I saw a bumper sticker on a van recently that said “In case of the Rapture, car’s yours.” Trying not to dwell on the missing “the,” it reminded me of when my mother believed that the Rapture was upon us. My mother had just finishing reading 88 Reasons why the Rapture will be in 1988. She believed that this apocalyptic event would occur in September of that year.
My mother’s belief that the world was going to end was not completely off the wall, considering some of the strange and unthinkable events that were occurring around that time. Some were just plain heartbreaking: Magnum P.I. was ending after eight years on television. Some things we didn’t think think would happen in a million years: Sonny Bono was elected mayor of Palm Springs, CA as a Republican ; McDonalds opened in the then Soviet Union; Robin Givens and Mike Tyson decided to call it quits; Jimmy Swagger admitted to sleeping with a prostitute; and most shocking of all: me graduating from high school. Finally, let’s not forget a year prior R.E.M. prophetically announced – It’s the End of the World as We Know It. Strange things were a brewin’.
My Mom, however, was only worried about one thing should this celestial event occur: the well-being of our standard poodle, Josie. She didn’t worry about either me or my Dad – I suppose she thought we would both make it to heaven by the skins of our teeth. It’s either that, or she believed that I couldn’t or didn’t want to provide for the dog. No, the person she chose to care for her beloved Josie was my best friend from high school and noted heathen, Alex.
Let me give you a brief description of my buddy Alex. He was the alternative kid in my high school. His hair was a different color every other week, wore combat boots, and frequently traced his eyes with black liner. He was Goth way before Hot Topic. He listened to The Damned, Sisters of Mercy, the Jesus and Mary Chain, etc. I’m sure all of that went into my mother thinking that Alex would not be Rapture-worthy. I’m sure the topper, however, was that Alex was raised Episcopalian, even though he never went to church. In her mind, a backslider from that “religion” (it was too close to Catholicism) was never making it into the Kingdom of Heaven. I’m sure my mother exclaimed this statement at some point: “Enjoy the fireworks, you heathen!”
He was still good enough to take care of our canine, however. When she asked/explained what she wanted him to do and why, his expression was one of complete and utter bewilderment. There was one small fly in the ointment: Alex didn’t really like dogs at the time (that has since changed, and he and his partner have two miniature Schnauzers) and disliked our family’s pooch – and she wasn’t too fond of him either. Being a good friend and because he liked my unbalanced mother, he agreed to take care of our dog – probably because he knew it would never come to fruition.
All of this end of the world talk got me thinking, however. What if this did happen? What if I was miraculously taken up into the clouds to be with the Lord and the Tribulation period did take place? Most of all, what if Alex was stuck taking care of the dog? I can just picture Alex doing it: “Yeah, I know the moon is turning to blood and the seven headed dragon is coming up the street, but I have to go over to the Mahler’s house, let Josie out, and then give her some kibble.”
I was once again reminded of all this story recently when my Mom informed me that the uprisings in the Middle East could usher in a one world government and the end times. I responded to her with one brief sentence: “I’ll tell Alex to be on standby.”