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Column

Wimbiscus: It's the end of the ... wait, maybe not

Well, I guess we all should be patting ourselves on the back, what with surviving the end of the world and all that.

Doomsday was supposed to drop Sept. 23. That’s the day a mysterious planet no one – including NASA – has ever seen was supposed to pass near the Earth, causing earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tidal waves and other Last Day events. You know, the whole dogs and cats living together thing.

That at least was the prediction of apocalypse peddler David Meade, a self-described “specialist in research and investigations,” who’s written no less than three books on the subject, as well others outlining his conspiracy theories on the Clintons, Donald Trump and Hitler escaping to Argentina.

Fortunately – or unfortunately, depending on your point of view – Armageddon didn’t happen on Sept. 23. Planet X was a no-show.

Other than the aftermath of some hurricanes and earthquakes a few hundred miles away that Mr. End O’ The World probably took smug self-satisfaction in, the day was profoundly noncataclysmic round these parts. Except in Wrigleyville, of course, where the Cubs blew a 10th-inning lead.

Still, if you did experience a moment of doomsday deja vu last weekend, it should come as no surprise. The end of life on Earth as we know it has been predicted no fewer than eight times since the start of the millennium:

Jan. 1, 2000: Remember Y2k? When the extra digit of doom would shut down every computer on the planet? Like most people, we ended up stockpiling extra food and water, much of which ended up going stale in a forgotten corner of the basement a few months later.

May 11, 2011: Televangelist Harold Camping predicted the Rapture, followed by a series of world-ending earthquakes. I must have missed that one.

August/September 2011: Comet Elenin was supposed to collide with Earth. Yeah, guess I missed that one, too.

Dec. 21, 2012: Remember the Mayan death calendar? This theory was so good they made a high-budget crappy movie out of it. I don’t remember stockpiling food this time, other than some apocalyptically appropriate Corona beer. That, and maybe some ice cream.

April 15, 2014: The night of the blood moon – four consecutive and complete lunar eclipses occurring at six-month intervals – was supposed to signify the second coming of Christ. Apparently He never got the memo.

Sept. 27, 2015: Another blood moon/supermoon apocalypse deadline, this one set by a Mormon author. Another no show. Still, the phenomenon is supposed to happen again in 2033, so maybe third time’s a charm.

Oct. 7, 2015: Yet another run-of-the-mill Armageddon prediction by yet another eschatology-obsessed expert turns out to be yet another bust.

July 29, 2016: Something called the “polar flip,” a once-in-an-epoch event where the earth’s magnetic poles suddenly reverse polarity, was supposed to wipe out all life. Turns out the earth’s magnetic poles reverse polarity all the time, without ever destroying mankind. So far, anyway. Which really should come as no surprise since reversing the polarity always saved the day on “Star Trek.”

Because of episodes such as this, it’s getting harder and harder for idiots like me to take these Ragnarök mongers seriously. Fool me once, shame on Planet X. Fool me eight times, shame on Earthbound sentient life.

That said, you can’t keep a good Christian numerologist down. Meade now says Sept. 23 only heralded the beginning of the end, a process that will begin in earnest on Oct. 15. He’s so sure about this deadline, he’s using it to shill his latest book, “The Prepper’s Guide To Surviving EMP Attacks, Solar Flares And Grid Failures,” now available for only $2.51 on Kindle.

Maybe it’s worth a look. Who knows? Maybe he’ll be right this time.

Still, I dunno. You can buy a lot of bottles of Corona for $2.51. Well, one, anyway. Which still is one more than the number of correct doomsday predictions since … forever.

• Bill Wimbiscus, former reporter and editor for The Herald-News, has lived in Joliet for 25 years. He can be reached at news@theherald-news.com.

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