Salt Spring Armageddon Blues

I’m getting worried. Day by day, I’m worrieder and worreider. Minor annoyances like famine in Africa and climate change used to roll off my back without a second thought. But like a tsunami, the bad news just keeps coming, and there is no stopping it. Here is my ‘End of Days’ grocery list as of this morning.

Yellowstone is about to blow, with a volcanic kill zone of 600 miles, and devastation extending hundreds of miles past the epicenter. Even with the drift pattern ending around Seattle (thus sparing Saltspring the initial devastation) the ash plume will encircle the earth, initiating a global Ice Age, ending our world as we know it.

The deadly nuclear soup from the 2011 Fukoshima melt down continues to pour into the ocean. Prevailing currents are spreading the radiation throughout the Pacific Ocean, soon to be lapping up on our shores, irradiating local seafood.

The “Zombie” Boeing 777 Flight 370 that went missing March 8 is fraught with speculation that it has landed somewhere. Terrorists are loading a nuke into the thing, to fly over an undisclosed city and detonate.

Global warming is causing the ice caps to melt at an alarming rate. Spectacular footage of skyscraper sized chunks falling into the Antarctic seas is being UTubed on a daily basis. Glacier National Park is now bereft of Glaciers. Kiliminjaro has not snow left. They are putting giant blankets over the Alps to preserve the ski hills. If it keeps up, my property will be waterfront.

The Qualicum beach Oyster Farm is shut down, out of business. They can’t grow oysters any more because the ocean has become too acidic. CO2 emissions are turning the oceans into a dead zone. I have a recurring nightmare that one day, there will be a tipping point, and all the oceans will have the consistency of jello overnight.

Prolonged winter conditions in the east have broken records and have prompted the networks to call the condition the “Polar Vortex.” Extreme temperatures all over the map - the California reservoirs are turning into arid wastelands. Droughts continue throughout Texas and the south.

Trigger - happy nations like Pakistan and North Korea are packing nuclear weapons. Russia can’t account for hundreds of nuclear war heads. Iran is likely on the verge of making their very own nuke. Too many religious hot heads are ready to sacrifice themselves to “cleanse the world.”

Russia’s “Mr Putler” is biting off giant chunks of the Ukraine, and amassing troops on the border, with another ‘referendum’ scheduled to take place in May. Russia is flexing its imperialistic muscle, which may well lead to another Cold War.

Latin and South American countries continue to produce and export boatloads of drugs. Thousands have died in turf wars, not to mention the toll the drugs are taking on society. Vermont has an epidemic oxycotin problem - Vermont!

Immigrants are massing at the US border, rattling the fences as helicopters and shiny black DEA SUV’s patrol hundreds of miles of border hunting down coyotes transporting desperate latinos into America.

Evidence keeps piling up about the 9/ll World Trade buildings toppled from internal explosions. Chemtrails keep criss-crossing the heavens, replete with conspiratorial theories about mind control and protecting us from the missing ozone layer. God, even my smart meter may be giving me brain cancer. Hospitals are overloaded. Pension plans are bankrupt. Help me Jesus!

Even our own much loved CBC has entered the fray. A recent “Doc Zone” episode spent an hour scaring the pants of a trembling Canadian audience concerning the chances of a huge meteor or asteroid smacking the earth, referring to such an event as the upcoming “Asteroid Apocalypse” and assuring us all that “the threat is real!” Help, help me Jesus!

All these doomsday scenarios came raining down on me as I walked my dog along Walkers Hook, contemplating the beautiful Trincomalli Channel turning into a turgid mass of jello, awash with rotting sea creatures. My knee jerk reaction was to hurry in to Robinson’s Guns in Victoria and buy a big-ass gun and lots of ammo.

Why a gun? Three reasons. If any of the above comes to pass, any meagre stores of food would soon be gone, and I would be forced to survive by scratching out a garden in my back yard, and hunting - first deer, then rabbits, then anything that moves. There will be no Red Cross truck pulling up with happy volunteers passing out provisions as the survivors queue up in a civilized line, cheerily chatting amongst themselves. Which brings me to the second reason for the gun: self defence.

If you want to know what evil lurks in the hearts of men, take away their dinner plates. Sitting here at the kitchen table with my belly full of breakfast burritos, it is inconceivable that I could actually point a gun and pull the trigger on some marauding thief intent on relieving me of my cache of food, salivating over my dog and the gallon of gas I have tucked away. But, being a student of history, it becomes apparent that we humans are capable of the most appalling atrocities when survival is on the line - which brings me to reason #3: suicide.

Having lived a very comfortable first-world existence with absolutely no clue on how to hunt, or to fish, or even to plant a tomato, my prospects of survival in a global disaster would be bleak. Those basic skills left my lineage two generations ago, supplanted by flat screens and Whole Foods. I can scarcely go six hours without a snack, let alone six days. The heat in my house is always a comfortable 22C, and if I feel a chill, I fire up the gas fireplace or jump in the bubbling hot tub. In a word, I’m screwed. Best a bullet than huddled over a smouldering campfire cooking bits of rat out of an overturned hub cap.

Of course, the chances of one of these global disasters coming to fruition during my lifetime is a very long shot indeed. Modern media, being what it is, loves a good story, and now more than ever, “never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” We eat it up. We can’t get enough. I sleep with an iPad under my pillow, with the ‘bing’ alert sounding off all night, as another breaking news story makes the rounds through CNN or Facebook. The missing planes, the Rob Fords, the sex scandals feed the insatiable public appetite, softened only by mind numbing drugs or booze. That’s just the way it is, so “Good Night, and Good Luck.” Welcome to the Matrix.

About the Author

Peter VincentPeter Vincent came over to Saltspring for a quick lunch, and never left. That was twenty-eight years ago. In that time, he has owned a satellite company, a graphic design company, a fitness centre, has had a radio column on CBC Radio, wrote an opinion column for the Driftwood for thirteen years, and more recently, a regular contributor to the Islands Market Place newspaper. He now continues the hallowed tradition of island gadfly and curmudgeon in the digital age.

May 1, 2014 8:15 AM