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Nathan's column: Unburdened before the end

There has been a whole lot of fuss lately about the Mayans and what some will tell you is their prediction that the world will end this week in a hail of fire, populations devoured by serpents and, worst of all, condemned to endless reruns of The Jersey Shore.

Something like that, anyway. I'll admit I haven't always paid very close attention.

There is some reasonable debate about how seriously to take these predictions. On the one hand, the Mayans were an advanced civilization that built remarkable pyramids and discovered an early version of the substance we now know as Nerf. On the other, their entire culture was pretty much wiped out centuries ago and their predictions haven't always proved reliable. The Mayans, it turns out, were notoriously bad at Fantasy Football, always finishing at the bottom of an Ancient Civilizations League that was dominated by the Meso-potamians (obviously).

Still, it hardly seems worth taking a chance. If the world is going to end before the weekend comes, I feel like it's time to get a few things off of my chest.

First of all: Pop Tarts. I don't get them. By my measure there is precisely one flavor of Pop Tarts that isn't off-putting in some hard-to-define way. And yet, they continue to exist. And they continue to exist in more than that one flavor, which for the life of me I can't think of right now.

I don't get rugby, either. I've seen a surprising amount of it on television over the past year, and I still have don't understand what the heck is going on. It's a little like football and a little like soccer, but mostly it's like a bunch of really big guys in snug shorts running around and tackling each other.

I'm also led to understand that there's a whole other version of the sport that I haven't even seen yet. I think it involves more people. And maybe a gazelle.

As much as I like working for a newspaper, if I could have any job I wanted, this wouldn't be it. I'd be an outer space lion tamer. I still might be someday, assuming we ever make contact with outer space lions. I have high hopes for the next rover we send up. You know, if we ever get to send up another rover.

Speaking of which, I've always thought Rover was a pretty stupid name for a dog.

I think Family Guy is really funny.

(I'm sorry. That's not true. I just wanted to see what it felt like to type it, and I figured this might be my last chance.)

Sometimes, I dream about being named American Idol. Not because I'm secretly a great singer, but because I believe someday America might come to idolize some combination of moderate biking skill, doodling and non-sequiturs.

I really like cheese.

If the world really does end tomorrow, there's a lot of things I'll never get to do. I'll never go skydiving. I'll never see the Great Wall of China or the pyramids. And I'll never belch the entire alphabet. If I'm honest, it's that last one that hurts the most.

I could go on, I suppose. But the I'm still not sure this whole Mayan Apocalypse is really going to happen. And as good as it feels to makes me feel to unburden myself like this, even if the world is about to end, I suspect there might be better ways to spend my time. I got a late start on the Star Wars edition of Angry Birds, for example. And if I want to finish all of the levels before Doomsday, I really need to focus.