The Mayans didn’t actually predict end of the world

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If you are reading this column, you will have reached three inescapable conclusions.

The world is not a smoking ruin, humankind is still around to do its worst – and the Mayan reputation for soothsaying now lies in tatters.

Well, two out of three’s not bad.

Far be it from me to sound like a Mayan apologist (they could be cruel devils, after all) but, contrary to popular belief, they didn’t actually predict the destruction of this planet, and everything on it, four days before Christmas.

A particular phase in their ancient calendar simply came to an end, which meant that a new one was supposed to start.

But this was the perfect excuse for dingbats to use the internet to inflict their fevered ramblings on the gullible and weak-minded.

However, if, as was once suggested, it was Vera Lynn’s agent who actually started World War Two, it’s entirely possible the owners of canning factories were the first to propagate the Mayan disaster myth.

After all, there are idiots all over the world who have been stocking up their cellars and hidey-holes with enough tinned food to last them for years, in the belief that a future filled with a diet of processed peas and mandarin segments is preferable to instant annihilation.

It all reminds me of a conversation I had many years ago with a colleague who happened to be a caricature of an archetypal Yorkshiremen.

His opinions on all things were so uncompromisingly intransigent that he made Geoff Boycott sound like a conciliatory wimp at a family mediation centre.

The subject under discussion was the possibility of armageddon, and he brought the conversation to a standstill by declaring: ‘I have no intention of surviving a nuclear war.’

He genuinely believed he had a choice in the matter.

It was as though he had a hotline to the Kremlin, on which he could issue the instruction: ‘When the time comes, make sure you drop one on Barnsley.’

But we all knew what he meant.

Being instantly atomised still remains a more attractive option than a life spent scratching around in irradiated ruins.