When the world ends, there will be cannibals. There will be sepia tones. The Statue of Liberty’s mammoth head will go thundering through the streets, after being dislodged from her body by a big tidal wave, or perhaps a fiery rain of asteroids. You will be safe, providing you have not just made a declaration of eternal devotion, such as “I will never leave you,” in which case you’re probably toast.
Thank God for the movies. Without them, we would never know the proper way to behave at the end of the world.
“The Road,” depicting a father and son’s hopeless trudge through a post-apocalyptic world, opened on Wednesday. It followed “2012,” depicting a father and kids’ frantic race through a near-apocalyptic world, in accordance with alleged ancient prophecy. Lucky for you, you don’t need a Mayan calendar to guide you through Armageddon. When the end comes, just get your advice from Hollywood.
• STEP 1: Move to Topeka
To increase your odds of surviving the end of the world, it is advisable to move to Kansas, Nebraska or Iowa. This is because the world will not end in the Midwest. It will end only in major coastal cities that contain recognizable landmarks, which the storm/asteroids/aliens will destroy for maximum cultural poignancy.
Notable exception to flyover-state rule: South Dakota, though technically a part of the Midwest, is not recommended for relocation, as Mount Rushmore makes the entire state vulnerable to the end of the world.
• STEP 2: Buy a tuxedo
Though the United States government employs hundreds of geologists, astronomers and other scientists, none of them will realize that the end of the world is coming. Only a dingbat living in a trailer crunching numbers on a Casio calculator will realize that the end is near. But when he attempts to burst into the White House to warn the president, he is turned away because he is wearing an old T-shirt. This wastes precious hours. To speed up the saving of the human race, all dingbats should invest in formalwear.
• STEP 3: Acquire a Y chromosome
Unfortunately, there are no women at the end of the world. There are men, there are children and there are helpless damsels who beg to be rescued. But there are no women. Sorry, women.
• STEP 4: Avoid cannibalism
Sure, this advice seems easy enough to follow, but when the end of the world comes, people are going to immediately start eating people. They may have just finished a big turkey dinner, but they’ll still start gnawing on somebody’s ankle, because it’s the end of the world.
Look, don’t eat other people. The end of the world will have a sense of karma and the people who do that type of junk usually get theirs in the end. If you want to stay alive, familiarize yourself with edible plants.
• STEP 5: Ignore the president
At some point near the end of the world, the president (probably Morgan Freeman) will decide to address the nation via television. This will happen at a peak moment of destruction, like when the streets are being flooded with ice water and Statue of Liberty heads. Everyone will patiently pause, find a flatscreen in a shop window and tearily watch as the president talks about how the human race must go on.
These people are suckers. If you want the human race to go on, you need to stop listening to the president wax nostalgic, and buddy, you need to run. If you’re alive later, you can always catch that inspiration on TiVo.