Ask A. Brain – The Mayans, Santa Claus and Bacon
Question: Just when the whole Mayan Apocalypse hysteria has died down a bit, I’m hearing about a coming worldwide shortage of bacon. Not only that, but my neighbors are starting to scare me. The guy to my left has painted his house in rainbow colors, runs his car on vegetable oil, and is circulating a petition that calls for the immediate arrest of Dick Cheney. The woman in the house to my right is flying a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag, has painted a larger-than-life portrait of Ayn Rand quoting scripture on her garage door, and plasters her Hummer with “Go ahead, make my day!” bumper stickers. My grandson tells me the north polar ice cap will melt completely by the year 2016, and that Santa Claus will be forced to set up his shop in China using slave labor.
Things just seem to be coming to a head, and I can’t shake the feeling we are doomed. I can’t bring myself to buy a 2013 appointment calendar, and I spend nights in my back yard with a 10-inch telescope looking for the killer asteroid that is sure to be headed our way.
What do you think, is it all over for humankind?
– Harold Porker / Des Plumes, Iowa
Answer: Settle down, Porker. Keep your pants on, and don’t stop making your mortgage payments just yet. You and your grandson shouldn’t listen to every alarmist con man with a show on network television. Chances are pretty good—I’d say better than 70%—that the human race will continue to flourish for at least another half century or more. This might even be enough time for the Minnesota Timberwolves to put together a playoff basketball team.
Let’s just take these things one at a time.
The Mayan Apocalypse
I am a big fan of Neil Young, so I consider myself a bit of an expert on Mesoamerican civilizations. The Mayan Apocalypse fears are greatly exaggerated, trust me. I am convinced that somewhere on each of these two-ton Mayan calendars is hidden the yet-to-be-translated phrase, “to be continued on next rock.” I have a hunch, in fact, that Mayan experts have already translated this phrase and/or found the next rock. It’s almost certain that somewhere in Belize or Guatemala, the “Mayan Hal Lindsey” will soon be laughing all the way to the bank. There must be at least one Late, Great Planet Earth blockbusting bestseller to be written. The December 21, 2012 deadline might seem to preclude this, but like Hal Lindsey and other Christian apocapoplectics, look for the new-agey Mayan doomsayers to start moving the goalposts soon.
Don’t let it worry you. You might meditate on the lyrics to Neil Young’s “After the Gold Rush,” though, and do let me know if you come up with anything.
The Bacon Armageddon
Now this is a serious issue. I wish I could be reassuring, but I do think we are heading for big problems here. Wars have been fought over less. If Dubya were still in office, I wouldn’t want to be the country suspected of hiding large herds of fat hogs in an elaborate collection of customized, ever-moving railroad cars.
Still, you shouldn’t make the same mistake I did in reaction to this coming disaster.
A few months ago, I rented a self-storage unit and filled it with every package of Bac-Os Bits® I could find on grocery shelves across the Twin Cities metropolitan area. I figured every restaurant with a salad bar in the Twin Cities would be paying cocaine prices for this stuff next year. But as it turns out, the little nuggets don’t contain even one molecule of bacon per can: they are made entirely of soy and salt! Far from being in short supply, I expect these tasty little morsels of brown rock salt will make up 20% of all interstate freight shipments by the third quarter of 2013. This is an investment opportunity, sir, and you heard it here first.
But what about the 1800 cubic feet of semi-edible product I have locked-up behind a bright orange door, you might ask? Don’t worry about me, Harry, I have plans for it. I find that when ground and mixed with two parts Yuban premium coffee, it makes very tasty—if somewhat salty—hot beverage I like to call “Bac-o-Joe.” I hope to market it, and am in preliminary discussions with a large food conglomerate.
Don’t lose a minute of sleep over this, Porker. This is the American silly season and happens on a four-year cycle. We are just days away from the election, and you can expect your neighbors to settle down shortly after Thanksgiving (my guess is they will be dating by spring). We should enjoy a nine-month respite before the “Race for the White House 2016″ ramps up in the fall of 2013.
Santa Claus and the Ice Cap
I wouldn’t worry too much about the polar ice cap, Harry. If I’m right, you’re the type of guy who vacations in Branson, Missouri. What are the chances you will ever pay a visit to the North Pole? Visit a zoo if you want to see a polar bear. You won’t even need to wear a coat.
Finally, I think it is time to tell the truth about Santa Claus. He bought toys from Japan when I was a kid, he buys them from China now, and in twenty or thirty years he will buy them from factories operating right here in the good old USA. If your cherubic little descendent keeps his nose clean, who knows? Near the end of his career—sometime in the 2050s if that asteroid doesn’t hit—he may work his way up to a supervisory role in a large, corrugated steel building in Iowa where plastic Mister Potato Head® toys are manufactured for export to China. A kid can dream.
I hope I have been of help, Porker.
– A. Brain
- For a useful introduction to the Aztecs, see Mr. Young’s “Cortez the Killer.” On Incan civilization, see “Like an Inca” from his experimental Trans album. It is true Neil doesn’t explicitly mention the Mayans (as far as I am aware), but I like to think of his “Cinnamon Girl” as a Mayan princess. I hope she wasn’t sacrificed to the gods. [^]
- Despite at least a 40-year record of missed predictions and laughable hysteria, Hal Lindsey keeps churning out the books, and runs an, uh, interesting website. He has made a lot of money off of his racket, but he probably needs it. He has been married four times and must be saddled with a king’s ransom in alimony payments. [^]
- I am guessing this country will not be found in the Middle East. [^]
- Preliminary discussions, to this point, include several letters sent by me to the company. In return I have received a handful of coupons and a reference to an 800 number where I can get information about baking times, nutritional facts, and what to do if should I find insect parts in a “flavor packet.” [^]
- A pregnant pause, as it were. [^]
|Every week Once a month Occasionally, Mr Adelbert B. Brain answers one of your questions exclusively for Bachblog. His areas of interest and expertise include the spy fiction of William F Buckley, the television and film career of Justine Bateman (he is at work on a scholarly examination of her oeuvre), microwave cooking, indoor hydroponic gardening and skeet shooting. He recently wrote a song that he plans to present to Bob Dylan at next week’s Excel Energy Center concert. Despite being advised by his lawyer not to disclose his current address, he can’t resist hinting that it is in one of St. Paul, Minnesota’s snootiest suburbs.|