The way the world ends
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?”
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.
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.