Is the world ending? Wichita businesses offer deals, humor as Mayan ‘doomsday’ approaches
12/19/2012 4:52 PM
12/20/2012 3:19 PM
Consider it the ultimate Final Friday.
The ancient Mayan calendar ends Friday, Dec. 21, and some think that could mean the end of the world.
At Lucky’s Bar on East Douglas in Wichita, it means live music by Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy and $5 “apocalypse shots” Friday night.
What’s in an apocalypse shot?
“Umm, I’m not sure,” said Charli Lauer, who answered the phone at Lucky’s last week.
She asked around – “Hey, what’s in the apocalypse shot? … Do you know what’s in the apocalypse shot?” – but got no answer and finally just said, “You probably don’t want to know.”
Like the global cataclysm they celebrate, doomsday cocktails should have a hint of mystery.
And a little profit.
John Hoopes, a University of Kansas anthropologist and an expert on Maya culture, says the 2012 doomsday phenomenon is “a myth that is being promoted in part for commercial reasons.”
Essentially, Hoopes said, the Maya – a population of ancient and modern peoples whose territory includes Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and western El Salvador – tracked time according to increasingly larger cycles.
Some scholars believe the largest, “Great Cycle” will conclude on or around Friday, which has led to global hand-wringing and at least one Hollywood blockbuster (“2012”) starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet.
But just as your wall calendar ends on Dec. 31 and the world keeps turning, the same goes for the Mayan calendar, Hoopes says. Just because you run out of pages doesn’t mean life will cease to exist.
“Doomsday prophecies have been a part of Western culture for at least 2,500 years,” he said, “and the world has not yet come to an end.”
Hoopes, a noted doomsday skeptic, spent last week in Helsinki, Finland, where he spoke about the 2012 phenomenon at the European Maya Conference.
He’ll spend the milestone day itself in the heart of Mayan territory – Chichen Itza, Mexico – where he’ll attend “Synthesis 2012,” a global music festival and spiritual celebration.
According to event organizers, the global gathering is scheduled to coincide with the end of the Mayan calendar and will mark the “bridge of transition to the golden age of the Fifth Sun.”
“Should be a scene,” Hoopes said in an e-mail.
There’s a big bash in Andover on Friday as well, when Casey Yingling and Stephen Maurer are scheduled to get married at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church.
The couple, who met in high school, decided to hold their wedding on the supposed doomsday because “we figured, if the world’s going to end, we might as well be with everyone we love and have a big party,” said Yingling, 25.
The “attending” entry on the couple’s RSVP, right after the line for each invitee’s number of guests, notes: “If the world ends, we might as well party!”
Many businesses in Wichita and elsewhere are greeting the purported apocalypse with humor and festivity, offering “limited time” deals or supplies to help revelers.
Hooters on North Rock Road is advertising an “End of the World Party” on Friday that will feature drink specials and a swimsuit contest. Some fitness centers have scheduled workouts geared to helping you fight zombies and other doomsday dangers.
On its website, Party City advertises “Party Like There’s No To-Maya” lunch plates, cups, shot glasses and napkins that feature a hieroglyphic calendar and Mayan character in the center. Other party items proclaim, “I Survived the Mayan Calendar” – “should you still be around on the 22nd to clean up after the bash.”
The cafe at Watermark Books in Wichita is offering Mayan hot chocolate – like Mexican hot chocolate but with an extra cayenne kick – for a limited time through Friday.
Beth Golay, the store’s marketing manager, said the staff wanted to mark the end-of-the-world occasion somehow. And the hot chocolate has been pretty popular.
Should the world keep turning, Watermark will replace the Mayan hot chocolate with some other kind of tasty treat on Saturday, Golay said: “We really just hope to see everyone the next day.”
Lucky’s on East Douglas is optimistic as well. The day after its apocalypse party, the bar has scheduled a “Survivors Bash” with beer specials and Southern Comfort “Survivors Punch.”
No matter what happens on Friday – floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or killer viruses – a recent mailing from the Sedgwick County treasurer’s office proves the adage that only two things are certain: death and taxes.
The due date for your Sedgwick County property taxes is Thursday – the day before the purported apocalypse – so pay up.
“That,” said county Commissioner Jim Skelton, “was by design.”
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