In which I get butt naked for God

I have spent today standing, stark bollock naked, in my back garden; and for once, I have done so with good reason.

The world, you see, is going to end today, and I figure I’m on slightly dodgy ground to be Raptured—what with the whole atheism business, not to mention thinking it’s a good thing them gays can get married, and a bad thing that the extraordinarily hypocritical Lord Carey can rant repeatedly and hysterically against this whilst having the small matter of a child-molesting bishop on what passes for his conscience. So I figured I should make things as easy as possible for God, and preemptively whipped off my togs and made sure I was outside for Him, the easier to be Taken Up into the air. In fact, I was jumping up and down quite a bit, just to make the point, until I got tired and the neighbours threatened to call the police.

Of course, you could argue that Chris McCann is just another nutjob, one in such a long line that you would have thought they might have learnt by now. The world, after all, did not end on 1 January 1000, despite the best encouragement of Pope Sylvester II, nor in 1284 as sanctioned by another pope (Innocent III: a man innocent of much, perhaps, but not incitement to mass slaughter). It also did not end on … well the list is rather long, so just go here and write your own damn funnies for each and every eschatological epic fail.

But there’s a serious point here; McCann may be a nutjob (though one who has carefully built a caveat into his prediction), but that does not exempt him from moral culpability. McCann’s prediction is a rescheduling of that of Harold Camping a few years back, prior to which a number of people committed suicide out of fear of the impending disaster. Were these people probably already at least slightly disturbed? Almost certainly. Might something else, in the absence of Camping’s predictions, have pushed them over the edge? Quite probably. Was Camping directly responsible for their suicides? Of course not. But does that exonerate Camping from the charge of having spoken recklessly and having misinformed his not insubstantial audience? No, it does not.

As for Camping, so for McCann. Should even one person kill themselves, or even commit less extreme panicked reactions, as a result of hearing McCann’s idiocy, then as far as I am concerned this should lie, in part, on his conscience. You do not cry “Fire” in a crowded theatre, and you do not publicly announce the end of the world when that very world has a substantial number of unfortunate and fragile individuals within it.

I’m guessing the Rapture won’t come today, but if a single person does themselves any harm as a result of McCann’s foolish pronouncements, then I’d recommend that when it does come he join me in my naked bouncing, because the weight of having needlessly and stupidly helped push a few people to despair will be distinctly anti-Raptural ballast around his neck.


serendiptipsy (adj.) the state of being unexpectedly but not unwelcomely mildly inebriated, often due to insufficient food consumption. Best attained with a nice wine and a good film; never to be undertaken with car keys in your pocket.

A well-behaved day with only a healthy lentil soup for dinner, followed by the really rather excellent A Most Wanted Man and a couple of glasses of shiraz have rendered me serendiptipsy, for sure. There are worse ways to spend your Sunday.

Dear fridge designer…

Thank you for designing me a fridge which produces a loud and incessant beep when the door has been open for more than 30 seconds, and which cannot be disabled. Apparently you think I am too stupid to close the door properly; and apparently you also think that either I am so slatternly that I never clean the fridge, or that I am so Aggie-and-Kim-ishly efficient that I can perform this task in less than half a minute.

I’m a small man, in many ways, and if it be my decision to spend the next few years of my spare time tracking down who you are, and where you live, so that I may break into your house one night, conceal myself in your bathroom, wait until you have a shower, and then press my face against the glass shouting “Beep beep, fucking beep” as you scrub your nads, then so be it.

Did you perhaps also design my tumble dryer, which plays a little six-note jingle repeatedly and unstoppably when its cycle has completed, letting me know that my clothes are now in exactly the state that I require them to be, merely not yet in the right place? You shall, it is true, escape a suitable punishment for this, but this is largely because my ire is more directed at the landlady who has prohibited us from drying clothes over her expensive carpets, but done nothing in three months to resolve the fact that the basement is so humid that hung out clothes simply do not dry properly there, thus forcing me to use this appallingly wasteful machine in the first place.

Beeps are fine things, when requested. But there seems to be a trend in modern technology design to impose beeps, jingles, and other cheerful warnings of how stupid one is. The function of a fridge is to keep things cool. The function of a tumble dryer is to wreck the environment by using grotesque amounts of energy to blast clothes into being in the state which they would naturally achieve in a not immoderate amount of time by themselves—blithely indifferent landladies notwithstanding. How I particularly apply that function is my business, and to prod me incessantly for not doing so in exactly the rather short-sighted manner which you consider correct is not a design feature, it is a pain in the beeping arse.