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Learn some of life's lessons in case world ends today

Oct. 26, 2000

The world is probably going to end. Really. And I don't mean that in the 'repent because you'll die someday' way, either. The world is going to end, specifically today. At least, that's what I learned from a press release I found in my box last month.

According to the Joint Research of Alternate Mondial Occurrences and Astralplanology Research Institute in Los Angeles, 'Preliminary data revealed at this week's International Science Summit suggests that events happening in the newly discovered parallel universe could negatively impact Earth. Researchers believe that the moon has broken out of its orbital path and is moving toward the parallel earth at a speed of 155.505 mph.'

Not being an astronomer myself, I hesitate to make any broad assumptions from all that technical jargon, but I would venture to say that we will probably all die horribly at some point in the near future. Luckily, the report doesn't leave us in doubt: 'The lunar mass will strike the parallel Earth on Oct. 26, 2000.'

I'm not making this up. And unless the JRAMOA Research Institute is just some quacked up neo-scientific moon-death cult itching for attention and press coverage from naïve college reporters, then we're pretty much doomed.

But don't panic. Mass hysteria has never solved anything ... although it would make it easier for the rest of us to loot your stuff once you've fled the city ... but the best thing to do is probably to do nothing. As the dinosaurs have showed us, you just can't escape death by moon-collision (no

comments from paleontology majors, please).

In an attempt to bring comfort to the troubled masses, however, I will impart just a few of the lessons I've learned in my own life, so that the multitudes may die wise and enlightened.

The first lesson would probably best be conveyed through an anecdote: Last weekend, not knowing that the existence of life was winding to a close, a few friends and I took a spur-of-the-moment road trip to Mexico. At 2 a.m. on Saturday, after seven hours of driving, we pulled in to a Motel 6 on South Padre Island, just a few miles from the border. After inquiring about a room to the night-shift manager, we learned something disturbing: a convention of South Texas bikers had taken over the island, successfully booking every room from Brownsville to Harlingen. We went to six other hotels that night and heard the same thing: 'We have no rooms here,' they would tell us. It felt like a made-for-TV movie or a modern nativity, except without the Jesus and on an island. Clearly, the lesson to be learned is when planning for an international, spur-of-the-moment road trip, always book your hotel room at least two weeks in advance to avoid the biker conventions. Eventually, though, we got a condo, so it was OK.

The next day, I began to notice that there were people who actually lived and worked on the island year-round. I further began to notice that sometimes they would get shifty looks in their eyes, and I began to wonder if they ever got annoyed at the perpetual stream of bikers and college students that filtered in and out of their world like governments in Serbia. The lesson I learned from this? No matter how much you support their tourist economy, always be wary because you never know when the locals might decide to kill you.

And the third lesson isn't so much a lesson as it is an appeal. Halloween is coming up, and if we make it to Halloween weekend then it means that life as we know it hasn't ended and I've alarmed you for nothing. And for that I'm sorry ... but take it as a reason to celebrate and -- please hear this -- wear a costume. Halloween is more than just a career jumpstart for Jamie Lee Curtis, it's a time-honored holiday invented by our forefathers so that college students could wear costumes and act all crazy-like. In fact, the more creative the better. If I walk through campus this Halloween without seeing a single Yasser-Arafat-meets-Las-Vegas-Showgirl, I'll be very disappointed.

So, plan ahead, keep an eye on the locals and never think that you're too old for costumes.

(Nat Nealeigh is a sophomore journalism major from Brownwood.)