My old college friend Ken was always about two months behind on most everything. It had always been the case. In college, for this reason, we had jokingly called him the Prophet. Anyway, he caught up to me for the first time in a couple of months in the parking lot of Safeway today as I was carting my groceries out to my car.
It was good to see him. I said, “Hola, chica,” but he was not in a friendly mood.
“Fuck me,” he said. “Excuse my language, but I just heard about this thing.”
“What’s that?” I said
“The Mayan Calendar. December 21, 2012, or some such shit.”
I looked at him.
“Hello? The end of the world?”
“But it didn’t happen.”
“Oh, but maybe it did,” the Prophet said. “That’s what I’m now thinking. What if we’re all living in some alternative reality?”
“Dude, have you been drinking?”
“No, dude, I have not been drinking. Have you not been paying attention?”
“I guess not, no.”
“Your world has come to an end. Do you understand? What you used to claim as your reality, or whatever—it’s gone.”
“But what if I’m okay with that?”
“Well, then,” the Prophet said. That seemed to challenge him. He spent some time thinking about that as he glanced across the parking lot to the parking lots of the factory outlets across the interstate in the distance, with what appeared to be genuine tears in his eyes. I could smell the alcohol most certainly now. He’d no doubt spent the last night drinking himself black; that was what the Prophet had always done best.
“Come on, man,” I said, finally, and patted him on the back. “Relax. Even if not so great, this new world, give it time, and you’ll see that neither is it all that bad.”