If you’re reading this post, I have bad news for you. It means you did not get cosmically picked up by God in last weekend’s grand Rapture event. But don’t despair. There still is plenty of time to become a true believer. In case you missed the Rapture because you were glued to the Real Housewives of New Jersey marathon on E! TV all last weekend, you missed the news that last Saturday, May 21, 2011 was the official date of the Rapture, according to Biblical scholar and Christian Radio broadcaster, Harold Camping.

The Main Event – known by many as the Raptapalooza – took place this past Saturday at precisely 9pm Eastern Time (check your local listings for the time in your area). According to Christian Scripture, the Rapture – also known as Judgment Day – is the Must-See End-Times event, during which all true believers who are still alive as the end of the world approaches are taken from the earth by God and raised up into Heaven. Those who failed this faith-based litmus test are required, according to Scripture, to endure several more months or years (depending on which expert you believe) of foreboding times known as the Tribulation. During the Tribulation, one seriously pissed-off God Almighty inflicts upon the slackers who missed the Rapture Bus a smorgasbord of pain and suffering, including pestilence, earthquakes, floods, famine, and spiraling gasoline prices. By all accounts, it’s a bleak existence – sort of like what I imagine life would be like without Starbucks or having only a dial-up Internet connection. A Hell on earth.

According to the latest news reports, there was actually only one good Christian deserving enough to be lifted up to the Heavens in the Rapture this past weekend. The lucky winner turned out to be a 33-year-old unemployed carpenter named Jesse Caruthers of Wichita, KS. Jesse leaves behind an estimated 6,892,485,201 unworthy people still trapped on the planet earth to await a series of cataclysmic disasters, starting with the season finale of Dancing with the Stars. Jesse told his neighbor, Ed Whitley, shortly before his ascension into Heaven how excited he was that his wife, Doris, and their three sons were going to meet Jesus. Apparently, Doris and the boys were not quite the devout, deserving Christians they had led Jesse to believe, as they stayed back with the other 6.9 billion sinners.

There is one late report that the number of Rapturees could be increased by as many as 27 if you count the cast and crew of the Shawnee High School production of Jesus Christ Superstar of Council Bluffs, Iowa, who went missing after Act I last Saturday and have not been seen since. However, reports that Minnesota Congresswoman, presidential hopeful and Tea Party activist Michelle Bachmann (right) had been swept up in the Rapture later turned out to be false rumors spread by Ms. Bachmann’s presidential campaign staff, in an attempt to boost her poll numbers for 2012.  Rumors that devout Christian Mike Huckabee had been swept up also turned out to be false when he was later reported seen at a McDonald’s drive-thru in Jonesboro, AK, ordering a double cheeseburger and super-sized fries.

In an ironic related news story, Harold Camping, the 89-year old evangelist who had calculated May 21st to be the exact date of the Rapture, died in a freak accident just minutes before the Rapture took place on Saturday when he was struck dead by a car driven by three young gansta rap musicians who did not notice the elderly soothsayer as he was crossing the street after having just purchased a Slurpee at a local 7-Eleven. This has led some pundits to speculate whether Mr. Camping confused the word Rapture for Rapper when formulating his prophesies.

On a personal note, I confess I was completely taken off guard by the news of last Saturday’s Judgment Day. I had no idea it was coming so soon. It was not listed anywhere on my television programming schedule. Nor did I get any Facebook invitations to the event. At the moment of Judgment Day, I was in the middle of tweeting how excited I was that Hangover II was coming to theaters next week. So I totally missed the Rapture, just like I missed the Preakness horse race on NBC last Saturday (for the third year in a row, I might add. I seriously need a better calendaring system).

In retrospect, grasping the fact that I was not scooped up in the Rapture Capture at first left me with an overwhelming feeling of despair as I pondered the grim prospect of having to write this blog for several more years. No doubt, many of you reading this share my grief. Right about now, it would be understandable if you’re feeling down about the fact you and your loved ones are all still alive, as you contemplate your impending future home in the fiery chambers of Hell, facing an eternity of damnation.

If you feel badly about being left behind, cheer up. First of all, you’re hardly alone. With the exception of Jesse Caruthers and perhaps a handful of high school thespians from Council Bluffs, Iowa, the rest of us all failed to make the divine cut as well. And think of the bright side. You’ll be able to get caught up on lots of paperwork. You’ll be around to see how the NFL lockout gets resolved. And best of all, you’re still around to see Oprah’s final episode, which airs this week. Special guests include Maria Shriver, so you don’t want to miss that.

According to latest prophesy estimates, most religious scholars indicate that the remaining earthbound sinners have several more months during which they can make dramatic improvements as a parent, spouse or employee, in order to improve their chances of being saved the next time the Rapture Wagon comes around. Depending on which biblical Doomsday website you believe, you may have as many as four more chances to be swept up to the Pearly Gates:

  • Rapture – The Sequel: August 11th
  • Rapture – This Time It’s Personal: October 16th
  • Rapture – The Final Countdown: December 31st and
  • Rapture – The Grand Finale: April 15th, 2012.

So there’s plenty of time to become a true believer, or at least improve your table manners, in time for the next coming of the Almighty. But don’t get too complacent. According to my brother-in-law, the world will officially come to a violent conclusion in an apocalyptic cataclysm on December 21, 2012 – this based on credible archeological interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar. Personally, I would take that prediction to the bank, as I have never known my brother-in-law to be wrong about anything (okay, I admit, he was wrong about MacGruber the movie winning Best Picture). You might want to call into work sick the week leading up to that date and maybe visit Disneyland or Sea World one last time.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t plan to be caught off guard next time. I have installed the Official Mayan Doomsday Countdown Clock on my computer’s desktop. Better start getting your affairs in order. We only have 576 days, 13 hours, 52 minutes and 21 seconds left. I’ve ordered my underground survival shelter and gas mask. What are you waiting for? For God’s sake, man, THE END IS NEAR!

That’s the view from the bunker, er, I mean, bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2011

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