The Right Opinion

Those Pesky Mayans

By Rich Galen · Dec. 12, 2012

I've got nothing for today. DO NOT READ THIS.

If you've been awake for anything more than 13 minutes, some toothy, giggly anchor dressed in a sleeveless dress on your local news channel has already told you that today is 12-12-12 and he then added that the next time there can be three numbers the same in a date will be January 1, 2101.

Of course, there won't BE an 01-01-01 because why? Because the end of days is 12-21-12 which is almost a palindrome.

More to the point, it is also my 66th birthday.

Why is that meaningful? Because under current law (and until the Congress and the President screw things up again) at age 66 an American who has worked and toiled lo these many years qualifies for full Social Security.

Sixty-six, in Social Security Speak is Full Retirement Age. F…R…A. That means I can get as much in Social Security payments per month as I've earned over the past 45 years and not have to give any back because I'm still working.

I know. If I'm still working, why take the money?

Good question. Good answer? Because I can.

I am the walking, talking, embodiment of the fiscal cliff. I and I alone am responsible for the $16 trillion national debt. If I just delayed taking my Social Security for a year or two the debt would evaporate like spilled lemonade on the back deck on July Fourth.

However, the Mayans have determined there will be no December 22, 2012, so all that is moot.

They knew, thousands of years ago, that I would never collect a dime of Social Security.

Here's what I don't know. I don't know who the Mayans are. Or were. I know they lived somewhere around Albuquerque (or maybe it was Scottsdale) and I know they are gone now, but … that's about it.

Oh. I looked it up. Guatemala is where they were from and they hit their peak about 1,500 years ago. Then they disappeared.

According to

From the late eighth through the end of the ninth century, something unknown happened to shake the Maya civilization to its foundations. One by one, the Classic cities in the southern lowlands were abandoned, and by A.D. 900, Maya civilization in that region had collapsed.

So, about this End of Days thing. According to that 21st century Oracle, Wikipedia:

The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on 21 December 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar.

Some scholars believe that the Mesoamerican Long Count was designed to try and pull the Incans off sides, but that is a minority view.

NASA has a whole page devoted to explaining why the world will not end on 12-21-12. But, NASA has a vested interest in keeping the world going, if only to see how far the Voyagers I & II can go and keep sending back signals.

I don't really think the world is going to end on the 21st. But just in case, the question I Tweeted yesterday was:

Does the world end at 12:01 AM or 11:59 PM on December 21. I need to know because I have a lunch scheduled and I'm not sure whether to cancel it.

Happy Mesoamerican Long Count.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to the Mayan history page and to the NASA the-world-is-not-coming-to-an-end page.

Also a Mullfoto of a very cute infant's tee shirt from NPR.

Copyright ©2012 Barrington Worldwide, LLC |


rab in jo,mo said:

Full retirement age is 66 for you. For me, it's 67, which is 20 years off yet. Since the SS system will likely collapse by then if not completely revamped, it is unlikely I'll see a dime.

I have long advocated an "opt-out" system where the ~15% combined FICA tax paid by employer and employee is instead transferred to a private retirement account (IRA, 401k, etc.). I could only imagine the value of my 401k if contributions were made at this rate for the past 27 years of my working career. Yes, there's risk, but certainly safer than letting DC politicians rob the funds.
Enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM

richard ryan in Lamar,Missouri replied:

rab, I`m not so sure a 401 is a good idea. I am now hearing rumbling that the govt is considering forcing everyone to roll their 401`s into government bonds so that they can steal your 401 funds just as they have our SS funds. When it comes to the feds, nothing is sacred or safe.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 1:10 PM

richard ryan in Lamar,Missouri said:

Rich, I am of the belief that the Mayan calendar ends on that particular date because the rock they carving on ran out of space. I could be mistaken of course.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Patrick in Houston said:

The mystery is solved. The Mayans disappeared as one-by-one the cities of the south elected Democrats into a majority (think Detroit and California).

As far as the Mayan calendar is concerned, it would have to happen at the stroke of midnight at the international date line. That would be the only instant at which it is 12-21-12 across the entire world.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Tod in Brooklyn, NY said:

Bravo-Patrick. The Mayans were pagan and had as many idols, as Smelly rats have taxes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 7:05 PM

JR in Mountain Grove said:

According to the History Channel, the Mayan "empire" included a great deal of the Eucantan Penisula, including parts of Mexico. The people spoke 70 different languages and tribes were at war with each other. They practiced human sacrifice.

It's probable that you can safely keep your lunch date. Oh wait a minute, might not be safe, should you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's safe to say that the world will end for some on 21 December, 2012. It's also safe to say that if the world does end on that date,it can't go down in history, Mayan's or elsewhere.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 5:50 AM