Are We Seeing the End of the World?

A stream of consciousness live blog about the weirdest and most inexplicable things I’ve seen on Medium today.

Image for post
Image for post

Sometimes events come at us in such heavy clusters that we have to ask if it’s more than a coincidence.

I have witnessed so many strange things on Medium today that it made me do a search for “the end of the world 2019.”

Sure enough, there’s a prediction that the Mayan’s prediction of the apocalypse in 2012 just acted as a start point of seven years of tribulation.”

In other words, a ticking time bomb set up to go off in 2012 was actually the trigger to set off another time bomb to go off seven years later.

My only hope is that this time bomb will set off another time bomb seven months later, which would give me enough time to see the Lakers win the NBA Championship.

Because if they don’t win, that would be the end of the world.

What kind of events, you ask, caused me to suspect that Ramageddon could be near?

Well, first of all, the Rams are having a disappointing season after playing terrible in the Super Bowl.

But on a more serious note, I found a number of anomalies in Medium that I’ve never seen before:

#1: An article by a super popular self-help writer that made me laugh and feel like I didn’t waste my time.

I have to add the disclaimer that the American ex-pat author did not actually write the article himself. The basis of the article are the comments by his neighbors and friends about the self-help articles he sends them. This was like a Roz Warren librarian survey where the comedy is crowd sourced, and lord was it funny.

The Spanish people see us as idiots, and I can’t say I blame them.

These quotes were too good to leave out:

“Really? Another article about how to live on a beach from some 14-year-old nomad? It’s as if they haven’t realized that half the world’s population lives near water. You want to impress me? Move to Kansas and figure out a way to be happy.”

“Hold up a second, didn’t that dude in his last post say he lives at home with his parents and now he’s giving me advice on how to be successful? If living at home with your parents is a sign of success every 30-year old in Spain would be successful. Actually, I live at home with my parents and my mom makes pretty good meatballs — does that mean I’m successful?”

#2: Medium’s algorithm has finally had a nervous breakdown.

It’s almost 1:00 a.m. PST, so either someone took the Corgis out for a walk in the Bay Area, or the New York curation bot went to an after hours party and got seriously messed up.

I took this screen shot because I know this aberration will be corrected immediately. The image is unaltered.

Image for post
Image for post

Either I’m hallucinating, or there isn’t one featured story that came from a Medium-owned publication.

The other thing that makes me think I’m hallucinating is that the featured story circled in red comes from the publication I created to house the collaborative story “Out of Ideas, Out of Time.”

Is this publication title symbolic for the end of the world? Are we all out of ideas and out of time? Am I an unwitting pawn in the web woven by some Mayan astrologer from 3114 years ago? Can he see me typing in my underwear?

These are questions that are beyond my meager mental resources, but the signs that something is not right don’t end here.

After all, I’ve been in writer’s Curgatory™ for months, so featuring my publication makes no sense.

Inside Mark Starlin’s first chapter of “Ticket to Nowhere,” the protagonist is headed to Kansas. Five minutes before I ever saw this collaborative detective story featured on the homepage, I copied the self-help author’s neighbor’s funny quote about being happy in Kansas.

Is that a sign?

Every good End Times story focuses on the second coming of Jesus. We know from all those books about The Rapture that the true believers will rise to go to heaven with Jesus. Could their rendezvous point be Kansas? Are all of Medium’s social media superstars already there now?

#3: Curated sports articles that are not about sports

There’s an article about marketing that appears in a publication about marketing and it’s featured in Sports.

Just in case this is another hallucination, I have done a screen grab.

Image for post
Image for post

The questions keep swirling in my mind.

Is marketing now considered a sport? Is the life preserver symbolic of saving a person swimming, which is a sport? Or are the words fear, uncertainty and doubt part of a hidden message that we should all feel that way because the end is near?

Again, this kind of bizarre behavior by the curation bot must be sign of some truly terrifying coming to Earth — like the second coming of Jesus.

Maybe a small number of true believers in Christ are overjoyed about the Rapture, but from what I’ve read, the number of people who will rise to heaven is fairly small. According to a Tom Perrotta novel, it’s 2% of the world’s population. That would equal about 140 million people, given today’s population.

When you think about it, shouldn’t that number be lower?

How many people would go happily to heaven while knowing their clearly imperfect spouses and pot-smoking children will be left behind to burn and suffer?

It seems to me that any decent Christian (or Jew, or Muslim, or Hindu, or Buddhist, or Athiest or any other person with thoughts on the nature of God) would be heartbroken to leave their loved ones behind, which creates a logical quandary, a spiritual Catch-22 if you will, that must be addressed before even one person steps on that Kansas escalator with their one-way ticket to heaven:

Anyone who is heartbroken at the thought of leaving behind a loved one would give up their ticket. On the other hand, anyone who would joyfully go to heaven without a thought for their family is the type of narcissistic bastard that doesn’t deserve a ticket and should be kicked off the Rapture escalator.

These crazy visions of the Rapture remind me of a scene in the final season of Silicon Valley where a hologram of some lunatic venture capitalist has been enlarged by a new form of network developed by the nerds at Pied Piper to the point that it is visible from a plane at 30,000 feet.

His arms are outstretched like that statue of Jesus looking out over Rio de Janeiro.

Coincidence? I think not.

#4: The Medium curation bot featured a sports story that advocates gambling.

I’ve written that playing the lottery would be an easier way to make big money than by writing on Medium. I’ve done the calculations:

Now don’t think of me as a crackpot.

I never wrote that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a good actor or a good governor.

That is a mark of shame Californians must bear — the idea that we could do something so stupid as to make Florida look like the sane state.

Getting back to the story in question, here is the headline: “How Do We Fix Horse Racing?”

If that doesn’t sound like an appeal to gamblers and con men, read the first sentence:

“Yes, I know, for some people the question is probably “Do we fix horse racing?”…

People know the game is rigged, or they wouldn’t ask that question, right?

Just like Medium is rigged.

When I went back to the homepage and refreshed, “Out of Ideas, Out of Time” had disappeared back into the ether. You can’t find it in the archived feature articles. It just disappeared as if it never existed.

What can this mean?

Has Medium corrected their wayward algorithm and set things back in place? Does this mean humanity is no longer “Out of Time” and we can all rest easy? Am I back in writer’s Curgatory for all eternity ( which may not be for much longer if we are at the End of Times)?

All I know is that it seems for the moment that I can go to sleep at peace.

Things are just as messed up as always and I’m thankful for it.

P.S.: This just showed up in my feed as I was about to turn off my computer:

Image for post
Image for post

I’m going to bed now. The apocalypse will have to start without me.

[UPDATE] I went on Medium the next morning and am still finding anomalies in the featured section (you’ll see it in a response to Mark Starlin’s comment). The latest one lasted for 30 minutes. If any reader sees featured articles on their home page that are not from a Medium-owned publication, could you please come forward and tell us what you saw?

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at https://guttmanshapiro.com. Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store