It’s the End of the World as We Know It–And I Feel Like Looting!

According to an ancient Mayan prophecy, the world is ending one week from today.

I am here today to tell you that this is absolutely, unequivocally true.

How do I know?

Duh, I’m psychic, I know everything.

No, I won’t help you pick winning lottery numbers.

And I’m not really THAT psychic. Even though Madam Marie’s granddaughter told me that I am.

I’m relying on cold, hard facts this time.

Fact #1: The Mayans said it’s happening. Clearly a civilization that disappeared over a thousand years ago was AWESOME at predicting the future.

The best theory out there about their disappearance was that they were kidnapped by aliens. It’s true. Google it. Of course, the Wikipedia page on the Mayans says that they never disappeared, they just left their main cities due to a drought and were assimilated into other local cultures, but that’s Wikipedia. Everyone knows that ANYONE can edit Wikipedia. Even the aliens that abducted the Mayans.

 
But the Mayans clearly knew that was coming because they disappeared without a trace, implying that they knew it was coming and had time to pack. See? If they say the world is ending, it’s ending.

Fact #2: There’s a movie about it. It’s called 2012. I mean, I didn’t see it, because the premise of the movie is that neutrinos are heating the Earth’s core and ending the world, and my dad is one of the world’s leading neutrino physicists and that premise was the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life because that’s NOT what neutrinos are or what they do.

  Like literally. My dad was one of the head scientists who discovered that neutrinos have mass. He’d know if they were heating the Earth’s core. And he’d tell me. Because he’s my daddy.

 But the fact that there’s a movie about it means it’s happening. Clearly.

Fact #3: It’ll be 2015 in just over two years and hoverboard technology isn’t close. We’ve just created a paradox in the space-time continuum big enough to destroy the whole universe. And the world is part of the universe. So it’s ending too.

Fact #4: The Redskins aren’t terrible this year. We have RGIII. We beat the Giants, the Eagles, AND the Cowboys. And even after RGIII got injured in the last game, we STILL won. If this isn’t a sign of an impending apocalypse, I don’t know what is.

See? Indisputable evidence that that world will be ending in exactly one week.

So what should you do?

That depends. If you’re planning to survive the apocalypse, you should probably stock up on all the apocalypse essentials: shotguns, bottled water, Leonardo DiCaprio dvds, a generator (to run whatever you’re going to watch the dvds on), non-perishable food items, and a zombie-English dictionary.

And, most importantly, Will Smith.  Because if Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that no matter what the cause of the end of the world, Will Smith can not only survive it, he can also save the fractured remnants of society.

But if you’re willing to throw in the towel and embrace the end of the world, as I am (I don’t do well with zombies. And the only bottled water that my boyfriend will drink costs like $15 for a six pack. Seriously? It’s water. It comes out of the tap AND the sky for free. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of it my life. Yet another sign that the world is ending: people will spend that much money on WATER. Bring on the apocalypse please, I’m done), your preparations can be a lot more fun.

For example, you know the Ten Days of Repentance in Judaism, when you’re supposed to go around apologizing for all the wrongs that you’ve done to people? I plan to spend the next seven doing the opposite: I’m going to go around telling people EXACTLY what I think of them. I mean, the world is ending, there won’t be any consequences. And I have a few people who I’ve been holding back on for YEARS. This will be awesome. Unless you’re one of the people who has wronged me. In which case I’m about to use the present that I got my father for Hanukkah to tell you what an [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] you are.

And all that dieting and exercising I’ve been doing this year? To hell with that! You can’t undo a year’s worth of effort in one week, so I’m eating whatever I want this week.

A whole pizza? Sure! Eighty-seven cookies? Why not! As long as my jeans still fit on Friday when the world ends, it’s all good.

Time to max out those credit cards too. There’s no way you’ll have to pay that debt off, so buy whatever you want. It’s your America folks!

What’s the only thing more fun than spending money you don’t have? That’s right! It’s looting! Go crazy! Take what you want! Why yes, I WOULD like to help myself to a Maserati! Thank you for asking. Oh, it was yours? That’s a shame, it’s mine now. And the beauty of this plan is that when EVERYONE starts looting, the cops will be too busy to do much about it. So yeah, a few unlucky souls might get caught and spend their last week locked up, but in this case, the odds are ever in your favor.

Then it’s time to mess with peoples’ heads. Because really, that’s my primary joy in life anyway as a teacher. All you really need to do it this time is a good pair of wire cutters. Grab those suckers and start cutting any wires you see. Power? Gone. Cable and internet? Gone. Phones? No one uses a landline anyway, that won’t really do anything. But if you can knock down a cell tower, you’ll terrify EVERYONE. And without the ability to check Twitter to see what’s happening, everyone will descend into mass panic and you can laugh at them for the last few minutes before the world actually ends.

Goodbye world, it’s been fun.

Unless of course, the Mayans were somehow wrong, and you follow this advice, in which case my lawyer would like me to publicly state that I am not responsible for anything that happens to you as a result of your own actions.

Happy looting!

Happy Hanukkah–er–Chanukah? Hanukah? However you spell it, it’s eight nights of presents!

Hanukkah starts tonight.

Totally exciting, right?

No.

I’m sorry to burst your holiday bubble, but Hanukkah isn’t much of a holiday. But, to be fair, neither is Christmas, when you come right down to it. I mean, if Jesus was born on December 25th, why is New Year’s a week later? It makes no sense. And what on earth does a fat guy in a red suit have to do with Jesus’ birthday?

But I digress.

Hanukkah (and yes, you can spell it with a C. But I don’t. Because then people think it’s pronounced CHA-nukah, like the Cha-Cha, and that just makes me want to start punching people. If you can’t say the “chuh” sound right, just pronounce it like an “h” so you sound less ignorant) is one of the least important holidays of the Jewish year.

I mean, it’s a fun holiday, because it’s got a good story behind it, as opposed to say, Tu B’shvat, when you plant trees, or Lag Ba Omer (which I still haven’t 100 percent figured out. I THINK it has something to do with counting seven weeks from the beginning of Passover. But I have no idea what that means or what you’re supposed to do for it). But the only reason people assign any major significance to it is because it usually falls somewhat close to Christmas and no Jewish parents want their kids to feel left out.

But, teaching at a school with a teeny-tiny Jewish population, I get asked a lot of ridiculous questions about the holiday every year, so it’s time to explain exactly what Hanukkah is.

First of all, no, there is no such thing as Hanukkah Harry.

I don’t know what idiot thought that up, but it was probably a Jew who was making fun of someone for not knowing what Hanukkah was. Unfortunately, now people think it’s true. It’s not. The only people who give us presents on Hanukkah are our families and friends. No random old man comes around to give things to Jews. To throw us into concentration camps or build gallows to hang us all from (we’ll get to that story when Purim rolls around), maybe.

But give us presents? No.

Nor is there a Hanukkah bush.

Yes, some Jews have Christmas tree envy and may choose to get some form of a shrubbery to decorate in December (insert Knights Who Say Ni joke here), but if they do that, it’s their own assimilationist idea, not a religious or culturally significant event.

The basic story behind Hanukkah is that a Jewish military group, the Maccabees, defeated the Babylonians, who after they destroyed the First Temple.

That in and of itself was considered something of a miracle and should be celebrated as such, along with all other Jewish military victories (like the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War) because on the whole, we’re not an athletic people. If you want your taxes done or someone sued, call one of us. Need a doctor? A Jew is a good bet. Need a strong military force? Not so much. So when we DO manage to kick some major ass physically, it’s a big deal.

But that’s not what Hanukkah is REALLY about. Instead, it’s about oil.

No, I don’t mean the kind of oil the Middle East fights over now, and no, it had nothing to do with rising gas prices.

It’s about oil to light a lamp. After fighting off the Babylonians, the Maccabees needed to restore the Temple. But there was only enough oil to last one night, which would not be enough to complete their work. The miracle was that the oil lasted for eight days, just long enough to complete the Temple’s restoration as a place of worship, which is why we light candles for the eight nights of Hanukkah.

So because it’s a celebration more than a day of prayer, we do what Jews stereotypically do best: eat and play with money. We eat potato latkes, which are basically Jewish hash browns (in case any of you who haven’t had them think I misspelled the word “lakes” or something, I didn’t. They’re called latkes and they’re delicious. Especially when my grandma makes them). But latkes are significant because they’re cooked in oil, which is what the holiday is about.

I have no idea how the dreidel thing ties in, and to be honest, I’ve never understood why that game was supposed to be fun. It’s not. Granted, I’m not the world’s biggest gambler. When I go to Atlantic City, I go there to shop because I prefer to KNOW that I’m getting something for my money, like shoes. But even playing for candy in Hebrew School never appealed to me because the rules are kind of flimsy. And I’ve never seen anyone play dreidel when it wasn’t just a way to avoid doing work in Hebrew school.

But Sara, I don’t get it, if Hanukkah isn’t a big deal, why do Jewish kids get presents for eight nights?

Easy.

Because Christian kids get Christmas presents.

It may not be a significant part of the Jewish year (or even the most fun holiday of the Jewish year—presents or not, Purim beats Hanukkah hands down. You dress up like it’s Halloween, and you’re SUPPOSED to get super drunk. Literally. A rabbi told me that you’re supposed to get so drunk that you can’t tell the difference between Haman, the bad guy in the story, and Mordachai, the good guy in the story. Best holiday ever. In fact, best religion ever, just because of that holiday), but American Jewish parents need SOMETHING to bargain with to keep their kids interested in Judaism until they’re old enough to find out about the real way to celebrate Purim. 

And thus the eight nights of Hanukkah presents were born.

I, for one, am grateful to Jesus for that. He may not be my personal savior, and I have no idea when he was actually born, but he’s the reason I get eight presents every December. So on behalf of Jewish children everywhere, and in the words of Homer Simpson, “Thank you, Jebus!”

So to all the other Members of the Tribe out there, I’d like to wish you a happy Hanukkah, no matter how you personally choose to spell or celebrate it. And if anyone has figured out how to make dreidel fun, let me know. Otherwise, just enjoy the latkes and try not to burn your house down with the Hanukkah candles (which almost happened to me last year… more on that later this week when I blog about Hanukkah horror stories).