Twice I have been in schools on the day before a Doomsday prediction. The first one, a few years ago, was an elementary school. All of my friends were joking about the forthcoming end of the world that weekend. It was hard to imagine anyone taking it seriously. Then, in the hallway, between my 5th grade classes, a student asked a very serious question about what he felt sure was the end of the world. I did my best to both take his concerns seriously and to reassure him that that Friday would most likely not be the last we would see of each other. As it turned out, I was right (as I suspected) and I was furious at the Doomsdayers who created such tremendous anxiety in a little kid.
Then this past December, I met a middle school kid for the first time. I was there to get him (and his classmates) ready to go to the theatre to see a show the following day. He, very morosely, said he would not be there. I asked him why. He said none of us would be, as Doomsday was scheduled for that evening. I suggested he enjoy the workshop, just in case we all survived, which, as it turned out, we did. But the day of the show, the Doomsday kid wasn’t there. I worried about him. I wondered if, in the absence of a worldwide Doomsday, he might have created one of his own.