My five cognitive test words are: Covid, Wasp, Tree, Earthquake, Apocalypse

Perhaps my favorite thing to come out of 2020 is Apocalypse Bingo. The “holy shit, I didn’t have flying Godzilla-sized centipedes with laser destructor beams coming out of their eyes on my 2020 Bingo card … but here they are!”

Entering into 2020, it was enough crazy to be entering three plus years at the train wreck of a wedding emceed by a demented, obstreperous child sitting on the throne of America’s ballroom, whipping up lies, turmoil and racism with the taps of his thumbs, but then MC Covid 19 dropped a beat that cleared the goddamn dance floor.

We thought things couldn’t get much worse. Right. But reports of nutbaggery and unthinkable and unimaginable events continue to plague the plague.

We saw Axl Rose pwn the treasury secretary. We saw the NY health department tell people to stop eating ass to help stop the spread of Covid. Or this one:

Did anyone have ‘Mitt Romney endorsing Universal Basic Income six weeks after voting to convict Donald Trump‘ on their 2020 bingo card?

To our Bingo card, Tina and I added these exciting boxes:

• “Sell your condo in less than two days for several thousand over asking.”
• Move into apartment in Logan Square that is one of the greatest spaces of our time in Chicago.
• Watch as friends swear to unfounded conspiracy theories that break 40 year old relationships.

But then it’s compounded by other events throughout the world. Things like:
• Hear our city turn to riots and protest over the incessant murders of black men all over our country.
• Watch as conservatives point the finger at “Far leftist liberals” and liberals point the finger at right wing instigators.
• The president of the most conservative college in the country posted obscene pictures of himself on his yacht (his YACHT!!!) with his pants unzipped, one arm around a woman who wasn’t his wife and the other with a drink in his hand …
• And then last night, Chicago erupted into a nightmare of looting that can only further distort and extend the divide between so called Republicans and so called Democrats.

But our card got X’d with a few dandy personal attacks that could have come from no one other than the creator of the universe. I swear, God has been calling and I keep hitting the spam button on my phone.

Since we arrived in North Carolina — God’s country as it’s known by some — Tina tested positive for Covid; a wasp stung me and I spent four hours in the ER with an acute allergic reaction that I’m still getting through; a HUGE tree fell in our yard missing our house but damaging our beautiful landscaping and is a beast to clean up.

And yesterday morning, we were sitting in bed with a cup of coffee when a sound came from the basement like the wheels were turning in our air conditioner, but it was clanking and sputtering, agonizing to turn on and I thought for a brief moment it was breaking down. But then the duct work started banging against the floorboards. The bed was shaking. The walls appeared to be jello. We could see the deck swaying out the window, and it all wrapped up with what sounded like the pipe that goes from the oven range’s hood to the roof was banging inside the metal shell.

I had to yell at Tina to get her out of shock. “We gotta get out of the house!” I yelled. We went out front just to make sure the house wasn’t going to crumble and we’d be in it.

We clearly had an earthquake. The largest in decades.

I swiped up on my phone, tapped phone, tapped favorites, then tapped my dad’s name.

He picked up. “Well, good morning!”

“Dad! We just had an earthquake! Did you feel anything?”

He hadn’t but my mom said she had.

We talked for a bit. First Covid. Then wasps. Then trees falling. Now an earthquake. It’s the formula for the apocalypse that I was Pavloved to think. It’s so engrained in my head that before I even picked up the phone to call my dad, a voice said, “This is the end times.”

And then it ushered forth from his lips, as if on cue, “There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences …”

Luke 21.

Jesus predicted this stuff would happen. He had 2020 in his mind 2,000 years ago. When he talked to his disciples, warning them of what was to come.

Mind you, he said this generation would not pass before the end would arrive.

And mind you that many scholars admit these verses were likely written long after the time of Jesus as a hindsight version of Jerusalem getting sacked by Rome in 70 ad. And looking back, it felt like a prophecy.

And mind you we live in a world where there aren’t more earthquakes, pestilences, and famines, we simply have a quicker way of propagating the news and much better technologies for tracking them and telling more people about them.

And mind you nary a peep from the heavens validating this apocalypse of doom or of redemption.

So here we sit. Gravity holding us on a rock hurtling through space, in a dark corner of a seemingly infinite universe dwarfed by time and magnanimity … we’re the only spec of blue that an enormously invisible being cares about enough to “save.”

Not his word, nor those who repeat them, can ever truly know.

So we have to side with those who don’t know as other people who don’t know.





In English. In French. In Russian. In German. In Spanish. In Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, or in whatever language the debate can rage.

This game of Bingo doesn’t point toward a pulpit, or the cross behind it, but damn, it’s making a deliberate and strong case.

Tina and I are just carpet baggers, trying to make a buck in the south with this damn investment, and here are all the signs pointing toward forcing these two damn yankees to pack up the truck and get the fuck out of dodge.

Nah, let’s keep playing and see what craziness is yet to emerge!

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