You'll excuse me for saying so, but it seems that these days, one can't turn on the television, read a newspaper or peruse a blog without encountering someone shrieking about The Looming End of All Things!
Why just yesterday on the television, some blatherskite insisted that the globe is ready to go up in flames like a child's marshmallow on a stick, held too long over a cosmic campfire. Turning it off and picking up a newspaper, I read about marauding hordes of Muslims, Abortionists, Homosexuals, Liberals and Gun Owners, marching on Suburbia to decimate life as we know it with bombs, devastating efforts to provide healthcare, shocking marital inclinations and antique muskets.
Crumpling the rag into a ball and logging on to my antique computer, I sink into a bloggy swamp of condemnations regarding glittering capitalist skyscrapers so high and tottery they collapse under their own weight, crushing hordes of unemployed demonstrators below. Caterwauling in the streets, bellowing in the media and finger-wagging on the blogosphere have become so continuous, so rackety and obstreperous, that sophisticated gentlepersons shrink behind eyelet curtains, wishing never again to emerge from cloistral apartments.
Well, I say! With Doom lurching 'round the next corner and Gloom raining down one's head, 'what to do?' is a question that begs an answer. Perhaps, like me, you are not the New Robespierre, blood-spattered hero of the Coming Revolution. Perhaps you've a stomach too delicate for rivers of innocent bloodshed as you march triumphant over the corpses of thousands, banners waving heroically, toward the New World Order. Perhaps, like me, you're just one of The Insignificant, history's humble unsung, hoping only to survive the coming conflagration with a little style, a little imagination — a little poise.
With the Humble Gentleperson in mind then, allow me to make the following recommendations for a Merry Little Apocalypse:
1. Throw an Apocalypse-themed Cocktail Party. That's right. It is high time we stopped ranting on the internet, crawled out of our bomb shelters and threw an appropriately dramatic cocktail party for friends and neighbors. Consider doing so weekly. At some point, the world may very well end, you know. And what will refined persons be doing when the moment presents itself? Wailing in sackcloth and ashes in a ditch somewhere? Staring, goggle-eyed, at a monitor in a dark bunker? Er, no thank you. The end shall find us impeccably dressed, dropping bon mots and cocktail partying like it's 2999.
Albert Trummer, mixologist and co-owner of Apotheke, gives the flaming absinthe show at his cocktail lounge. Caplin/Bloomberg.
Absinthe in Hell (a personal favorite)
2 oz absinthe herbal liqueur
1 tsp brown sugar
2 - 4 oz water
Pour 3/4 of a full shot of absinthe in a parfait glass. Put a brown sugar cube on a spoon with holes in it and rest it on the rim of the glass. Pour the remaining 1/4 of the shot of absinthe onto the brown sugar cube, light the brown sugar on fire (put the flame under the spoon). Let the flame burn for a minute while the brown sugar drips into the glass and caramelizes. Stir the caramelized sugar into the glass. Add the water to the glass, stir again and serve.
2. Stop Leaning so Hard on the Panic Button, will you? Look outside your window and consider the persons bickering and dickering and apocalypticizing on the village square: do you see any stylish people there? Of course you don't.
Sophisticated persons do not lean on panic buttons; the stylish strive to maintain poise, and do not take pleasure inciting excessive fear, anxiety and madness in the streets, thank you.
Besides, it upsets the kennel.
Courtesy Eyes Wide Shut
3. Adopt a Mysterious Disguise. When the End is the Trend, and hysterical mobs take to the streets in search of immediate recompense for the horrors of life, standing out in any way will not be a very good idea. Why, you ask? Because mobs are looking for scapegoats, Dear Reader. And before you can shout, "Power to the People!," you could find yourself swinging on a noose from the nearest tree.
To eliminate any mob-threatening individuality from your person, M. Chariot recommends cloaking oneself with the following, stylish disguises:
Masks. What says "I'm nobody" more clearly than a mask? Once masked, elegant persons may move unnoticed through torch-carrying throngs, effortlessly deflecting the murderous, civilization-destroying intentions of the agitated.
Veils. Exhibit no personality whatsoever - with a veil! Gentlemen may consider the mysteriously cocked hat + high scarf combination. Or, if widespread intolerance, vengeance and rage indicate the complete fashio-nnihilation of your silhouette, consider the cape.
Annibale Carracci's 16th century fresco depicts the marriage of Bacchus to Ariadne led by satyrs and woodland creatures in a mad frenzy.
4. Let The Dogs Out. To stave off premature Apocalyptomania, be sure to enjoy regular and total self-destruction. The ancient Greeks reveled in a holiday called the Bacchanalia, in which participants would get ripped to the nips and roam the countryside like wild animals in a dangerous, murderous and orgiastic frenzy. This mad bit of wanton self-destructiveness served as an effective emotional counterbalance to the tensions inherent in a highly-developed and stringently demanding civilization.
Take a lesson from Greek history and shake things up in your own tightly-coiled life. Break free of the crushing expectations of modernity by occasionally marinating overnight in spirits and assorted pharmaceuticals, then kick your CEO in the nether regions and burn down your own house. In the nude, of course. Individual self-destructive acts such as this can be bracing; more satisfying than you imagine. But more importantly, letting it all go to hell occasionally diminishes the all-too-human tendency to bring on a full-scale Apocalypse in which an entire, glorious, centuries-old civilization is required to go up in flames to satisfy roiling, individual disappointments.
5. When Others Say Holocaust, Think Comfort and Style. Were you aware that the latest international "chatter" indicates a pending terrorist attack aimed directly at your living room settee, Delicate Reader? Say pshaw! No need to let total annihilation discourage one's weekly conversation parties!
Maximize your safety and comfort in a Shrapnel-Deflecting Snuggie, in fashionable Camouflage Green or Camouflage Mauve. The As Seen On TV Apocalypse Snuggie is made of super-soft fleece and a double layer of flak, plus roomy oversized sleeves that leave your hands free to defuse bombs while remaining cozy and warm. Machine washable. Imported.
6. Avoid Excessive Depression. Bad form, I say. Can we muster a little poise, for once? Haven't we had an entire epoch's worth of depressing books, films, blogs, lifestyles and what have you? Let's leave "depression" to the Old Way of going about things, if you don't mind too terribly much. Without doubt, the Post-Apocalyptic World will necessitate a bit of vivacity, a devil-may-care, "que sera, sera" attitude. High spirits will be essential to digging oneself out of the rubble and starting anew once everything has gone to merde.
7. Fall Madly and Passionately in Love. What brings Love into sharper focus than Death and Destruction? This is your moment to have the romantic interlude you've always dreamt of: a rapture among the ruins. Imagine: you and your lover writing sonnets, singing arias and kissing with abandon while bombs burst in air.
And there's a bonus: if you and your amour manage to survive the conflagration, you'll be responsible to populate the earth once again. What better way to ensure a marvelously perfect and benevolent new race, than by having it spring entirely from your own loins?
8. Practice Impeccable Manners. Always recommended on this front, regardless of the occasion.