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End Times


Some time in mid May 2011, David Crutchfield and I were at the airport in Fargo, waiting for the plane that would take us to South America. In the departure lounge, there was a fellow who looked and acted perfectly normal; he was well groomed [compared to me, that’s pretty much everyone else] and wearing one of those satin “team” jackets with lots of embroidery. More stitching than you’d expect for the Fennimore Co. High School “Muskrats.”

I usually don’t bother reading that stuff but for some reason this time I did. “May 21st, 2011” stretched across his back, with a query if I was ready for the Rapture — which I’m not, incidentally. Please, please let him be Denver-bound, I thought, since most Fargo flights are destined for MSP. But, no, there he was, two rows in front of Dave and me.

Dave and I split at Minneapolis-St Paul and, sure enough, he was on the Newark flight. You have to wonder, Is New Jersey a place to wait for The End? Five or six days later, we were in Brasilia, and I’d given no thought to it.

On the mall near the Plaza of the Three Powers late one afternoon, we were planning where to have dinner. Then I recalled Harold Camping’s prediction (which actually got down to the hour, though I wasn’t sure which time zone he meant). At any rate, I glanced at the time and realized we had only fifteen minutes to the Rapture; alerted our group that we should prepare. In my case, it was preparation to be left behind, while everyone else was Raptured out of their shoes. Well, it didn’t happen as predicted and we all went in search of dinner instead, hoping to find feijoada [fezh-wada], the Brazilian national dish.


Thinking about that afternoon in 2011, I see around me all sorts of signs and signals that something is up, but wish this time I could escape this lunacy. I pretty much could give a shit whether it’s Heaven or Mars or an abandoned island off the west coast of Scotland (e.g., St Kilda). In the words of Captain Kirk, “Beam me up, Scotty, ’cause there’s no intelligent life down here.” I am at an absolute loss for how to cope, where to be, what to do.

st kilda.jpg.jpg

But Newark?

Dr Bob believed Agincourt was therapeutic; that the working out of its characters and their relationships enabled me to work through my own issues. “Call me when you start packing to move there,” he joked. Now I’m not so sure it was a joke.

What real-time issues — the abominations issuing from the mouths of Kellyanne Conway, Jason Miller, Prince Rebus, Paul Ryan, or the tweets of the President-Elect — can spur me to explore the history and current events in Agincourt?

I’ve tried to imagine a community that actually is a community. A place where people watch out for and, sometimes, over one another. Where food, shelter and health care are accessible, not luxuries. Where women of childbearing age don’t find themselves regulated by old white men who are either sanctimonious or satyrs. Where knowledge is valued above ignorance and superstition: i.e., where we won’t be afraid of the dark. Where curiosity and honest inquiry are neither a nuisance nor a threat to the State. Is that just too fucking much to ask?

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