The way the world ends

The Compass - - Editorial - Harold Wal­ters

When I was an in­com­pletely formed bay-boy, the old peo­ple feared the end of the world. Omens of im­mi­nent Dooms­day were easy to find — an un­usu­ally bois­ter­ous thun­der­storm was a sign the world was on its last legs; odd colours on the Man in the Moon’s fat chops was a mes­sage from The Almighty to squeeze in your fi­nal prayers.

When The Rus­sians launched Sput­nik I in 1957 doom­say­ers knew the jig was up. In some com­mu­ni­ties folks who were pre­pared to meet their Maker con­gre­gated in ceme­ter­ies to await the sound­ing of the Judge­ment Gun and — be­ing prac­ti­cal, I s’pose , to be on site should in­ter­ment be nec­es­sary.

“Harry, my own doom-say­ing love, surely you jest,” says Dear­est Duck.

“True sto­ries, my Duck,” say I.

To date, the world has sur­vived, de­spite dire warn­ing of apoc­ryphal fire and brim­stone.

Nev­er­the­less, end-times will come.

A cen­tury ago, a school of de­pressed poets, feel­ing all hol­lowed out, feel­ing like Dorothy’s straw-stuffed com­pan­ion on the road to Oz, scrib­bled verse sug­gest­ing ways the world might kick the cos­mic bucket.

T. S. Eliot fa­mously pre­dicted the world would end not with a jeezusly big bang, but with a woe-is-me whim­per.

T. S. was wrong.

The time has come for me to of­fer a pre­dic­tion re­gard­ing a pos­si­ble way hu­mankind will be shooed off the stage.

“Harry,” says my own do­mes­tic naysayer, “why do you think you have any in­sight con­cern­ing the end of the world?” “Well…,” say I.

“Yes, well … spit it out.” “Well, Rick Mercer put it in my mind,” say I with a de­fin­i­tive thump on my table­top. Truly.

But first I must speak of in­va­sive veg­e­ta­tion.

In 1876 — so says Mr. Google — the United States Cen­ten­nial Ex­po­si­tion in Philadel­phia in­tro­duced the kudzu vine to North Amer­ica. Bril­liant idea.

Kudzu, an ex­tremely fast­grow­ing species of green­ery, has sur­passed the hum­ble hope that it would help re­duce ero­sion be­cause it makes a dandy ground-cover. Now, in an in­va­sive veg­e­ta­tive sense, it is tak­ing over the world — parts of North Amer­ica any­way.

Like bor­der-cross­ing Amer­i­cans en­ter­ing Canada, kudzu has done its own bor­der-cross­ing. It’s slith­ered into On­tario, sure.

As Granny would say, “If you stand still in its vicin­ity it will grow up your leg and into your fun­da­ment.”


Then there’re in­va­sive crus­taceans.

Fisher folk in this prov­ince be­wail the ad­vent and the pro­lif­er­a­tion of the Euro­pean Green Crab.

“Un­less con­trolled, this aquatic in­va­sive species will have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on bio­di­ver­sity and habi­tat in the New­found­land ecosys­tem,” — Mr. Google again.

See, crusty side-winders tak­ing over the un­der­wa­ter world.

When The Rus­sians fired Sput­nik I into or­bit they had nary a no­tion that they were scar­ing Chicken Lit­tle type folks on our side of the planet. In all fair­ness, I don’t s’pose they even knew some of their na­tive ze­bra mus­sel hooked fast to the keels of sail­ing ships and crossed the seas to North Amer­ica where they’ve found new homes in the Great Lakes.

Of course, ze­bra mus­sels have gone forth, obeyed cer­tain bib­li­cal al­go­rithms, so to speak, taken over new neigh­bour­hoods, and be­come en­trenched at the ex­pense of pre-ex­ist­ing bi­valves.

“Harry,” says Dear­est Duck, tap­ping my hand, halt­ing my fin­gers, “have you for­got­ten some­thing?”


“Rick Mercer.”


In a re­cent Rant, Rick made ref­er­ence to a fish whose ag­gres­sive na­ture may lead to the end of life as we know it — kinda.

He men­tioned Asian carp. Asian carp are odd look­ing fish to my eyes be­cause their eyes are be­low the cen­ter line of their bod­ies. If you haven’t seen any of those fishies with the low-slung eyes, imag­ine if your eyes slipped from their sock­ets and dropped to your jaw­bone or there­abouts. You’ll get the idea.

And guess what.

Asian carp pop­u­la­tions have ex­ploded and the carp have moved into the south­ern sec­tions of the Great Lakes and are rapidly head­ing north, where they will take over the world of indige­nous fish.

Ap­par­ently, there was po­lit­i­cal stuff — agen­das, pro­to­cols, monies — in the works to find ways to slow, or stop, the spread of rav­en­ous Asian carp. How­ever, on the Trumped-Up side of the 49th, a bor­der Asian carp are poised to cross if they haven’t al­ready done so, Don­ald Trump has slammed the door on any plans to ad­dress the is­sue.

“Harry, so?”


This is the way the world ends. Some in­va­sive species or other will take over the world, eh b’ys?

“Harry, you are nuts.” Maybe so.

Thank you for read­ing.

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