50 things to do before the end of the world

So the ancient Mayan calendar is going to end. Stands to reason the apocalypse can't be far behind. Here's how to pass the time.

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Artist's impression of how the world will end on December 21, 2012

Artist's impression of how the world will end on December 21, 2012


Hold your loved ones close—the Mayans have predicted the catastrophic end of the world by using a long-count calendar that ends on December 21, 2012. Damn you, Mayans! Sadly, those killjoy boffins at NASA have ruled out any kind of extinction-level event with the clearheaded article Beyond 2012: Why the world won't end. Thanks, eggheads. Still, we can dream of a scenario where we are loosed from the social and moral strictures that guide our behavior, and act without regard for the ramifications. So, in light of this ridiculous nonevent, we present an appropriately silly checklist.

1. Figure out which species of disembodied animal head should destroy our world.

2. Start freaking out at the thought of being swallowed alive by a pug. Not so cute now, eh?

3. Really freak out. Start brainstorming the best ways to quickly eliminate the pug population. We cannot go out like that.

4. Pull yourself together. It's more likely to be a cat anyhow, and the feline population is too wily to beat.

5. Feed salmon to the cat in your building. Maybe his gargantuan, world-destroying brethren will look kindly on you and take you on their intergalactic rampage.

6. Focus. There's no time for daydreaming. The clock is ticking. Well, it's always ticking, unless it's broken, but you know what we mean.

7. Call your loved ones.

8. Tell them that you love them. Not enough to spend your last remaining day with them, obviously.

9. In fact, tell them all the things they do that infuriate you. It's better they go out knowing the truth.

10. Ask them to stop crying.

11. Tell them you didn't mean it, and you'll come see them tomorrow and make it up to them (suckers!).

12. Hit on the idea of leaving this reality as the most-liked person in it. Call every friend and agree to do that favor they asked of you—helping them move, looking after their homicidal cat, doing that unspeakable thing to them with the thing—tomorrow (suckers!).

13. Listen to "It's the End of the World As We Know It" by R.E.M. Yeah, you're really getting into this whole jaunty, impending-death vibe now.

14. Curse the fact that the chorus, and only the chorus, is now playing on loop in your brain.

15. Pray the end of the world comes quickly, so you can get this damn tune out of your head.

16. Pull yourself together. Walk into a store—any store will do—and let the relentless aural assualt of holiday music wrestle "It's the End of the World As We Know It" from your subconscious, replacing it with a Christmas song.

17. Pray the end of the world comes quickly, so you can get this damn tune out of your head.

18. Kiss a cop. Right out of the blue, just walk up and lock lips. Hold that kiss.

19. Panic as you feel the cop reach for his or her piece.

20. Feel a wave of relief as the cop's hand moves past his or her gun and clasps your hair. The cop is pulling you in, and kissing you harder now. Damn, this worked out even better than we imagined.

21. Finish the kiss. Smile. Walk away. Congratulations, you are a perfect stranger.

22. Frolic. You don't make enough time for that anyway. Dedicate a whole hour to having a good frolic.

23. Stop frolicking after a couple of minutes—it's too exhausting.

24. Curse yourself for not hitting the gym every day like you promised yourself you would after that hot gym rep talked you into dropping some Benjies on membership.

25. Resolve to hit the gym tomorrow.

26. Ha! Tomorrow.

27. Have a moment of epiphany—why worry about the money? All things are transitory.

28. Give away your money. A drop box has been set up for you by the service elevators in Time Out's office building. Unmarked notes, please.

29. Before you cash out, though, have a last meal.

30. Ponder what that last meal should be.

31. Browse our slide show of New York's 100 best dishes and drinks. Don't rush your decision. Click through every single slide at least five times.

32. Realize you're famished; hunger is clouding your judgment.

33. Decide to search out a snack so that you can make a well-reasoned decision.

34. Decide to find a Twinkie. They're ending, you're ending—the symmetry is perfect.

35. Hit up your bodega for a Twinkie. There are no Twinkies.

36. Search the city for just one goddamned Twinkie.

37. Find nothing, end up eating a dollar slice as your last meal.

38. Lose it with the Mayans. This is their doing, reducing you to a dollar slice.

39. Storm into the Met on the hunt for some Mayan items to trash. They must have something.

40. Stumble into the Temple of Dendur. Something about it soothes you. Everything's going to be okay.

41. Walk out of the Met, crumple with an overwhelming sense of panic about your impending doom.

42. Realize the only way out is to reverse time. Start to work out how many pigeons strapped to a shopping cart you'd need to gain enough speed and altitude to spin the earth, and time, backward, as in the first Superman movie.

43. Decide time's a-wastin' working this out. Start chasing pigeons on the steps of the Met.

44. Really, really hope No. 45 on this list is to chase pigeons on the steps of the Met like a crazy person.

45. It isn't.

46. Wonder why you're following this list to the letter in the first place. It's this kind of impressionable personality that has stopped you from achieving your dreams.

47. Blame us for everything.

48. Feel better.

49. Take a deep breath. That was an emotional ride, but you've come through it all the stronger.

50. Face your destiny with dignity.

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