Salvation on my windshield

The Boston Herald/August 4, 2006
By Daniel Potocki

This story has to be told. Last Friday, upon the same alter that bugs commit ritual suicide, I found a message of prophecy. That message came in the form of a photocopied newsletter written by "The House of Yahweh." The cover of said newsletter proclaimed that we humans have a little over a month left to make peace with God because, as of Sept. 12, a nuclear war that represents the end times will begin.

Now, I’m a young man, I’m not even old enough to drink yet, so you can imagine how broken up I was about all this. It seems to me that the only people that really don’t mind the end of the world are the people who are already close to their end.

Unlike them I have a lot left to live for, so on a hunch I called the House of Yahweh’s headquarters in Abilene, Texas. After 15 minutes and a vivacious game of phone tag they finally put somebody on the phone that wasn’t afraid to speak to me. Not that I was rude or at all hard to talk to, I think it had more to do with the fact that I identified myself as a columnist for a paper north of the Mason-Dixon Line. The man I spoke to must have been the group’s PR man, because he did little more than rehash what I read; the verbal ballet was very beautiful.

Now I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a reporter, I told the guy that my interest was basically personal. Just as I was getting ready to hang up and move on, the guy put me on hold. Normally when I get put on hold, I hang up, I’m kind of impatient like that, but something told me to stay on the line. Five minutes later, the guy comes back on the phone and says, "If you want, we might be able to set up an interview between you and our leader Israel Hawkins." I readily agreed.

Unfortunately, as my deadline approached, I ran out of time. Perhaps they will contact me later this week; if they do, trust me, I’ll spill all the interesting details.

For the record, Hawkins, born Buffalo Bill Hawkins, is the founder of the group and tells his followers that he is a prophet on par with Christ. I’m trying not to pass judgment but it’s hard.

Now I’m not going to go on the record against anyone’s beliefs. What you do in your own home, as long as it’s consensual, is your own business. I will say this much, however: It is a very bold statement to say that the world is going to be plunged into nuclear war, and time and time again we find these prophecies not coming true. Again, to each his own, but I can’t help but chuckle at the thought of the kind of back-peddling that will have to be done if the world doesn’t end. But what do I know about prophecies and such; I didn’t even read "The Da Vinci Code."

This much I will say: According to Hawkins, I have a little over a month left to live in the happy little world I live in. Maybe we need these types of people, maybe. Come to think of it, maybe Hawkins is the type of person I called for in my "culture" article. Maybe we all need to be reminded of our own mortality every once in a while.

When you think about it, I am just as likely to get hit by a bus or struck by lightning as I am to take part in the end of the world. When your number’s up, it’s up, and that’s it. Blink and it’s all over. So perhaps we should all strive to live our lives like it’s the last day we are ever going to have.

A rational person might say that by living like that, you increase the chances of each day being your last. The issue brings up a host of questions that I, as a young adult, spend a lot of time thinking about. Is it better to live fast and die young, or to grow old? Which is more important, freedom or safety? I’d give you my opinion, but frankly, I still haven’t made up my mind yet.

Call me in 20 years and I might be able to muster up some kind of cute lie. But for all I know, I’m as good as dead. That being said, I don’t have the time to ponder all these questions. If I’m going to die in a little over a month, then all I have to say is this: "Drinks are on the house."

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