There I was, minding my own business, chomping on a chicken sandwich in a corner of the Greencastle McDonald's (Hemingway had Sloppy Joe's in Key West for a hangout, and I have to settle for Mickey D's) when I came across the Story of the Century.
With apologies to both the Lindbergh kidnapping and O.J. Simpson case, the Story of Century was right there in Wednesday's USA Today.
In a newspaper ad. On Page 4. In a full-page color ad that cost $189,400 to put in front of the eyes of 1.8 million USA Today readers.
It is through this medium that Rev. Harold Camping, an Oakland, Calif., pastor, proclaims the end of the world as we know it will commence with a "worldwide earthquake" on Saturday, May 21. THIS Saturday. As in tomorrow!
The reverend's predicted quake is due to shake us up about 6 p.m. (assuming that is California time, that's 9 p.m. here, and most assuredly 5 o'clock somewhere for those who would rather not dwell on all the gloom and doom).
Honestly, I was finally beginning to come to grips with the idea the Mayans just might be right after all (thanks to the most bizarre weather year on record in 2011) with their declaration of Dec. 21, 2012 as the end of the world, and now this has to rear its ugly head.
So let me get this straight: Moses got the big stone tablets chiseled with our words to live by, and now that end is apparently near, all we get is Page 4 in the USA Today? From someone named Rev. Camping? Seriously?!?
And how, pray tell, did the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Indianapolis Star all manage to miss putting this story on their front pages?
With that in mind, I confronted our own crack advertising staff, wondering why John York and the guys couldn't wrangle a full-page ad out of Rev. Camping for the Banner Graphic? Don't we deserve a piece of the end-of-the-world advertising pie? One last Big Score before the Big Kaboom.
Seems we did have a shot at getting that ad, but the earliest we could get it in the paper would have been -- wait for it -- Monday. Just kidding, of course.
Regardless, the self-proclaimed Saturday is Judgment Day ad advises all readers: "God declares (it) your responsibility to warn all peoples under your authority."
So there, consider yourselves warned.
And for the procrastinators among you, by all means put off those weekend chores. Max out the credit cards. Cash out your 401K and put all your money on black at the roulette table (not that you'll need any of it after Saturday anyway).
Just think about the immediate ramifications. No more worrying about $5-a-gallon gasoline. No chance LeBron James ever wins an NBA title now. And the NFL lockout? Let the players and owners divide that worthless $9.5 billion any way they want.
One report indicates Rev. Camping claims Saturday is only the beginning of The End. That it will actually take until Oct. 21 for it to totally occur, all of which means my Cubs still have a chance to make it to the World Series, just no chance to win it.
My absolute favorite part of the USA Today ad is the final "Note to all readers" in green lettering at the bottom: "Please buy multiple copies of this paper and send an original to your leaders, relatives and friends ..."
Of course, if you plan to mail them to those folks, you'd better hurry.
I don't think the mailman delivers on Judgment Day.