A Field Guide to the End of the World

Full Creds to the creative & redemptively cynical writers at Relevant Magazine, issue 55. Original article HERE

If we learned anything from the film 2012 (and there are many things we learned, like “John Cusack no longer makes good movies”), it’s that the world will end this year. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help. The following is a step-by-step guide (in full-on, choose-your-own-adventure style) for making it through the apocalypse alive and/or with your soul intact.

Did the Kingdom of Heaven come down to Earth, making all things new and God is now on the throne? If so, go to 01.

Have millions of people simply disappeared? If so, go to 02.

Is Woody Harrelson driving by in an RV? If so, go to 03.

Has the last bit of time been marked by a worldwide turn to Christian ethics? If so, go to 04.

Has there been a rash of smart monkeys lately? If so, go to 05.

Have you seen anything on the news about “patient zero” and/or Gwyneth Paltrow dying of a mysterious disease after a trip to Macau? If so, go to 06.

The amillennialists were right! The world has been renewed and everything is perfect. Enjoy eternity! The End.
Are you a Christian? If yes, go to 14. If no, go to 15.
You are likely living in a real-life version of 2012. Meaning, the Mayans were right. Are you extremely wealthy? To the point where you can afford to spend approximately $1.25 billion to be rescued from the coming weather-related apocalypse? If yes, go to 7. If no, go to 13.
You may be living in a postmillennial society. But it’s likely a temporary lull. Has the world grown so peaceful that there is no longer a demand for 24-hour cable news channels? If yes, go to 37. If no, go to 38.
Who have humans turned to for help fending off the increasingly hostile army of smart monkeys? If James Franco, go to 24. If Jane Goodall, go to 25. If “Bubbles” (Michael Jackson’s beloved pet chimp), go to 26.
Did you wake up in a strange hospital and go outside, only to find yourself wandering the eerily bare streets of London while a foreboding Godspeed You! Black Emperor song plays in your head? If so, go to 29. If no, go to 30.
Good news! You can afford to join the rest of super-rich humanity on the arks they’re building in the Himalayas. Has it started raining/tsunami-ing yet? If so, go to 11. If not, go to 12.
Congrats! You’re on a boat filled with really rich people and cultural artifacts. You’ll now spend the rest of your life with a bunch of people who bought their lives, meaning you will probably be killed during an argument over the last can of Coke ever. The End.
You paid a whole bunch of money and ended up on a boat, but now the boat isn’t a safety net. Go to 13.
Did that happen seven years ago? If yes, go to 17. If no, go to 4.
Hurry! They’re shutting the doors to the arks and all the open spots will soon be taken by gangsters and/or John Cusack’s loved ones. If you make it in, go to 12. If the doors are already closed, go to 13.
Check the door mechanism on your boat. Is it working? If yes, go to 8. If no, go to 9.
You’re going to die in a flood/tornado/earthquake/when Los Angeles falls into the ocean. Sorry. The End.
OK, you’re not really a Christian. But you’ve got seven years to become one. Get on that. Do you own a copy of the Left Behind series? If yes, then go to 18. If no, go to 19.
This means you’re living in a premillennial, pre-, mid- or post-Tribulation rapture apocalypse. Don’t panic—we’re here to help. Is #IsraelPalestinePeace a trending topic? And did a handsome, charismatic young politician from Eastern Europe just become the first person to surpass 1 billion followers on Twitter? If yes, go to 16. If no, go to 10.
You’re at the very beginning of the Tribulation. This means you’ve either got three-and-a-half or seven years left to become a Christian before Christ’s pre-Armageddon 1,000-year reign. So do that first. Now, do you own any guns, canned food and a bomb shelter? If yes, go to 20. If no, go to 21.
You may be experiencing a post-Trib rapture, which basically means you survived a horrible stretch of the Earth’s history and a wonderful 1,000 years of peace will start soon. Congrats! But it also means if you weren’t raptured, you’re still not saved. So go find an “In Case of the Rapture” videotape. The End.
Left Behind will serve as your guide (in fact, in your immediate future, it will be known as “The Guide”). Make sure you study everything very carefully. Important: Have you received the mark of the beast? If yes, go to 35. If no, go to 36.
Is the expiration date of the food at least seven years away, and is there enough of it to feed a remnant of people calling themselves the Rapture Brigade? If yes, go to 23. If no, go to 22.
This is very important. You must get a copy of these books because they have just turned out to be (mostly) nonfiction. Every used bookstore in the world will have at least 20 copies of each book. Then go to 18.

Get those things. If you can, go to 23. If you can’t, go to 22.
You’re probably going to be killed by roving bands of Tribulation militias. Or you’ll be killed by a guillotine. Either way, your next few years are going to be rough. Silver lining: It’s not going to last forever, and when you’re killed you go straight to heaven (as long as you follow the rules and become a Christian, of course). The End.
OK, good. You’re all set for the next few years. Do you own a copy of the Left Behind books? If yes, go to 18. If no, go to 19.
James Franco will act like he knows what he’s doing and like he’s got all these plans and he’s smart enough to realize how ridiculous a premise it is before signing up for it. But he is, in fact, lying. So the apes will win, and you can look forward to a lifetime of indentured servitude to a family of orangutans. The End.
Has Jane Goodall betrayed humanity? If yes, go to 27. If no, go to 28.
You’re going to be fine. Bubbles will solve everything. Enjoy the world as he unites humanity with the apes to create a paradise of amusement parks and cotton candy stalls. The End.
Goodall has ensured humanity will live in a slightly deferential harmony with the apes. Your life won’t change much, but all three branches of the government will only consist of primates. The End.
She will, but for rational reasons. Go to 27.
The world has been taken over by zombies. Is there any social infrastructure left? If yes, go to 31. If no, go to 32.
It may just be an abnormally calm morning in London. Keep calm and carry on. The End.
Is the military helping people, or trying to cover up the fact they released the initial illness? If they’re helping, go to 33. If they’re covering things up, go to 34.
You’re living in the bleak world of The Walking Dead. This means everyone who is still alive will slowly grow to resent each other for still being alive and you will be very, very sad all the time. The End.
Get some weapons, lots of non-perishable foods and find a safe place to hide, preferably underground with one entrance/exit. Leave a sign outside saying, “Hey, military, I’m down here” because zombies can’t read. Wait it out as long as you can, and don’t get bit. If you have enough food, you’re going to survive. Congratulations! The End.
Don’t trust anyone you don’t know, except Viggo Mortenson and his little son, especially if they are making their way to the coast. You can also trust Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, but only if they are driving a yellow Hummer and cracking jokes. Gather guns, ammo, food and a vehicle. Make your way to an island nation, and hope you can rid the island of zombies and reestablish society. The End.

Oops. Um ... is there an underground tattoo removal doctor nearby? If yes, go get the mark removed and then go to 36. If no, The End. :(

You’re good. Just do not get the mark of the beast. Instead, become a Christian and look for the “cross” sign on the foreheads of other believers (no one but believers will be able to see it). Band together with fellow Christians, try to convert those who have yet to get the mark and don’t be tempted by leggy stewardesses named “Hattie.” The End.

Breathe a sigh of relief. Everything is going to be great, and then after a-time-that’s-probably-around-1,000-years-but-not-a-literal-1,000-years, Jesus will come back. The End.

The momentary lull is because there’s a one-world government, and the leader of said government just signed a seven-year peace treaty with Israel. Go to 16.


Trying to figure out who “the Man of Lawlessness” could be? Use these point values to figure it out:

Has a deceivingly charming way with babies (+5 points)

Authored the book It Takes a (One-World Government) Village (+20)

Owns a dominant share in OWN stock (+15)

Solved Europe’s debt problems (+10)

Daily practices a pig ride through a reproduction of the Hebrew temple (+3,455)

Makes staff address him as “Supreme Potentate” (+20)

Tasks Dr. Phil with the creation of a new, unifying global religion (+90)

Was born on June 6, 1966 (+15)

Went from being a no-name to Time’s Person of the Year in less than six months (+60)

Is named “Nicolae Carpathia” (+1,000,000)

Killed two annoyingly preachy terrorists live on television and was globally praised for it (+200)

Brings Steve Jobs back from the dead, renames him “Stefan,” debuts new iGod device (+100)

Is orchestrating a peace treaty with Israel while muttering, “You’ll get yours” under his breath during the negotiations (+20)

Has dogs named Gog and Magog (+30)

Has ferrets named Gog and Magog (+150)

Appoints Anderson Cooper as his press secretary (+25)

Masterminds a new alliance of the world’s 10 largest superpowers called 10H (10 Horns) (+80)