By the time you finish reading this, your time left on earth can be measured in hours -- maybe.
Provided, that is, the ancient Mayans were on target.
Fodder for late-night comedians and social networks, the prediction of an apocalypse on the arrival of the winter solstice -- that is, Friday, the 21st -- has no one worried in the hills of West Virginia.
"If the civilization that's planning this out already failed miserably thousands of years ago, how much faith do we have in them?" asked Steve Tanner, sheriff of West Virginia's Raleigh County.
"If you add in the leap years we've added, the deadline has already come and gone. Actually, we've survived it."
Each one contacted took a humorous approach to the doomsday prophecy interpreted by the Mayan calendar.
"I am every bit as concerned as I was the last time the world was supposed to end," Delegate Virginia Mahan, D-Summers, said.
"I guess for most of the Mayans, this is old news, anyway. Did you ask them? My point is, the world ended a long time ago. It's their little joke on those of us here now to try to make us second guess the time the world will end. I'm not too worried about it. It'll happen when it happens."
Raleigh County Commissioners Pat Reed and Dave Tolliver viewed the matter from a spiritual perspective.
"My faith is in God, and whatever He has planned, as to what we'll endure," Reed said.
"I don't worry. I don't lose sleep over those types of predictions."
Tolliver said he would bet his life on the failure of the Mayan prophecy.
"The Bible says no man knows the day or the hour that the end of the world will come," he said.
Yet, if the prophecy holds up, no one will ever know if Alabama or Notre Dame reigns as the national football champion, Sen. Daniel Hall, D-Wyoming, said.
"If the Mayans are right, 'Bama will be second for eternity," he said. "And we can't have that."
With the Christmas season racing toward a climax, Delegate Rick Snuffer, R-Raleigh, said he hasn't had time to keep up with the contemporary calendar, much less the Mayan one.
"Although many have attempted to predict the 'End of the World' before -- including those concerned by President Obama's re-election -- I'm still planning on attending Christmas Eve communion service and then preparing for the 2014 election cycle, post 12/21/12," Snuffer said.
Like Hall, he took a college football approach to the disaster the Mayans have predicted.
"If the Mayans were right, at least Notre Dame and LSU fans won't have to watch their teams lose another bowl again, and the 'haters' won't have to fret about a Tide 'three-peat' in the 2013-14 season," he said.
"The Mayans will be remembered ... Roll Tide."
Facebook was lively with comments.
"Anyone running up their credit cards?" asked Daily Mail columnist Don Surber.
Bernard Porterfield, a retired employee of The Greenbrier, replied: "I always run up my credit cards, not because of any impending disaster. Have too much money to qualify for welfare but not enough to make ends meet. If there is a catastrophic event, such as a solar explosion, or a planet collision, not much you can do about it. However, am celebrating Christmas early and ain't payin' no bills 'til December."
Another tongue-in-cheek on Facebook came from Patrick Cadle, legislative director for the West Virginia Association of Justice.
"I am not doing my Christmas shopping until the 22nd," Cadle deadpanned.
"Why waste time standing in checkout lines until I know it's necessary?"
By Mannix Porterfield - The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va. (MCT)
(c)2012 The Register-Herald (Beckley, W.Va.)
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