Millennium may be

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 20, 1999

frightening, but I

plan to have fun


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Published Oct. 20, 1999

Sometimes I think the close of the century – and the millennium – is going to be the beginning of some great apocalypse of biblical proportions.

I envision floods, famine, storms, volcanoes, earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, typhoons, plagues and hordes of locusts.

So maybe I overdo it a bit. Still, there seems to be some basis for the argument. After all, wasn’t it Yeats, the great poet, who said that history spins in gyres based on 2,000 year patterns? His belief was that society, human nature, the world, or whatever you wish to call it, would spin like a top. At first a top begins to spin in great exaggerated circles, the top causing it to wobble seemingly uncontrolably. Then it stabilizes, forms very tight circles, stands tall and straight and spins as if it has a purpose. Then, after a period of time, the top, weary from it’s journey, begins to lean this way and that, wobbling a little more and a little more with each passing second. Eventually, it fails to sustain itself and it falls hopelessly to the ground.

According to Yeats, human history does the same thing. It spins loosely until it reaches a point of stability. This is its period of integration, when all of the parts fit well together. But as time continues, it begins to fall apart, unable to sustain its momentum and it falls prey to disintegration.

It’s one of the more fascinating theories in literature if you ask me, hence my views on the millennium.

But as I consider the damage that has been done to the planet in a single day, and increase that number exponentially, I have reached the conclusion that there’s no secret about global warming, the increase in the number of hurricanes in recent years and the intensity of the destruction they cause.

These things are real, and it is ironic that they are becoming more and more visible as the 19th century – and the second millennium in this A.D. time system – draw to a close.

When I was a child, there was Hurricane Camille. Period. There wasn’t another hurricane that I knew about. Now my mind has been cluttered with a bunch of hurricanes that I barely remember, and most of them have masculine names. The last great female I can recall was Betsy. Then there was Frederick, Andrew, Georges and a lot of others I have forgotten.

So maybe this doesn’t signify the end of the world as we know it. The band REM had a song about that, incidently. Prophecy or coincidence?

The prophet Nostradamus said that the end of the millennium represented the end of the world. He was the historical figure portrayed in the famous film, "The Man Who Saw Tomorrow." It’s a dramatically done flick that scared me into nightmares when I saw it as a kid.

And think about the earthquakes this year. There have been some doozies.

A final point worth making:

The average number of hurricanes in a year is six. This season, we have had 12. Something worth noting as José bears down on the coast. And blame one of those weather stations if this is incorrect. I heard that this week.

So I do overdo it a bit. Call it imagination. And even if it is the end of the world, I’ll fall back on another line ripped off from REM’s song. "I feel fine."

After all, it’s the end of the millennium and I plan on having fun. See you in the ocean if it comes to that.

Brian Blackley is the managing editor for The Messenger.