Just a minute ... let’s give a big hand to the Doomsday clock, the symbolic indicator of just how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction.
On Tuesday, at 6pm sharp, the little hand will be moved. In what direction remains to be seen.
Atomic scientists will emerge blinking from their labs to get our own tickers all of a-quiver, as they contemplate just where to stick the minutes of year-long deliberations.
Just the sort of news you need for a cheery start to 2012. Indeed, I was only marginally more cheered by the Royal Mint rolling out brand new 50p coins which explain the offside rule. Very handy – so long as you don’t use them to pay for your pie at tomorrow’s Fleetwood v Blackpool derby match. Of course, we all know we’re doomed. Ultimately. Dad’s Army told us that years ago, but it was more of a laughing matter then.
Back in 2006, astrophysicist Stephen Hawkins suggested things were so bad we should at least start the quest to spread out further into space to colonise the nearest habitable planet.
He said it again on repeats of his series on telly the other day, but when authorities are already whingeing about free buses for the elderly, or clamping down on blue badge parking for the disabled, what hope of raising the finance to emigrate to Mars, alluring as it is?
Life on Uranus would be too awful to contemplate. Who wants that on their intergalactic passport? It’s like that perfume I love from Lancome. “Oui.” It’s French for yes, but you try explaining that when someone says: “Ooh, you smell nice, what is it?” “Er, Oui. As in o-u-i.”
And given the time it’s taken to find a home for our heritage trams or reinstate a light rail (tram) link to Fleetwood, carting our finest breeders to Alpha Centauri seems a bit pie in the sky. It’s 4.36 light years away, so would take about 60,000 years to get there. Even if we opted for the no-frills Ryanair shuttle.
And are they still talking of charging for the loo? Sixty thousand years is a long time to spend with legs crossed, even when stored cryogenically next to the frozen pizzas for the pilots. Just picture the inflight entertainment. The endless repeats.
I’ve been contemplating Armageddon since my brother gave our mother the entire series of Prisoner Cell Block H for her birthday. It’s bad enough being forced to watch the Emmerdale omnibus with running commentary.
But now it’s payback time. The last time the Doomsday Clock hand moved was January 2010 – when the minute hand was pushed back one minute. It’s stood at six minutes to midnight ever since.
Six minutes. Long enough to make a cuppa, catch the end of Emmerdale or splash on some Oui.
The clock, as they say, is ticking. I’m alarmed...