This holiday season we are presented with a mixed blessing – a conundrum of sorts, if you will.

The good news is that if I wait until the last minute, as most men do, to do my Christmas shopping, it may not matter. I won’t have to worry about it for the same reason I’m not doing any Christmas shopping this year.

That’s the bad news part of the equation. Yes, that’s right. It’s that darned Mayan calendar. Or actually, the lack of a Mayan calendar.

For those who don’t know about the calender and the resulting mayhem from its ending because you have been living under a rock for the past 40 years with no human contact whatsoever, it goes something like this: According to many leading Mayan scholars and their popular interpretation of that work which dates from antiquity to present, this world will end Dec. 21, 2012, because that calender does.

For the chronologically challenged, that’s just a couple of weeks away.

So why go to all that fuss and bother that usually precedes Christmas if we’re all going to be an integral part of the “Great Mystery” by then?

Despite the rantings of the popular press, there is an alternative to the Mayan “doomsday” viewpoint. That one explains that on Dec. 21 the Mayan’s 1,872,000-day “long count” calendar is set to roll over and start again, similar to how the Gregorian calender does every 1,000 years.

It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. Remember Y2K? Or Harold Camping and May 21, 2011? Or even, for history buffs, Preacher William Miller and the end of the world and the rapture on March 21, 1844?

(By the way, what is it about the number 21 involved in all these bogus predictions?)

Then again this old world has come to an abrupt ending for those resident life forms eking out an existence on its murky surface several times during its lengthy and checkered past. Scientists claim that around 250 million years ago a massive volcanic explosion in Siberia triggered an apocalypse that eliminated 80 percent of all existing animal species and plant life forms, due to the content of that volcanic Siberian rock being over-loaded with carbon. That explosion triggered a global warming resulting from doubled CO2 levels.

Just about the time we were off and running again, a collision with a large asteroid 65 million years ago vaporized the mother lode of all sulfur rich rock, resulting in an extended global monsoon of acid rain and a long period of global cooling.

Barring the eventual collision with another planet-sized chunk of free floating space rock at some time in the future, a definite possibility exists that we still could eventually pass through a cosmic cloud of space debris that could block out the sun for possibly as long as 200,000 years.

That’s a long time to have to wear your long johns.

Look at it this way. This universe of ours is a tough neighborhood and maybe we’re lucky to have lasted as long as we have.

In the unlikely event that we forestall a Zombie apocalypse – which all the bogyman shows say is just around the corner – in a few hundred thousand years one of our star neighbors (only 8,500 light years away and known as WR-104) will explode, releasing a radiation fire storm that will destroy earth’s ozone layer and fry your sunglasses to your face.

And given all that, you wonder why most men wait until the last day or two to shop?

It’s not that we’re cheap. We’re just trying to save a bit of money by not spending unnecessarily.

It’s a guy thing.

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