap out of each other to get on the last bus to the middle of Antarctica so they can freeze to death with intact organs. All of this will be shown on a rolling news bulletin of such awful, mechanical, grinding grimness that even Hoo Edwards will break down in tears on a regular basis before a zombie rips his arms off and shoves the autocue up his pampered Celtic arse. It could happen. In fact I would stay up late to watch that, even if it was a work night.
- Robot takeover!!!!!!!! For all I know the robots have already taken over. I’m so crap with technology that for all I know my computer is rewriting this loads of cobblers as I type it. For all I bloody well know Robocop and Wall.E are coming round to my house to blow my head clean off and then tidy up my corpse right this minute (I’m not there by the way because I’m staying with my in-laws, a place so bereft of technology I can’t even get a phone signal). The photo that comes with this one actually looks like a coked up Robocop Mark X who’s just been given a 2 minute trolley dash through the ‘Lil Old Massive Scary Gun Emporium’ in Waco, Texas. If he gets on his high horse we’re really stuffed. To be honest the human race is so pathetic it wouldn’t surprise me if one day we all get wiped out by a slightly modified strain of electric toothbrush. Yay.
That’s it. There are your options, well not really your options but rather 8 virtually unavoidable horrible ways to die in agony. I loved every word of it, it’s exactly the kind of crap I would have hoovered up as a fact finding young lad. Perhaps the best bit is the ‘How It Works’ team inviting you to choose your own apocalypse and decide which option will become a world-ending reality. It concludes with these exact cheery words –
‘In truth, it’s likely that a combination of catastrophic events – and a chaotic human response to them – will secure our demise. If they don’t – the Sun will be hot on our heels in a billion years’ time’
Great. Better get the shed unlocked then. Or shall I watch Dickinson first? Decisions, decisions.
G. B. Hewitt. 17.10.2015.
P.s this has not been edited by a clever person. Just me. And in case it’s not obvious ‘How It Works’ magazine is great so go and buy it.