Okay folks, once again the end of the world is supposedly coming--this time by massive fires-- and a fellow named Robert Fitzgerald, a 60 year-old Staten Island resident, has put his money on the line. Either he believes it or figures he'll get back his investment with interest when it doesn't end on May 21 if enough of the people who did buy into this also buy his book.
Every several years someone or many someones hop on this bandwagon, but here we are--still standing! As for Fitzgerald, a retired MTA employee, according to the New York Post he spent his life savings to the tune of about $140,000 on subway posters, and ads on bus kiosks and subway cars. Yep! He set up a campaign to blast the message: "Global Earthquake: The Greatest Ever! Judgment Day May 21, 2011." Wait a minute. The tongue-in-cheek commentator on this morning's news said it would supposedly be fire. Do they have their signals crossed, or will the fires trigger Fitzgerald's alleged earthquake?
The first question one would have to ask is 'why would someone spend all that money on advertising?' Well, in the case of Fitzgerald, he's written a self-published book, The Doomsday Code. He claims the Bible offers "proof that cannot be dismissed." So is it all a big advertising campaign? Does he hope folks will shell out the money for his book before everything goes KAPOW? After all, if his premise is true, they won't need any money after Saturday.
I don't know about you, but I have plans for Sunday. Apparently Fitzpatrick based his book on the teachings of a fellow named Harold Camping, an 89-year-old radio host. This guy has a rather poor track record when it comes to end-of-the-world prophecies, because he also went public with a prediction that the world would end on Sept. 6, 1994. If my math is right, that's just under seventeen years ago. Long enough for a kid to be born and graduate from high school and any number of other events. Heck, today's Camping's prediction for 1994 came to pass, neither the teens nor Beeber would have seen the light of day. Maybe that's a bad example, but we definitely wouldn't have had Facebook and the internet as we know it today.
Many, many years ago one of my friends was sucked in by a fiery minister who preached all of the bad things in Revelations. She walked around terrifed for days that she would go to heaven and her Lutheran husband would be left to endure Hell on earth. I remember consoling her by saying I was likely to be on Earth, too, so I'd look out for him. I wonder how many of Fitzgerald's books will be sold before last swipe of a credit card, and how will he feel when he opens his eyes on Sunday and nothing has changed?