Posted by: patenttranslator | December 19, 2012

My Last Post Before The End Of The World On Friday

Scientists agree that give or take a few billion, the Universe is about 14 billion years old, counting from the Big Bang. I have been told many times that on Friday, December 21, 2012, our world is going to come to an end based on the prophecies of the Mayan calendar.

Although this would be about the fifth end of the world that I will be surviving if this particular prophecy also turns out to be incorrect, I thought that I would be remiss not to publish one more post before it’s all over for me, just in case it is for real this time.

So here it is.

Fortunately, I was able to finish and deliver a long patent translation yesterday, and although I will not get paid for it if I cease to exist along with the rest of the world, I know that because I finished that job on time, somewhere in this world there is a patent lawyer trying to figure out how to write a new patent application for his client without infringing upon existing technology described in the Japanese patent that I translated. I hope he will have enough time to send the bill to his client.

I would hate it if the world were to be swallowed by oblivion before I had a chance to complete my last translation. This way I can say that I never missed a deadline in my life and it will still be true even if the physical world no longer exists.

Both of our kids will be here with us. One of them flew in from San Francisco yesterday – he said with a smirk on his face that he had to come to see us one more time because of the end of the world – and the other one will be driving here tomorrow from Charlottesville.

So that’s good too. I saw several pretty sad movies about the end of the world, and it seems to me that the people in these movies were mostly depressed because they realized that they were so damn lonely while the world was still there, full of vibrant colors, indefinable scents and smells, crying and laughing children, noisy birds, affectionate dogs, weird and funny and interesting people, and they could have taken advantage of everything that the world was offering – and now it was about to end, and they were still lonely.

I remember that in one of the movies one really lonely and kind of pathetic guy was trying to have sex with as many women as possible before the asteroid hits the Earth. One could say that he was looking for the plaisir d’amour without the chagrin d’amour, which is something that can probably exist only when the world is about to end. The Greeks called people like that hedonists, and the Japanese word for this is 快楽主義者 (kairakushugisha), I think.

Well, that actually sounds like a really good idea to kill time before the end of the world. But at least I can say that I never missed a deadline. And I get to see my kids one more time before my time runs out.

Another good thing is that I already paid all my translators  ….  oh, except for one. But her invoice is not due until mid January of next year. Should I mail the check to her before the end of the world? I think I will pay her only if she and I are still alive next year. Even if I mailed the check now, there is not enough time for her to receive it. So what would be the point?

Everything bad is also good for something. For example, if everybody dies on Friday, nobody will owe any taxes any more for the current year, and spam will disappear too. I can’t think of anything else than the end of the world that would make spam disappear.

If the Mayan prophecy is applicable only to humans, it is also possible that only humans will be mercilessly eradicated from this planet, and if everything else remains as is, inhabitants of other planets would probably at some point be studying our culture.

If they come across nonsensical advertising messages that worked so well in TV commercials, such as “We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For!”, once the space alien translators of that other civilization from another planet crack the code of English and other human languages, they are in for a treat when they start deciphering all those stupid commercials. In the end they will probably put together a short chapter, no longer than about a couple of pages, describing life as it used to exist on planet Earth in their history books about extinct civilizations on other planets.

I’d love to know under what name that particular extinct civilization would be listed in their history books in the language of the space aliens once the word “human” loses its current meaning and it will remain only as a foreign word describing a long-extinct civilization on a faraway planet.


  1. […] Scientists agree that give or take a few billion, the Universe is about 14 billion years old, counting since the Big Bang. I have been told many times that on Friday, December 21, 2012, our world i…  […]


  2. I wanted to comment some of your latest posts (didn’t have the time because of a temporary relapse into zombieness, sorry) but now that seems pointless.

    So, I can only wish you a happy world ending. Or, if that fails, a Merry Christmas and an even better New Year.

    Thanks for everything!


  3. A Happy World Ending, or Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, whichever comes first, to you as well!


  4. I think you meant “chagrin d’amour’. You’re welcome.


  5. I make silly mistakes in my French on purpose to make sure that you are still reading my blog.


    • Aha, it is as I thought 😉


  6. Mais bien shure.


  7. I guess, everybody is “looking forward to” the end of the world on Friday, 12/21/2012, so that they have loaded me heavily during the last 30 days. And I dutifully delivered every piece up to today. There will be another delivery on the day of doom.

    We will see if the world ends tomorrow or if I would be lucky with the Translator’s Roulette, which has a double odd of the Russian Roullete. So, Steve, if you hear a small bang tomorrow, you know what happens.


  8. One good thing about the End of the World that keeps being postponed like the flights from Atlanta or JFK to my final destination is that it puts everything in an interesting perspective.


    • So far I understand from what I have been reading about the Mayan prophecies is that the Mayans had a limited counting system.

      Supposedly, the Mayans didn’t have the idea of Infinity. For them, there should be a beginning and an end for everything, just like sausages (in German: Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst zwei.).

      The Mayan calendar has for this reason an end. After the end, the counting of days begins anew. 12/21/2012 is therefore the end of the Mayan calendar and tomorrow will be another day. The Mayan calendar counts anew, somewhat like the Chinese calendar which repeats every 60 years and which is called 甲子 (jiazi). However, Chinese calendar counts one jiazi, two jiazi, etc. ad infinitum.

      I guess the Mayan should have “ad inifintum” as well, but it must be the fault of translators who tried to translate Mayan literature that we got the wrong impression that the Mayans did not have an idea of Infinity.


  9. “… it must be the fault of translators who tried to translate Mayan literature that we got the wrong impression …”

    There is still a chance that they got it right and this world will cease to exist in a few hours.


    • Steve, I guess, we all survive the Doom Day by now.

      In my dialect, there is a popular saying: 人若不照天理,天則不按甲子。  The saying can be translated as “If a man behaved himself in discordance with the rules of the Heaven, the Heaven would run out of the order Jiazi.” It means, the cycle of 60 years (one Jiazi, which should supposedly be lived by every man) would be shortened.

      However, Laotze’s famous Taode Jing (The Way of Tao) says: There aren’t rules of the Heaven. (道可道非常道,名可名非常名。) There are good and bad people under the Heaven, born by the Earth. (天無私覆,地無私載。) Laotze argued that all creatures and beings exist, no matter they are good or bad.

      All nomads exist, no matter they are freelance translators or those believers of Mammon in Wallstreet.

      Happy new life!


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