Aren't you glad the Mayan calendar had a typo in it?
Instead of the world ending on Dec. 21, 2012 -- as predicated by Mayan chieftains centuries ago -- some experts now say the Long Count calendar was off by only 5,126 years.
If my math is right, the apocalypse will now occur on Dec. 21 in the year 7138.
I will be 5,186 years old by then -- and the Caparzo Brunello di Montalcino from the vintage year of 6882 should be reaching its peak.
Father Nick Sannella of Immaculate Conception Church cautioned me against putting all my Brunellos in one 69th Century basket. "The odds are pretty good you won't make it out of the 21st century, Mayan calendar or not," said the practical and spiritual sage of Fayette Street.
So I'm back to the Campanini calendar: Live each day at a time.
I never really believed that the world was going to end on Friday the 21st. Still, if by some odd chance a stray asteroid did have Lowell in its sights in the days or months ahead, I thought it would be good to stage a mock ETN -- End of Time Night -- just like schools and businesses hold fire drills.
The rules were simple: From 6 p.m. to midnight -- my pre-selected moment for the world to cease -- we had to make our "last" choices -- meals, phone calls, etc. It meant that if my wife wanted to see the 172 episodes on disk of "Columbo" -- a Christmas present from years ago that still has not been opened -- she had better start.
I said all these things to the Wine Goddess. We were starting now, I told her. Her response was quite serious -- or normal -- similar to everything she's done in our 22 years of marriage.
She picked up Bella and began stroking her, asking the black cat what she'd like to do on her final night of adventure in a home she's already clawfully destroyed.
I said, "Aren't you going to plan a final meal, a great feast for us that we'll take into the afterlife with sweet memories?"
She reminded me that two weeks earlier she had cooked for 56 house guests at our annual Christmas party: Baked eggplant with a burgundy marinara sauce; lasagne alla bolognese; chicken and broccoli risotto; and all the desserts -- coconut cake with red raspberry jam filling; tiramisu cheescake with fresh whipped cream topping; rum cake with pecans and rum glaze; and Limoncello bars.
"For my last meal I'm ordering fish and chips and I'm having it delivered," she said boldly.
I recoiled in ETN shock. I had a 2003 Pio Cesare Barolo that I was dying to uncork, I said, and it would be a sin to taste it with fish. What about a quick pasta and veal dish?, I pleaded.
She looked at me lovingly, and said, "Sorry, dear, but no one's going to find me frozen in time wearing an apron in a kitchen. This isn't Pompei. It's Lowell. I'm ordering fish and chips, getting my new Spring seed catalogue, and heading for the couch. I look forward to you joining me for the last few hours of earthly life."
I couldn't believe it. The clock said 5 hours and 22 minutes remained of ETN. I wasn't going to waste another minute. I went downstairs, passed the red wine bin, and headed for the whites in the refrigerator. I grabbed a $6 bottle of Sokol-Blosser "Evolution," a blend of nine white grapes that fills the palate with honeysuckle, pear and melon and finishes with a splash of spicy zest. The brand fit my mood.
I hustled upstairs for Sinatra's "Songs for Swingin' Lovers" album and popped it in the CD player.
Next I did what any man in my situation would do: I snuggled up to the Wine Goddess on the couch, waited for the fish and chips to arrive, and poured two glass of wine.
Good 'ol Frank began crooning "You Make Me Feel So Young" and we began living the last few hours of the end of time together -- strangely feeling like this had been planned ages ago.
Follow Jim Campanini on Twitter @suneditor. From http://blogs.lowellsun.com/winenovice.