December 8 is a very important day, as I’m sure you all know. (There’s a chance you didn’t know at one point, but once you learned, you manipulated time in order to return to a point in the past that would effectively mean you always knew.) In the spirit of the holiday, I thought I’d post to let you all know that I have arrived here from December 8, 2012, where the world population waits terrified in anticipation of the end of everything, as predicted by the Mayans. (You can learn more about it here.) I have traveled through time carrying a desperate warning, and a plea for help. Please, read on.

Nuclear BabyI talked about some end-of-the-world scenarios on Skepchick before, and we talked about the specific absurdity of the 2012 end-of-days theory on The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe back in February of 2008 (“this year,” to you non-time travelers), but to recap: the Mayans were pretty brainy people, but nothing they ever did would suggest they had the power to predict the end of all life as we know it. See, they kept track of time using different calendars, one of which is known today as the Long Count Calendar. Like our calendar year, everything was referenced in terms of cycles, and the end of a cycle also meant it was the beginning of the next cycle. That changeover was a really great excuse to party, kind of like how we party at the end of our annual cycle by paying a ridiculous cover charge to get into an otherwise cruddy bar where we’re given a thimble of cheap sparkling wine, which we drink and then make-out awkwardly with some guy we just met because god damn it it’s New Year’s and we’ll be damned if we’re going to spend it alone like last year, crying into a tub of ice cream and passing out in front of Dick Clark at 10:30pm. I mean, I guess some people might celebrate like that. In your time. Ahem.

The point being that in all likelihood, not even the Mayans thought the world would end on December 21, 2012. It’s yet another apocalyptic fantasy made up by New Age crackpots with so much time on their hands that they need to pretend that time is running out faster than it is.

With all that in mind, you are probably wondering why I, as an accomplished time traveler, have fled from December of 2012 in order to take up residence back here in 2008. After all, if the Mayans didn’t actually predict the world would end that month, why would I want to leave a time known for peace, prosperity, and ten to twenty more cupcakes a day than what humans averaged in 2008? Well, it’s simple . . .

. . . the New Age crackpots are driving me nuts.

So, I’ve come to 2008 with a plea for your help. I need you – all of you – to help prevent a future of crackpots crying nonstop about the end of the world, with a hundred times more shrillness than any of those panicking over Y2K. Tell your friends! Your family! The world! Tell them to please stop getting all their information on the time-keeping habits of ancient civilizations from poorly designed web pages and emails with subject lines that read “Fwd: FW: FW: FW: FW: Fwd: END OF WORLD PERDICTED BY MYANS!!!!” Please. The future depends upon it. My sanity depends upon it.


Bonus: it’s been a long time since I’ve shared an email chain from my workplace. Here’s a mass email I sent this morning. I love my coworkers, who are funny and put up with me five days a week.

On 12/8/08 10:27 AM, “Rebecca” wrote:

Just as a heads up, I arrived here in 2008 from the distant future (2012). In my time, most things are made out of a biodegradable plastic-like material called Flastic, and Americans have embraced Marxism but still don’t know what it means.



On 12/8/08 10:30 AM, “Laurie” wrote:

You’re a little nutty.


On 12/8/08 10:31 AM, “Rebecca” wrote:

In my time, naysayers like yourself are tried and convicted in federal court on charges of 1st Degree Buzz-Killing.


On 12/8/08 10:34 AM, “John” wrote:

You know, a simple stock tip at this point would go a long way…


On 12/8/08 10:34 AM, “Rebecca” wrote:

My people are prevented from giving stock tips, thanks to Congress passing the “Biff Tannen Act of 2011.”

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. But what about the crystal skulls? THE CRYSTAL SKULLS!!!!

    They found one on the moon.

    How can you argue with that? How can there be any doubt that the Mayans are the descendants of an advanced civilization that has been destroyed by not one, not two, but THREE apocalypses (of weirdly decreasing magnitude), and that scientists at Cal-Tech have been keeping the secret knowledge that they’ve gleaned from their moon robot-heads?

    In case anyone is interested, this is related and, I’ve heard, is kind of funny.

  2. Love the Biff Tannen reference, but I have to admit that I’m thoroughly pleased to see the return of the Nuclear Baby and his exploding doobie of sin!


  3. Hey Rebecca, gotta say the baby looks like its involved in some form of self stimulation and clearly drinking is involved. they sure grow up early in 2012!

  4. Oh, no. Not another one of those made-up Internet holiday memes! Come on, I think everyone should just ignore Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day. Seriously. No, I mean it. It’s vitally important that you not acknowledge this meme. I can’t really explain why . . . it’s complicated. But the lives of your children may depend on what we do for the next twelve hours.

    You’re just going to have to trust me on this.

  5. OMG Rebecca you are a genius! Here’s why: it wasn’t until I read this post that I remembered that I’d forgotten that I HAVE CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES IN THE FRIDGE. If you hadn’t written this, I would still have forgotten to remember. As it is, I am typing with chocolate goo and crumbs on my fingers.

    This is the best public-service-announcement-with-unintended-consequences ever!

  6. Oh, silly Skepchick, don’t you know that only popular modern religions deserve to be tolerated, and of them only the C of the FSM is true.

    You believe that the world will end because a ridiculous extrapolation based on a primitive religion?

    The world will end when the Flying Spaghetti Monster returns, everybody knows that!

  7. I wonder if the Mayan calendar ended in 2012 because they got so damned tired of writing them? ;-)

  8. I, too, am a time traveler. But I just keep going back to the last time I had realy good sex . . . with a partner. I’m just here, right now, on a brief lay-over.

  9. I do own, but due to chronic laziness haven’t done a damn thing with it. Anyone want to gimme a good template I could blog to, with plenty of Skepchick links?

    Of course I do also own on behalf of the Zombie Anti-Defamation League (inside every living person, there’s a dead one waiting to get out), in order to promote a post-vital death-style, but again the chronic laziness thing.


  10. So how come all you dumb ass time travelers didn’t come back with some winning lottery numbers. And don’t give me that rule crap cuz clearly Sam thinks it’s OK to screw his way around the space time continuum.

  11. @james fox: It’s because all the possible futures of a given event exist simultaneously, and are afforded a level of “realness” according to a hierarchy of probability. But, since all outcomes of a lottery drawing are equally unlikely, the odds of a time-traveler giving you the correct lottery number (i.e., the odds that you are heading for the possible future in which the number they gave you is a winning one) are just as slim as the odds of you choosing the correct lottery number yourself.

    I do not know why they don’t predict horse races.

  12. Boy, today is just full of highs and lows.

    High point: My husband’s birthday is today and he’s pretty awesome.

    Low points: Nuclear babies, John Lennon’s death was 28 years ago today and most importantly to me, four years ago Dimebag Darrell of Pantera fame was killed.

    Boo hiss.

  13. It’s quite unfortunate that “lol” has been ruined, as the last line made me quite literally LOL. Wait, maybe we can just start capitalizing it again like we did in the 90s to signify that we really mean it?

  14. Rebecca, what were President-elect Palin and her running mate Bobby Jindal doing to combat the end of the world? Something folksy, no doubt. Can the antichrist be stopped by a shotgun wedding?

  15. Did anyone ever think that maybe the reason they stopped at 2012 was that they were conquered by the Aztecs while working on 2013

  16. Last week I was pissed off because 2009 is filling up and 2010 has a week blocked off. The Mayans must have been pretty good planners to make the calendar go ahead so many years. I didn’t know that there were that many “Far Side” cartoons.

    What pictures would be on the Mayan calendar? I’m guessing 2012 would be chimps in people clothes.

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