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Posted on Fri, May 20, 2011 : 11:05 a.m.

Judgment Day, The Rapture and the last day on Earth - what do I wear?

By Richard Retyi

Retired civil engineer Harold Camping has done the math. The 89-year-old founder and president of Family Radio, a popular California-based religious broadcasting network predicts that Judgment Day is at hand: Saturday, May 21, 2011.

On Thursday, the afternoon before my final day on Earth. I find myself sitting with two friends at Old Town talking about the end of days. My article is due at 8 a.m. Friday morning, but here I sit, throwing on an afternoon drunk and talking about lakes of fire.

What is going to do, fire me? I’ve got plenty of money to tide me over until Saturday.

I should hedge my bets. Camping was wrong once before. He prophesized that 1994 would be the end of the world, but when the world kept on spinning, he claimed the prediction was preliminary. In the 15 years since, Camping been able to check his work and nail down the real date — tomorrow. Am I ready for judgment day? Are you? 

What do I wear?

When we get to May 21 on the calendar in any city or country in the world, and the clock says about 6 p.m., there’s going to be this tremendous earthquake,” Camping told New York Magazine on May 11.


Flick photo courtesy of Ron Bieber

“As each area of the world gets to that point of 6 p.m., then it will happen there, and until it happens, the rest of the world will be standing far off and witnessing the horrible thing that is happening.”

“Australia is going to be raptured and we’ll still be at the bar,” says pal Tim Chilcote. “You’ll be able to see the Rapture on the horizon and outdrive it like a tornado.”

This term, The Rapture, is the one most associated with Camping’s prediction — one of the first events of Judgment Day. In the rapture, the saved are “caught up” and gathered in the air, where they’ll meet Christ who is returning to earth.

Some say the Rapture will be a gentle floating, others a “lightning fast” rise. It’s unclear if it matters what you’re wearing. I’d say dress up, just in case.

To be raptured you have to believe in the Bible and accept Jesus as the eternal God. Camping estimates 200 million will be Raptured, leaving about seven billion (his math) on earth. After that, the real horror show begins.

Camping says we’ll have five months left (“a horror story”) before the world ends on Oct. 21 (oh no, Kim Kardashian’s 31st birthday!), but most internet sites Jeeves sent me to describe the Great Tribulation — seven really, really bad years.

Look forward to a quarter of the world’s population dying right away from war, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. A giant meteor that turns the seas to blood is on the way, more stuff will tumble out of the sky poisoning the water, we’ll move to a 16-hour cycle instead of 24, 100-pound hail will fall, and there’ll be a final battle where Jesus and his army battle the Antichrist in Armageddon.

Tim, who last set foot in a church six years ago, represents most of my social circle. “I doubt I’m getting Raptured, and I can’t say I’d be any good in a seven-year war,” he says without a hint of modesty.

My other friend at the table, the son of a minister, has opinions, but James Dickson doesn’t want any more Twitter followers, so he declines comment (follow James on Twitter!). He does seem pretty skeptical about the whole business, and he’s not alone. Most members of the religious community don’t believe Camping’s prediction, and no one I’ve spoken to is concerned.

“I’m pretty sure I’ll be left behind when it happens,” says Claudia Elaine Kimble, one of the fine staff members at Old Town. She’s scheduled to work Friday and Saturday, meaning she’ll service humanity on its final day and in its final moments on Earth. Tip well.

“We might be hiring after the rapture,” Claudia says. “Some of the kitchen guys are interested in taking care of pets. They’ve talked about starting up a business.”

One of the unfortunate aspects of this Rapture business, if it does happen, is pet care. Since pets can’t read and don’t know who Jesus is, they’ll remain on earth while their saved masters ascend to heaven.

Entrepreneurs have stepped in to take care of your pets while you dash off to your eternal reward for a modest sum. My favorite site is After the Rapture Pet Care, where for just $10 your pet will be well cared for once you’re gone. Well cared for in a world of burning lakes and bloody rivers, that is.

Later in the afternoon I bump into a local musician who prefers not to be identified. “I might lose a few fans, but probably not many.”

Isn’t anyone worried about the end times?

I hit the town to find one person afraid of the Rapture and had zero luck. A sparsely attended Michael Jackson party at Elk’s Lodge was full of skeptics, while birthday party celebrants at the Eight Ball Saloon seemed more concerned with what song would play next on the juke box than if the world would begin a seven-year period of hell on earth.

If this is it, it’s been fun writing for you this past year, and if the world does continue with business as usual on Sunday, I guess I’ll see you around.

Richard Retyi had 13 years of Catholic schooling but is pretty shaky on his end times facts. He also writes the biweeklyish column Lie to Your Cats About Santa and blogs at Follow him on Twitter at @RichRetyi to see how he’s handling the Rapture or email him at



Sat, May 21, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

NEWSFLASH! The rapture has already occurred. No earthquakes, no flashes of lightning, no chaos. One person in the world was raptured, the rest of us are screwed. Enjoy your time here while you still have relative peace. In other news, millions of confident christians are now confused & getting bitter & angry. Details at 11.


Sat, May 21, 2011 : 5:23 p.m.

If anyone has a doubt, I would like to refer them to the Epistle of Apostle Paul to Ephesians. Chapter 6, verse #11 suggests, "Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil." It further suggests in verse # 16, " Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench the fiery darts of the wicked." Taking the sword of spirit is optional and would recommend the helmet of salvation. The problem with Science and Scientific Knowledge and Wisdom is that it has no intrinsic power/energy/force to defend man's fragile existence. Science explains the nature of reality. The nature of reality is such, man derives no comfort, and there is no hope in that reality revealed by Science. Man exists on the surface of planet Earth which in reality has Angular and Linear Speed. Man exists only, and only if there is no sensory perception of this Angular and Linear Speed of earth's motions. Man is defended by an illusion, the illusion generated by the Force of Gravitation which totally destroys the ability to experience the reality of earth's motions. We live here, experiencing alternate periods of light and darkness while the source of light is shining all the time. We need the earth to spin and gives us our day and night and our biological existence is synchronized with this rotational spin of which we have no sensory experience. I welcome Lord's Compassion, Mercy and Grace that supports my existence and Second Coming only establishes the fact that I know as revealed.


Sat, May 21, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.

OK Macabre,Sunset. So you going to go over to Ypsi. Then what?

Will Warner

Sat, May 21, 2011 : 10:16 a.m.

At my age, I'm just hoping to avoid Rupture

David Goldstein

Sat, May 21, 2011 : 5:01 a.m.

Harold Camping may be wrong about the end of world for good and the exact date for it. However, he is completely in error. The world is coming to an end of sorts - it will soon be so completely transformed that we may not be able to recognize it. The Christ is soon to return the world openly, not to destroy it, but inaugurate a whole new age - where justice and egalitarianism prevail. See <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> for more info. Harold Camping may have the last laugh afterall (but he will still be on earth when he does).


Sat, May 21, 2011 : 3:42 a.m.

What do I wear ? Since I have never worn pink, I am going to spray an old suit bright pink ( i do have pink spraypaint in a can) so I can go out in color ! This was a great article Richard, you may have upset some Christians but they are used to being persecuted anyway, especially by the left. I am quite sure I will be one of those &quot;left-behinders&quot;, I was last at church about 4 years ago.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, May 20, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

I know exactly what I will do at 6:00 tomorrow: I will go out to the parking lot. And I'll get in my car and I'll drive real far. And I'll drive all night and then I'll see a light. And it comes right down and lands on the ground. And out comes a man from Mars. And I try to run but he's got a gun. And he shoots me dead and he eats my head. And then I'm in the man from Mars. I go out at night, eatin' cars. I eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too. Mercuries and Subarus. And I don't stop, I keep on eatin' cars. Then, when there's no more cars, I go out at night and eat up bars where the people meet.


Sat, May 21, 2011 : 2:18 a.m.

haha, that's hilarious. took me a minute though :)


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

I was waiting for someone to have a blonde moment


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

I think the most important thing is to be ready to meet God no matter what day it is. This is sad because he is ignorant of the scriptures. The bible says no man knows the hour or the day. I can say beyond a reasonable doubt it will happen one day. Please read Revelation 22:18-19.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

Does anyone know where I can sign up to be one of the Seven Riders (of the Apocalypse)? I have ALWAYS wanted to fly on a horse!


Sat, May 21, 2011 : 6:14 p.m.

Um. Okay. Four. That makes the competition even more intense. I did mean fly ON a horse, not OFF a horse. I can fall off my own horse.


Sat, May 21, 2011 : 1:56 a.m.

Um, it's the *four* horsemen of the apocalypse. There are seven seals. When each of the 1st four seals are opened, a horse and its rider appear and are described. If you want to fulfill your wish of flying on a horse, sign up for the bucking bronco event at your local rodeo. @

Richard Retyi

Fri, May 20, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Holy smokes (pardon the possible pun) The Rapture should be starting in less than 10 hours in Wellington, New Zealand, or right around last call here in Ann Arbor. I've narrowed my fashion choices down to four outfits (one for bedtime, one for morning, one for afternoon and one for predicted Rapture time). I sure hope I chose wisely!


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

Why would Jesus and the Antichrist pick this backwater mudball to fight at? There must be better planets to pick from in the universe... Also, I think Jesus did not believe in Daylight Savings Time, so anyone who does must be a heretic and unworthy of Rapture.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Maybe this'll get me out of having to photograph a 60th surprise birthday party. :~)

Atticus F.

Fri, May 20, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

I cant wait to say I told you so.

Kai Petainen

Fri, May 20, 2011 : 6:12 p.m.

Here's my take on this issue.. (and a photo of an Ann Arbor sunset) <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;The world won't end tomorrow. How do I know? The market told me so.&quot;

Bertha Venation

Fri, May 20, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

hmmm 6pm on Saturday.... I'll be on the boat wearing sunscreen.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

Ah, so that's why most of Indiana moved back to Eastern Time -- the Hoosier Elect want a head start on their CDT brethren. Cheaters!

Top Cat

Fri, May 20, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

What you wear is not overly important. The only thing that is critical is to look busy.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 3:22 p.m.

What to wear? How about more important things to do before the world ends such as: 1) Who to make love to, and how many times (leave with a smile on your face)? 2) Who to call and tell off? 3) Who to call and apologize? 4) See #1 above.


Fri, May 20, 2011 : 3:04 p.m.

I've been wondering whether or not the &quot;6 PM local time&quot; accounts for the fact that some countries do (what we call) daylight savings time and some don't...