Thursday, December 13, 2012

The World Will End in Fire (or Ice)

There are signs and portents that the End Times are upon us and the world may indeed be ending. The Mayans may not have been kidding. Not just the world as we know it - I mean the whole ball of wax. I'm not necessaily talking about all of this (though it remains a distinct possibility) . . .

. . . but I am, at the very least, talking about that known part of the Universe peopled by good Christian folk . . . 

I say this upon the gravest of considerations. In a Christian nation such as ours, the image of Jesus appears regularly in such serviceable and ordinary stuff as tortillas, bathroom mold, Chicken McNuggets, plates of free-form Jell-o, beefsteak, or grits. These manifestations are, in places like Texas or Kentucky at any rate, generally accorded the reverence and awful terror which, in a nation leavened by faith, should be their due. (I have mentioned all this before.)

The case is different in a godless Europe, where signs of the End Times are routinely ignored or scoffed at. I discovered, in my ceaseless reconnoitering of the latest sports news, that a spectator at the Players Darts Championship finals in Doncaster (UK), an innocent, a man of sorrows named Nathan Grindal, had to be extracted from an unruly crowd of 4,500 darts fans and escorted by security from the building because the crowd thought he bore a resemblance to the Lamb of God, Salvador Mundi, Christos Pancrator . . .

Nathan when not at "the darts"

. . . who may in the Last Days appear amongst us we know not in which manner - in this instance poor Nathan was attempting to travel incognito but was recognized anyway. "I didn't go to the darts dressed as Jesus, I went as me," he said later, although this would not explain the lapse in the general manners of the crowd, who disrupted the tournament and distracted the contestants by taking up a vigorous chant of "Jee-zus, Jee-zus." The crowd then serenaded his exit from the building under escort by a rousing rendition of the old Dissenting Chapel groaner, "Stand up, stand up for Jesus/ Ye soldiers of the cross/ Raise high his royal banner/ It shall not suffer loss, etc, etc."

Were the times not so clearly apocalyptic, this would merely be the sort of lapse in civility for which European or African sports fans are noted; the sort of spree which might, in a Spanish or Egyption football match, have turned murderous. But our English cousins, having recognized the Apparition, not in a tortilla but in a human countenance, found in it occasion for mirth. At least in this country we know how to treat a tortilla when we meet one.

Robert Frost, speculating on these Final Days, wrote, "Some say the world will end in fire,/ Some say in ice." For my part, I have seen the end of the world. It looks like a toilet seat on the Polish railway:

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