judgment day

by Amelia Sauter copyright 2011

YOU MUST HAVE HEARD BY NOW: this Saturday, May 21, 2011, is Judgment Day. The message is on giant billboards on the highways, colorful posters populate the New York City subway, and NPR aired not one, but two stories about it. Since I’m an atheist, I am not on the short list to ascend to an eternity of happiness. So there’s only one smart thing for me to do:

I’m going to live Twitter the rapture on May 21.

Hopefully the day will be really exciting. I imagine it will be like Twittering the royal wedding, but without the hats. I can’t wait to tweet from the red carpet, “I hear J.C. bought two white gowns, but rumor is he will be wearing the Alexander McQueen.” Bright flashes of lights, natural disasters and vaporized people are all on the roster for Saturday. The poster in the subway read, “Global Earthquake: The Greatest Ever!” This could inspire a curiosity and excitement much like the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus slogan, “The Greatest Show on Earth!” (God must use the same publicist.)

Maybe someone will be thoughtful enough to leave me a Rapture Kit. The commercially available Rapture Kits contain gifts for the people left behind, such as letters about the rapture, videos about the rapture, and links to websites about the rapture. Since it will be too late to join the ranks of the saved, this seems rather cruel. My personalized Rapture Kit would ideally contain Xanax, beer, dark chocolate, sunscreen and Duck Tape. (Believers, I hope you are taking notes.)

Though I won’t miss my annoyingly conservative neighbors who complain when my unmowed lawn sprouts into a sea of hippie dandelions, sometimes it sucks being an atheist. Those who believe that they will be gone on Saturday – poof! – are partying, quitting their jobs, skipping school, and spending every last penny in their savings and retirement accounts. I do things like this all the time, and I’m labeled irresponsible. They do it, and it’s an expression of their devotion to god and their families.

And Sunday mornings? Believers get lasting spiritual fulfillment. But since I have no religious practices, I’m stuck with mimosas and raspberry French toast. Sigh.

I personally don’t know anyone who believes in the rapture. This could be because I live in Ithaca, where the most commonly held belief about life after death is that we are all going to compost into dirt. Organic dirt.

So if organic compost holds a bigger place in your heart than J.C. and you’re still around on Saturday, or if you’re waiting for his arrival and looking for a way to pass the time, follow me on Twitter at @ameliasauter. We can tweet together. But remember, there is no “e” in judgment! Just because the end of the world is coming doesn’t mean you can get all lazy with your spelling.

Because if you do, I will judge you.

-Amelia Sauter


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