Waldorf Apocalypse! The Explorer's Club Dinner

waldorf astoria night exterior Waldorf Apocalypse! The Explorer's Club DinnerOne year, nine months and two days before the world will end, the Explorers Club paid homage to our demise with its 107th annual dinner. The theme was “Exploring 2012: The Maya Prophecy.”

For some light entertainment, the club ferried in men and women dressed as ancient shamans. In face paint and feather-heavy head garb, they pounced upon the skeptics with Mesoamerican hellfire, whooping and beating on drums.

Some guests seemed impressed, but regular members scoffed—they were, after all, men and women who had scaled mountains, touched arctic poles, wrestled wild things and dashed through archaeological ruins.

Stella Schnabel was a bit dubious about the 2012 eschatology. “I do think it’s very interesting, it’s something to look into, but I don’t believe in it,” Ms. Schnabel said. “It’s a good theme, because it’s a festive one.”

The apocalypse? Really?

She considered, then grew more sober. “The apocalypse is happening in Japan right now,” she noted.

Ms. Schnabel then wheeled The Observer over to Edward O. Wilson, famed biologist and Harvard professor emeritus. He was sitting with Neil Patterson, chairman of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

“I’m not really into the theme,” Mr. Patterson said. “Are you, Ed?”

The 81-year-old academic  titan didn’t miss a beat.

“The end of time will come 1,000 years after Jesus returns—and that will happen within the next week or two,” Mr. Wilson said, deadpan. “We have to have the Rapture, for all of us who have been baptized in the Catholic Church. Then we have the Tribulations, when the Antichrist rules Earth.”

“That’s a coupla days, right,” Mr. Patterson interjected.

“No, that’s a thousand years,” Mr. Wilson responded. “And don’t forget Armageddon! When the armies of Satan will meet the armies of Jesus. Jesus will win, of course, and time will come to an end.”

Then we can all relax, Professor?

“Forget this ridiculous story of the Mayans,” the famed scientist concluded. “And stick to the simple truth found in the Book of Revelation.”

nfreeman [at] observer.com | @nfreeman1234