Who was on first?

Okay, so I had this grand idea back in 2002 that I had to write a novel about the end of the known world—destroyed by a giant flood in 2012. The new world order would be dynamically different. Giant nations like the US and Canada would go bankrupt (aren’t they almost there already, after the bailouts of 2008?) and city states like Toronto would be self•governing. The Internet would survive given that it was built to outlast a nuclear war. Dominant ideologies would polarize the remaining planet and we could choose from either going ultra•socialist or ultra•capitalist – both being forms of Fundamentalism that we try hard to pretend does not grow in our own backyard – oh no, we say– Fundamentalism belongs only to those people who live in the desert, who wear turbans and carry machine guns and shoot our poor soldiers trying to keep the peace over there.

So I wrote this book, and of course no one wanted to read it. Who gave a damn about what was going to happen in 2012 which was still 10 years away at the time? People were only interested in what was happening quarter by quarter; they had been conditioned by the stock market and by large corporate anxiety cycles.

As the date of my book’s action neared, I wondered if I was going to have to trash this labour of love that I had been writing and rewriting umpteen times to make it the best thing I had to offer in my still emergent oeuvre. Last year, my publisher got interested – after all, the Mayan calendar was going to end in 2012 and suddenly my book’s date was beginning to sound interesting. Besides 2012 is now only three years away and world has been sobered after raking huge materialistic gains in the boom years of the stock market. Now we that we are in an economic depression, mortality is a higher concern – hence my book’s premise is starting to look really good.

But then I realized that others had been nursing similar ideas. The famous Margaret Atwood is releasing a book called The Year of the Flood ( thank God there is no water in hers as it’s called the Waterless Flood – perhaps a bit more sinister, as Atwood’s writing is known to be?) and Hollywood is releasing a movie in November called 2012 about a giant flood destroying the planet. And my book is launching in November of this year too. I am pretty sure that, unlike me, these folks don’t have to wait years before their output gets released to the world. And I am pretty damned sure that the first question on everyone’s mind will be, “Who was on first?”

Being Mr. Nobody compared to these two heavyweights, the odds are that everyone is going to point the finger at me and purr, “Copycat!”

They say that agglomeration leads to higher sales: that’s why shops converge on shopping malls, furniture outlets litter Kennedy Road and Chinese restaurants line Spadina Avenue in Toronto. Maybe hanging on to the coattails of Atwood and Hollywood will help me sell some books after all. We three could form Doomsday Mall and gather futurists and doomsayers into our midst and have one big sob•fest for mankind on its one•way trip to Armageddon. And somewhere amidst the buzz we create I will be able to shout out aloud, “I was on first!”

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