Friday, December 21, 2012

The Mayans May Be a Joke, But They Weren’t Funny

The biggest jokes going around on the Internet are about how today is predicted as the end of the world per the Mayan calendar. Of course, most of us just see it as a joke since we’ve gone through many such dire predictions during our lifetimes. 

No, it wasn’t always the Mayans, it’s was usually some fringe religious group who claimed to have a direct line to God’s ear. Their feelings were usually expressed as “the  world is going to end because we’ve turned  into a cesspool of humanity”  and "we" or possibly "they" deserve to be cremated from the face of the earth.

I have to admit that I haven’t felt too well the past week and sure haven’t had time to give any credence, much less joke time, to the Mayan end of the world. As far as when that event is going to happen on a global basis, I guess I’ll just have to go with what Grandma Whittle told me when I was a child and rumors of the “end” were rampant. “Not even the angels in heaven will know that date,” Grandma assured me. I believed my grandma more than I believed some fanatic holding a sign, and my faith was well founded. The next day dawned just as beautiful as any other day.

Now the Mayans, on the other hand, have always fascinated me. I first read about them in social studies in elementary school. I couldn’t think of anything more fascinating to see than the Mayan structures, unless it was the pyramids of Egypt. I dreamed of wandering through a jungle and coming up moss-covered ruins.

Is it any wonder that when my son and daughter-in-law invited me to Mexico several years ago that I was luke warm to the idea until they mentioned we’d be staying close to the Mayan ruins? Then I was all eager to go and number one on my list of things to see was Chichen Itza, or Chicken Pizza as my son called it. Of the four of us, I was probably the only one who was thrilled to be wandering around in the sweltering heat and pushing past the droves of locals hawking cheap tourist trinkets.

Always one to push the lure of Mayan culture to the limits, I went to a closer attraction the next day on my own. Unfortunately, that day was the closest I’d ever come to heat stroke and that took a little bit of the fun out of it for me.

But, on day one, I had absorbed a lot about the Mayan culture. They were violent people who believed in rewarding the victors of “ball games” by allowing the team leader, or captain, to serve as a sacrifice to the gods. I’m thinking that my heart wouldn’t be much in a game if winning meant I would be beheaded.

The Mayans may have seemed like mythical, powerful people with a vision of life, but they were selfish people who used their superior power to inflict unspeakable pain upon others to promote their beliefs. They built their temples, buildings, and structures to benefit the elite group of leaders.

Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Or maybe not so much if you just look around. Here at home, now, we just witnessed an unspeakable disaster in an ordinary community and rather than respectfully allowing the families to mourn, we are intruding with the media. Politicians are scrambling to make their point as to why their political stance on constitutional rights or gun control is the answer to preventing disasters in the future. I’ve seen this disaster blamed on everything from lack of prayer in school to not allowing teachers to pack side arms with their lunchboxes. If the truth is told, there is no simple answer because this isn’t a simple problem. A lot of worlds ended at Sandy Hook, and it wasn’t because a Mayan calendar predicted it.

All I can say is, that if I didn’t believe my Grandma Whittle and figured that if the angels in heaven didn’t know when the world was going to end, I wouldn’t have any money left in the bank today. Nope. I would have spent every blasted penny and had one heck of a good time in the process. I wouldn’t be sitting here at home; I’d be with my family sharing every happy memory I could.

Obviously, since I’m just watching TV…not something that even gets close to the bucket list…I’m expecting tomorrow to be just another day. As long as I don’t have visions of jungles, winning ballgames, or watching heads roll, I plan to have just another ordinary night and wake up to a new day tomorrow. While I’m at it, I’ll just thank God that I’m not a Mayan.

Copyright © Dec 2012 by L.S. Fisher