Unsolicited Advice for Living in the End Times, Vol 13

There might be a temptation to rush into forming an end-of-times plan, but I would warn against any fast moves. In fact, it might be helpful to think of this upcoming ultimate denouement as a robbery. Your life as you know it is being taken from you, but no one has to get hurt. Remember, any landing you walk away from is a good landing, and that’s what all we want and frankly what we deserve. A spirited walk down the landing strip of our lives with no looking over our shoulders.

Still no need to speed: Take the time to think, then have a drink and then think some more. Use both sides of your brain. Trust your gut but embrace your inner counterintiuitionist and please feel free to use long words that don’t exist. You’ll thank me nevereverendingly.

For example, you might feel that with the end looming, we no longer have any need for manners. If this is what you feel, you’re wrong. I won’t tell you just how wrong because that wouldn’t be very polite and we are going to need to maintain a sense of decency toward one another. Believe me, it’s gonna be the grease that helps us slide down the pole, and we’re all going down, but that’s no reason to get any unnecessary rashes.

We must all attempt to be more social-minded. It’s time to think of others. Don’t panic: We, of course, can still think of ourselves. It’s a bit late for our society to go full-monty selflessness, and I’m certainly not suggesting running off to the Peace Corps or going to China to help the slave laborers make iPhones. It’s more like, Stop texting while you’re walking into a pizza shop and then saying “oops” when you walk into a man carrying a pie as you push past him. Sorry, I didn’t want this to get personal, but I think you understand what I mean. It might be time for some rebranding of common decency, make it part of everyday life. At work, manners with your spanners; at play, mores with those s’mores. And not just in the good times: Why not some morals with your quarrels? Okay, all right, just brainstorming here. Everybody join in; this works better if we’re all on board.

There are small but thoughtful ways to live among others, and that’s what we should strive for. Remember, it shouldn’t be something you feel you must do, but something you are choosing to do. I’ll give another example: At the unveiling of her official portrait, Kate Middleton was asked if she liked it. She said she loved it, which seems highly unlikely. When I saw it, I was instantly reminded of my bar mitzvah portrait, which I hated. Of course, she could have said whatever she wanted. She has, after all, married into the family that used to own England. She was just being nice, much nicer than I was when I encountered my own badly painted face staring me down. I just hope someday to become a kinder and gentler version of myself. Who knows? Maybe sometime in the future when at a moral impasse, I might just pause and ask myself, “What would Kate do?”

So let me say it again: Try to not rush to judgment and if possible, try not to rush at all.