For this column I have two short stories which I hope you will enjoy.
December is a time when most of us look back at what we have accomplished and consider plans for January. It is the time of the year that all first responders hope that this December will be different — that this year will not contain the broken cars, pain, suffering, tragedy and tears.
It is the time of year when we hope that common sense will prevail, and that partying sensibly will be the motto of 2012. However, it is also a time of merriment and celebration. It is the beginning of religious festivities and family, and relief that the financial pressure of the past 11 months is almost over and that the New Year will bring new opportunities for success.
Independence celebrations signals the beginning of the usual behaviour of attending the Independence Day Parade, hurrying to complete arrangements for family and friends coming home, house cleaning, house repairs, gifts, twinkling lights on trees, planning family luncheons, late night cooking, the display of new fashion trends in Queen’s Park, and the planning of new year’s eve celebrations.
It is the time of the year when a special recipe of speeding, partying, overeating, overindulgence of the “bubbly”, last minute gift scrambling, midnight mass and then the rush to Queen’s Park for the fashion display served with music, creates a menu of traffic accidents, house fires, pain, remorse, blame placing and death. It is Christmas time once again.
Let us look at my recipe’s ingredients.
First there is the “house decorating using lights”; if one does not consult an electrician, and decides instead to complete a “do-it-yourself” lighting design and overloads the electrical circuits, you now have a recipe for a house fire. Then there is the “baking and cooking late into the night” ingredient. The recipe requires that you leave the major item on a “low heat” while you get a few minutes of sleep before attending midnight mass and the Queen’s Park gathering. This ingredient when left unattended greets the home owner with smoke, fire and tragedy to usher in the New Year.
“Speeding”, another primary ingredient. This item needs no major effort to impact an entire family. This ingredient is available year round and free to the consumer. It also comes with “recklessness, youthful disregard and drunkenness”. “Overindulgence of the bubbly”, when served with “speeding” creates an unusual tasting dessert of tears and remorse the morning after. Finally the “over eating” ingredient is also recommended for those who have no regard for the opinions of medical professionals. Eat some large portions of everything on the menu and pay the price the next day. I call that effect “Collywobbles”, sometimes just the “Colly”, sometimes just the “Wobbles”.
I do not profess to be a chef; however I can cook a reasonably tasting meal on occasion that has so far not caused any gastronomic catastrophes, but I have been advised by professional chefs, that they do not recommend the preparation of my recipe under no circumstances, as they are of the opinion that my recipe will be the worst tasting selection on any menu this December.
Here is my other short story.
Recently a theory of world destruction has once again attracted of the attention of the “doomsday specialists”, as the Mayan calendar finishes one of its great cycles in December 2012.
You will recall that I wrote a column on a similar failed prediction which also held world attention in May 2011; not that I personally had hoped that the prediction would have come true, but there were those who spent fortunes planning for it.
However, the Mayan calendar prediction has fueled countless theories about the end of the world on December 21, 2012 at 11:11(UTC) which converts to 01:11 a.m. December 22, 2012 in Barbados.
One theory suggests a galactic alignment which would create chaos on Earth because of the gravitational effect between the Sun and the Black hole called Sagittarius A, which is located at the center of our galaxy.
Another theory involves a “polar shift”, which means a reversal of the north and south magnetic poles. Scientists believe that the Earth is overdue for a geomagnetic reversal. However this can take up to 5,000 years to complete and does not start on any particular date. NASA scientists have been studying and analysing the possibility of the Earth ending in 2012, have concluded that on December 21, 2012 it will be nothing more than a normal December solstice.
NASA states that there is simply no scientific evidence to support any claims of an apocalypse on Earth in December 2012. In response to theories about planetary alignments leading to an apocalypse on Earth on December 21, 2012, the scientists say no planetary alignments will occur in the next few decades. But even if they did, the effects on our planet would be negligible.
NASA also says that the ‘polar shift’ theory is totally impossible. Although continents move slowly throughout time, a magnetic reversal is very unlikely to happen in the next few millennia and wouldn’t cause any harm to life on Earth. The scientists’ conclusion is that the end of the Mayan calendar doesn’t suggest the end of the world, only the end of the Mayan long-count period.
The “long count” is a part of the Maya calendar shaped like a wheel. When we reach the end of the wheel, it will simply turn to the beginning again, just like the modern Gregorian calendar starts again every January 1.
The world did not come to an end, as was predicted for May 21, 2011, but there were tragedies and natural hazards that wreaked havoc on the lives of many people. December once more signals the end of one year and the beginning of another.
It offers an opportunity to celebrate the birth of the Christ Child, it is a welcomed opportunity to share with friends and family… And it need not be a time where only sadness, tears and bitter memories are the foundation for life next month.
Maybe God is not a Bajan, but God continues to be with all of us and we need to learn from the tragedies of others while respecting their pain. The world is not coming to an end and my short stories are only just short stories. My recipe is not recommended by any chef that prepared the dish. I am suggesting that you too, do not try to prepare my recipe as I can guarantee that you will experience gastronomic catastrophes.