Alternate Endings to 2012

If the world had ended this year, it might have gone something like this. 

Years come and go. People make choices, and those choices affect the outcome of events, big and small. We elect presidents, start and end wars, discontinue lines of snack foods, build new bridges (figuratively and literally) and let others burn down. While many of us try to influence certain trends, there’s only so much we can do as individuals, or even in large groups. Hindsight often makes the course of events seem inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun with recent history, and the future yet to come. Here’s a look at a few things that could have been, but weren’t, and a few things that might be someday.

1. A Herman Cain Presidency

The man came close … for a few minutes, at least. What if this presidential hopeful had clinched the Republican nomination, and then went on to win the White House? The national dish would have become pizza (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day), the national number would have become nine (based on his 9-9-9 tax plan), and we would probably be invading Iran, or possibly Ireland or Iceland momentarily—well, one of those ‘I’ countries, anyway. We’ve got a ton of missiles sitting around, collecting dust. Cain would have had to send them somewhere.

2. The Mayan Apocalypse

Yeah, yeah, we’re all still around, but what if we weren’t? Imagine if the Mayan prophecy of gloom and doom had come true? This is one of my favorite ‘could have been, but wasn’t’ scenarios—not because I wish suffering upon my fellow man—it’s simply because I’m lazy. I have a lot of things to do these days, and part of me is always looking for an out. Any out will do. I’d even settle for a Mad Max hunter-gatherer style of wasteland-wandering existence, which seems to be the standard, post-apocalyptic world motif. I could finally put my leather jacket and motorcycle pants (circa 1999) to good use. Maybe my old football helmet too … .

3. Electric Skateboards for Everyone

Although I’m not a big believer in prayer, I hope and pray this comes true. I caught wind of these boards a few months ago, via the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. Some ingenious engineers in Palo Alto are building high-powered, high-tech hill-climbing electric longboards to help folks out during the last mile or two of their commute. I can’t wait until businessmen, hipsters and grannies alike are zooming around on their space-age skateboards. It’ll be good for the environment, as well as a joy to see and do, although emergency rooms will probably see an uptick in scrapes, bruises and broken bones.

4. The Honey Boo Boo School for Advanced Learning

Say what you want about Honey Boo Boo (Alana Thompson) and her ‘Redneck’ reality show—the girl knows what’s expected of her, and she delivers—to the tune of $20,000 or so per episode. Even though she’s paid to exemplify some of the worst Southern stereotypes out there, you can tell she’s a pretty sharp cookie beneath all her shtick. I’d love it if one day she tells her parents and producers, “Screw all ya all. I’m gonna start reading books now.” After that, she joins Mensa, graduates top of her class, attends Harvard Business School, starts a couponing-based empire and then opens up her own school for advanced learning. Yes, it might be an improbable fantasy, but still, I believe in the power of Honey Boo Boo. The American dream isn’t dead yet.

5. The United States of Amsterdam

Washington State, where I happen to hail from, legalized same sex marriage and the recreational use of marijuana recently—by referendum. While the two ballot issues aren’t necessarily related, they do show a trend of liberal thought growing within the nation. Ironically, Holland has toyed with the idea of tightening controls on cannabis-selling coffee shops (although the new regulations probably won’t stick), while quite a few traditionally liberal European countries are now sliding toward conservatism (largely based on anti-immigration sentiments). Soon Dutch and French parents will be warning their kids to exercise caution when they travel to that den of pot smoking, left leaning excess, also known as The United States of America.

6. Bye Bye Texas

Some folks in Texas want to secede. They started a petition, which received a groundswell of support for a while, but has since fallen off the news headlines. My guess is that most Texans, apart from a few hardcore right-wingers, have no desire to strike out on their own as a nation, but if they had, the bragging rights for ‘bigger’ and ‘biggest’ would have been up for grabs. Everything is bigger in … Vermont? That just doesn’t sound right. Texas-sized sounds right. I’m glad the Lone Star State decided to stay. I love Tex-Mex, and now I can keep on watching Austin City Limits on the very American PBS.

7. Abu Nazir Has A Twin Brother

I’m absolutely positive Abu Nazir, the infamous terrorist, has a twin brother, maybe named Donald. Donald Nazir, who is 10 times worse than Abu, is out to destroy America through fear, murder, financial manipulation and a host of sneaky plans that only a few select CIA agents can hope to thwart. It doesn’t matter that Abu Nazir is a fictional character on Showtime’s hit series “Homeland”—I’m still losing sleep over this. Donald, or whatever his name is, is out there, preparing for an attack. Thank God for Carrie Mathison. She’ll save us all, as long as she remembers to take her Clozapine, and she doesn’t fall in love with the bad guy again. The latter was a really dumb move, but I’ll forgive her, as long as she comes to our rescue in the end.


Read more of Carl Pettit’s weekly column, Root Down, on The Good Life.

Image credit: brunosan/Flickr

About Carl Pettit

Carl Pettit is a writer, illustrator and musician whose education and travels have taken him all over the world. When not out exploring, or pondering the universe, he finds time to produce fiction for both adults and children. You can catch up with him on his blog, or twitter.

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