So let's get this straight: there's some ancient calendar written a bajillion years ago, and it ends on Dec. 21, 2012, and that's supposed to mean that the end of the world is nigh? Hell, if you'll believe that, I've got a guy you should meet named Harold Camping.
Though most of us know that the supposed 2012 Mayan apocalypse is basically the Y2K scare all over again, that hasn't kept us from languidly pondering how we'd spend our final days. So we here at the Bohemian handed the idea to the community, and asked various public figures the same question:
"Since Mayan prophecy says that 2012 marks the end of the world, how do you plan to spend your last year on Earth?"
Shawn E. Hall, Gypsy Cafe
Eat comfort food 24 hours a day
Run for president because I won't have to do the job
Go to every concert and event mentioned in the Bohemian
Jump onstage at Madonna's Super Bowl show and vogue
Stalk every sexiest man who ever made the cover of People
Travel the world with only a carry-on bag
Do a duet album with Dylan
Enjoy the fact that reality TV is coming to an end
Drink vodka cocktails after winning my Oscar
And the number one way to make the most of 2012:
Be the person who proves the Mayans were wrong.
Gary Wysocky, Santa Rosa City Council
This skeptical CPA would recommend Goldman Sachs and cockroaches to clients, as they both have outstanding reputations for survivability.
As for city finances in the last year on Earth, our unfunded pension debt will vanish as quickly as Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, as we'll only have to pay one year of retirement benefits. This will allow us to open all fire stations everyday, as well as reduce water rates to levels not seen since Hugh Codding was building a home in a day. Would also amend my position and agree with the mayor and council majority that neighborhood leaders are not needed for future city planning.
Lastly, agree to each and every request from my family, as only that which we give to each other is what truly matters.
Gretchen Giles, O'Reilly Media (and former editor of the Bohemian)
If 2012 were guaranteed to be my last year on this good, green earth, I would not:
Quit smoking, as is so foolishly planned for Jan. 16
Stop glugging as much good dead grape as I can hold
Discontinue my avid consumption of triple crème cheese
Avoid the daily, weekly, monthly pleasures of the bed, the floor, the couch
Quit wandering the garden in raincoat and robe, wondering at dew caught on spider webs
Stop telling the people I love that I love them every time I see them
Discontinue the downward dog, the half pigeon, the detested camel
Quit intending to read Proust
Stop paying hundreds to remain a natural blonde
Discontinue my desire for the stomach-flip feeling that a painting can produce
Avoid crisp, salted French fries eaten at the bar with extra aioli, please
Quit flirting with babies
Stop striving at my job, my career, my profession
Discontinue my efforts to get my grown sons to sit on my lap
And avoid conflict when it heals, compromise when it's wise and tyranny when appropriate.
But I would move to Maui.
Whether the calendar is fictive or real, half-done or complete, the Mayans probably knew the same thing as I: living every day as your last day is the only way to live your days at all.
Chris Coursey, Press Democrat
I'm going to quit my job, sell my house, jettison my personal belongings, buy a barrel of cheap whiskey and drink in the dark while I wait for the end to come.
Wait a minute. That's what I did in 2011.
In 2012, I'm buying a barrel of expensive whiskey . . .
Paige Picard and Carl Patrick, Occupy Santa Rosa
First off, we would like to thank Time for naming "the Protester" as its "2011 Person of the Year." However, in 2012 we hope to accomplish what no other Person of the Year has yet to attain: the coveted "Person of the Last Year Ever!" It won't be easy, but here's our plan:
We are going to team up with People magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" Bradley Cooper (though we stress that we are outraged that Ryan Gosling got snubbed. I mean, c'mon!), and together we are going to combat the twin evils of Wall Street: corporate greed and systematic unsexiness.
We will finally "get a job." Our opponents have long advised us of the merits of employment, and in 2012 we will heed their wisdom and for once become equal contributors to society. We would have done this sooner, but there is a little-known provision in the Secret Activist Code that prohibits holding a job, or showering.
We regret that the Occupy movement single-handedly led to an epidemic in homelessness, rampant drug addiction, untreated mental illness and violent crime in urban city centers. We will try our best to take things back to the way they used to be, when everyone had a home, no one did drugs, everyone was happy and no one ever broke the law.
We agree that the Occupy movement needs to have a more clear and concise message. To sum it up, basically we want an end to bad things and all that stuff, and we want the government to do only good things, like make justice and freedom. Also we want free ice cream now!
We firmly believe that there is no such thing as bad press; therefore, we urge the Occupy movement to continue smoking weed in public, organizing 24-hour drum circles, crapping on police vehicles and killing small business.
We think the Occupy movement needs to take a less confrontational approach in order to win over the masses. For example, sitting down and doing nothing (like UC Davis students), taking the day off of work (like the Oakland general strike) and sleeping in a tent (like Occupy in every city) are just too militant for most mainstream Americans. We think a much more effective strategy would be for everyone to put all their passion and energy into re-electing Barack Obama in 2012. We've heard that worked really well last time.
And if all these things fail, then our last-ditch option is to spend our last year on Earth engaging in a serious campaign of organizing our neighborhoods, campuses and workplaces against the domination of the 1%, and to create a new society based on equality and direct democracy for future generations.
Just kidding! That would be a total waste of time.
Steve Jaxon, 'The Drive,' KSRO
1. Liberate a monkey from the zoo and make him my sidekick.
2. Max out my credit cards on tattoos and clams (me like clams).
3. Say the word "fuck" on the air repeatedly.
Sheila Groves, Uptown Theatre
I have my bags packed and by the door, as I am the "always be prepared" type. I don't want to miss the boat, so I'll be ready for the journey to Planet Kibble 33x4squared on Dec. 21. I hope I get a front row seat in the rocket—I get nervous when I'm not driving.
Come December, I won't have to worry about bills anymore. In fact, I'm thinking this is a green light for reckless credit card usage. Hopefully, my husband won't be reading this. He's perfectly happy on Earth and has refused to come with me to the new planet, so if things don't go as planned and Earth sticks around, he'll be left holding the check.
On the other hand, I am going to love bigger and better than I ever have, and I’m going to kiss my cat more often. I am going to celebrate the awesome job that I have (doesn’t get much better than booking great bands into an amazingly beautiful venue). I will hold on to my husband’s hand more often, spend more spa days with my nieces, have dinners and too much wine with my sisters, precious moments with my parents and with every sunset I will thank the universe for letting me inhabit this beautiful place awhile.
Greg Fisher, Bike Monkey
Aside from the dietary and liver excesses, ill-advised bike purchases and marriage-straining "suggestions" in which many of us, including myself, would engage, much of what I'd end up doing would be the fulfillment of archived whimsy.
The 28-day bike race across Africa? Followed immediately by the one that traverses the Silk Road? Done and done. That '74 El Camino in pumpkin orange with the hydraulics and the Thunder Bass 3000 sound system, blaring Lionel Ritchie and getting three-wheel action on our West County roads? Yes, please. Dance lessons from the guy who taught Tom Cruise to boogie in Tropic Thunder? Booked. Renting the Wells Fargo Center just so I can dance those same routines in a huge empty room with spotlights? Absolutely.
Should Mad Max–type, pre-apocalyptic bands of warriors come to roam our Sonoma countryside prior to the endtimes, my associates and I at Bike Monkey will finally get the chance to put on our yet-to-be-revealed cycling event: the Bike Biathlon. Except instead of .22s on a rifle range, it'll be a bit more, you know, "real-time."
And lest this all come off as too pointless, let's all remember the best byproduct from a decent party: an appreciation of the relative peace that comes with being alone for a moment. By the time I've thrown myself out of that El Camino as it hurtles off Stewart's Point, drank too much, eaten too much and indulged in every stupid impulse I've never had the guts to pull off, I hope I can look at the world-ending abyss, take a last deep breath, and carve a toothy grin as it swallows me and the rest of creation whole.
Douglas Keane, Cyrus Restaurant
As I foresee a good amount of disposable income out there, I'm going to spend each of the first six months opening six different high-end esoteric Asian restaurants that nobody will eat at. For the last five months, as I assume the need for euthanasia will drop drastically, nobody should object to me taking a pack of 40 dogs out to my house to feed them excessive amounts of Wagyu beef while I drink lots of Champagne swiped from Cyrus' cellar.
Two weeks before the big day, the dogs and I are going to start preparing for the final journey by fattening up on as much foie gras as we can get our paws on.
I would also truly hope Newt Gingrich will win the White House in November, so I can finally prove to my father-in-law that I was right about the world ending if we elected a Republican again.
Jessica Felix, Healdsburg Jazz Festival
I would sail the Caribbean on a large yacht; the skippers would be my friends Susie and George Atkinson, and other crew members would be friends and musicians. As we sail from island to island, we would stop and play small concerts. On board would be a high-quality stereo system; for me, it would have to include Abbey Lincoln; Coltrane's Olé, Ballads and With Johnny Hartman; Charles Lloyd; Charlie Haden; James Newton; and lots of Brazilian music with Leny Andrade, Baden Powell, Joao Gilberto and Jobim. Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran would also be included.
The band would be George Cables, Craig Handy, Andy McKee and Billy Hart (even though he can't swim). Their families would be on board. When the final day comes, I will be surrounded by music, friendship and lots of love. I’ve had a great life bringing happiness to people via music and art and stayed true to my beliefs and myself. No regrets.
Tony Magee, Lagunitas Brewing Co.
My first and deepest felt response would be to commit myself to every effort possible to bring out all of the love and compassion that I can find in my own soul and use it to connect with my fellow human beings, doomed that we all may be . . . to dig deep to find the truth in the essence of what it is to be human, if only for the remaining 11 months . . . to express unconditional love in a veritable fountain of acceptance for all God's creations, great and small . . . but, then again, I've been watching a lot of back episodes of Dexter over the holidays and . . . well . . . er . . .
Diane Evans, Sonoma County Museum
I plan on spending my last year on earth with Sophia, Elizabeth, Sasha, Adam, Tony and the guinea pig. The Sonoma County Museum will build two new museums and will not, at least at this point, be showing much in the way of Mayan artifacts.
Kelley Rajala, Share Exchange Cooperative
Act like a squirrel. Each week I will bury a memento in a time capsule or hide a snack for life after the collapse. Each little memory or morsel will remind the survivors of the great fortune and riches we've enjoyed and plundered. How could our intelligent species be so silly and shortsighted? The first hidden treasure will be a petri dish packed with plankton. Maybe someone can start the food chain all over again.
Mark Malicki, Casino Bar & Grill
When you're a guy, you allow yourself to have those daydreams—you know the ones. Sinking the basket at the buzzer, catching the baby jumping out of the burning building, getting the girl of your dreams. You know, hero shit.
I don't think I can spin the world backwards like Superman in order to save it or make time stand still—like watching your two year-old on a merry-go-round and you don't want it to end; or your mom is yelling at you to come in and eat dinner and you're being a selfish little ass, pleading with her for 10 more minutes; or when the wrist of a waitress you work with brushes up against your forearm, and lingers a second longer then it should have, and you don't want it to stop.
Sorry Mayans, but I just can't let it end yet. Maybe you dudes need a smart phone or a calculator.
Jon Lohne, Brotherhood Board Shop
I met a strange man while on the road earlier this year. What first drew my attention was a very bizarre sound coming from a small boom box that was hanging from a fat gold chain around his neck. I approached him and asked "What you listening to, man? Sounds crazy." He kept bobbing his head, white buglike glasses reflecting the summer sun, and replied, "It's the Karate Kid soundtrack played backwards. If you listen to it over and over it actually reverses time."
He explained that he had been on this program for over a year and was actually getting younger. He then pulled up his shirt exposing an abnormally muscular abdomen that resembled one of those plastic muscle suits you buy at a gag store. I said, "Damn!" The strange man replied, "This is what people are most impressed with. Before I started listening to the Karate Kid soundtrack backwards this was all flab."
So I started thinking to myself, if this could be true, and one could actually reverse time using the reverse Karate Kid soundtrack method, then what better time to use it than now? We could actually turn back the clock and save humanity. This is the moment of truth. I mean, the worst thing that might happen is that the world will end and we'd all die with abnormally muscular abs.
Ellen Skagerberg, Copperfield's Books
When the economy tanked, we couldn't keep our twice-monthly house cleaner. Over the years the house deteriorated, until I was greeting everyone except my sisters on the porch. "Hi, can I bring you a cup of tea? Sit here on the steps, and I'll be right back. It's not that cold, and the tea will really warm you up!"
With only a year to live, our retirement savings have become moot. If I can find someone willing to clean house during their final year (which strikes me as unlikely), I'll hire a spiff cleaning team. I won't be saving anything for heirs or posterity, so the cleaners can have their way with my possessions. The teapot collection will go! The weird dolls will go! Our packets of wedding photos from 1987 will go! The Haruki Murakami first editions will not go, because I'm going to read them, damn it.
When the house is as sparkly clean and vacuous as an MIB My Little Pony, we’re going to invite our guitar and mandolin and flute and fiddler friends over and have some music parties you won’t forget until Dec. 22, 2012 . . .
Kristi Buffo, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts
Chocolate and coffee in bed each morning (cuddled up with that hunky man), a toast to nature from a high vista point by late afternoon (with "Annie" dog sitting next to me), preparing great meals and soaking up amazing music, dance or theater with friends and family each and every night, and a quiet conversation with the Lord of the Dance before resting.
Jonah Raskin, Sonoma State University
I want a room with a view in a hotel on a plaza with a bistro downstairs that's in the Michelin Guide and where I know the headwaiter and the chef and where the menu changes daily. There'll be a library and a librarian, too, with rare books and manuscripts, a heated swimming pool and a mini theater that shows Hollywood classics such as Citizen Kane, The Big Sleep and The Godfather.
In the room with a view, there'll be room for friends, family, ex-students, ex-lovers, fellow writers, artists, and musicians, the ghosts of Jack Kerouac and Walt Whitman. There'll be big, puffy pillows on the floor, paintings on the wall by Bob Hudson, Bill Allen, Bill Wiley, newly cut irises from the garden, sunlight at midday and shadows at dawn and dusk. No more of the shopping, cooking, washing, drying and dusting that I've done since I was a boy with chores all day long. After an espresso and a croissant in the morning, I'll sit at my desk and work until late afternoon on my last book—on Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain—racing against the clock for real this time.
Sitting here now, imagining it, it sounds super-civilized, but I’d make sure that it was as wild as I could make it in a hotel on a plaza with a bistro downstairs and a room with a view. Every night there’d be a party with cocktails and cannabis, a rock ’n’ roll band and free, floppy-form dancing that the gods and the goddesses and men and women have danced since the prehistoric ages. And death? In my sleep, please sir, if you don’t mind.
Buzzy Martin, musician and author of Don’t Shoot! I’m the Guitar Man
If it was my last year to live on Earth, I would put together a band of my great music friends to perform at all of the state prisons and juvenile halls around the country for the incarcerated inmates and at-risk boys and girls. I would take over where Johnny Cash left off. I guess that I would become the new Johnny Cash. Wow—the new voice for the incarcerated inmates around the world. This would be my goal: to travel across the country to meet and share my love of music with all the incarcerated, at-risk youth and adults.
Barry Lazarus, Red Devil Records
I'd close my store and take my wife and kids traveling. But first I'd listen to my favorite records for a week, then sell them and our house, and then off to some of my favorite places: the national parks in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Arizona, Eastern Sierras, Patagonia. And to my dream places: Nepal Himalaya, Turkey, Japan, Yucatan, Cuba, Thailand, Angel Falls, the Deep South, Vanuatu, Arctic Alaska. And spend the last week eating until we're about to burst in Italy, but spending the last day with a picnic on a mountaintop meadow.
Ashley Allred, Odd Bird
The sun is supposed to give off solar flares, and our solar system will pass through the center of the Milky Way, which could have some effect on gravity. Crazy stuff is supposed to happen. However, before it does, I'm gonna ride the waves of absurdity with my closest of friends. We shall dance with the moon and sleep in the backyard, write myriad songs until Odd Bird has as many monsters as Lady Gaga, drink wine instead of coffee on Sunday mornings, walk part of the Appalachian Trail with my dad, fly to Hawaii to mimic a mermaid, try to get more movies like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal made (don't they realize it would be huge?), finally create world peace, live the dream and live in the here and now. My life rules; I'll keep it the same until the cosmos takes me in.
Monica Anderson, Tone: Pilates, Dance and Yoga Studio
I would seek out two junior high art teachers who changed my life, Mr. Moran and Mr. Heinrich, and thank them for their faith in my worth, belief in my unique talents and encouragement to pursue life without fear of criticism. I didn't know it at the time, but they set the groundwork for my teaching career.
There are so many books that I want to read and not enough time, so I would ask my husband, children, grandchildren and friends to highlight and comment in the margins of their three favorite books. I would then have conversations with all of them about these selected excerpts. I would ask questions, for hours if necessary, to gain deeper insights into the people I love.
There are a few places on earth that I need to visit—Africa, India, Spain, Indonesia, Melanesia, the Greek islands, Brazil (to learn to Samba). I do not like to travel alone, so I would ask folks I love to experience the wonderment of these cultures.
In between, I would come home to "work," which includes the joy of encouraging folks to dance, heal and move. I would have one family member or friend record this entire year to help me write my book Clarity and Grace: The Dharma of a Cheerleader. This book would relate my life experiences in context with the practice of yoga—the sustained joy of each individual being in the universe.
Peter Williams, Napa Valley Opera House
Well, since the end is nearer than I thought, I better get going on getting the best possible music and entertainment scheduled into the Opera House. If it's all coming to a halt, we need all the high quality entertainment we can get.
I am not a Napa resident yet, and my wife and I have been working towards getting our house on the market so we can move up here. But now, we better make it sooner than later. Anyone interested in a 3,800 square foot live/work space on three lots in downtown Oakland?
Robert Porter, Science Buzz Cafe
In an earlier incarnation, I was an Egyptian Virgin Warrior Princess, at least until I was found out to be a Pharoah in my day job. Oh, I was soooo busted. In the next life, I was a scarab, but people kept mistaking me for a dung beetle, so that was a very short life. Thus in the next several lives, I chose to be an interesting form of algae, which is when I came to have an interest in science. But since 2012 is upon us, I expect this to be my last incarnation, so I plan to vote for Sarah Palin and prepare myself to be some sort of pope on another planet. I think I will look a lot like Tina Fey if we wind up on Jupiter—you know how gravity is. Wave to me!
Tim O'Reilly, O'Reilly Media
I haven't given it a moment's thought. I will say, though, that anyone who isn't living as though the world might end tomorrow has forgotten one of life's key lessons. None of us has been promised tomorrow, so make each day be something you'd be proud to have as your last day.