Triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13 – is a common superstition. (not to be confused with Triskel-dekaphobia which is an irrational fear of Cork arts centres)

High-rise buildings have no 13th floor, airplanes have no 13th row and today triskaidekaphobia reaches its height on Friday 13th a date synonymous with disaster.

Today is also the release date for 2012 – a disaster movie that depicts the End of the World as occurring on or around December 21st, 2012. The causes of the apocalypse in the film are too multivarious and complicated to go into here, but suffice it to say that the director Roland Emmerich deals with it in a very sensitive and plausible way; which is what we would expect from the man who, in his earlier work 10,000BC , theorised that woolly mammoths were used to haul rock for the construction of the Pyramids.

Why 2012? Well you see, that’s when the world is going to end. We know because the Ancient Maya (a sophisticated Central American civilisation, not to be confused with Cha and Miah) formulated a complex 5,000-year calendar of Time, which they predicted would end cataclysmically on December 21st, 2012. This should not cause too much alarm. Anyone who has kept a calendar in the kitchen knows that long after it is out of date, the old calender is still retained because it has the phone number of the fella who delivers turf written on the back of it.

Beyond the film, there is a very active 2012 community out there with varying ideas on how the world will end.

Increased solar activity could cause a huge flare to strike Earth and the reversal of the earth’s magnetic field leading to crust displacement, volcanoes, earthquakes and 400ft tidal waves leaving Cork looking like the day after the Jazz Weekend.

There is also is the theory that in 2012 a mysterious second planet called Nibiru will crash into Earth, wiping out all life. This was first supposed to happen in 2003 but the date has been put back, first to 2010 and then to 2012. Which leads one to suspect that Nibiru could be run by the same people tasked with rolling out broadband across the country.

We dismiss the Nibiru theory at our peril however. The advent of the second plant has been predicted by the famous 16th century French prophet Michel Nostradamus when he wrote: “From the sky will come a great King of Terror”. Nostradamus has been uncannily prescient on other subjects. Read the following quattrain (No 14):

From the enslaved populace, songs, chants & demands,
while Two Brothers are held captive in prisons:
These will in the future by headless idiots,
be received as divine prayers..

Clearly the great man is heralding the presence of Jedward on X-Factor.

So could we be approaching the end of days?

As we approached Friday the 13th a certain fractiousness gripped the country. People protested in the streets singing ‘The Times They Are a Changin’, Pat Kenny couldn’t scratch his nose now without someone making an oblique reference to his house and the precise details of its perimeter wall and unions and the government were locked in a deadly embrace over wage cuts.

It’s the last of those three that is most worrying. The unions are insisting that Ireland should phase in any public spending cuts over a much longer period with the worst of it coming between 2013 and 2107. That’s an understandable position but after what I’ve read about the last days of 2012, the significance of 2013 scares me. Why is ICTU so insistent about 2013? Maybe they know the world is going to end in 2012 and there is no point worrying about EU budget restrictions if we’re all going to die anyway.

In the film 2012, the governments of the world secretly build huge Arks to save the animals, the precious art and the elite members of the human race. Leaders of the country’s largest unions would be well equipped to deal with life on an Ark and being protected from the harsher realities outside if they, as many of them have, spent any time on the board of FAS.

If the World is indeed going to end, how should we spend our last few years?

There’s one thing for certain, Cork have to win the 2012 All Irelands. It’s bad enough listening to Kilkenny and Kerry at the best of times but the knowledge that they would be All-Ireland Champions for Eternity would be a bitter pill to swallow indeed in the autumn and winter before annihilation, It would be especially bitter if you happened to be stuck on an Ark with a fella in a Kerry shirt who saying “Cork are a young team, they’ll be back next year”. We must win at all costs. For a start, the players need to be paid. The die-hards may decry the erosion of the GAA’s cherished amateur ethos, but nothing erodes a cherished ethos faster than a large asteroid pulverising the earth and making most pitches unplayable.

Other, more Kennellyesque, aspects of the game would have to be explored. All vital matches would have to begin with a Cork player running some distance “like a raging bull” to catch their opposite number “perfectly on the chin”. We can’t play too dirty though – we need to get a good share of the All Stars that year as they would likely get to go on the Arks for their Winter Holiday.

Let’s leave the last word on 2012 to Nostradamus. In the following verse (No.97) he appears to predict at least an All-Ireland hurling title for Cork that year. From reading between the lines it looks like the short puck-out will be no more and that the game will be won at wingback.

The Gods will make it appear to mankind,
that they are the authors of a great war:
Before the sky was seen free of weapons & rockets,
the greatest damage will be inflicted on the left.

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