Things I Don’t Miss About the United States, Part I

Being back in the US for more than a couple days has brought into focus some things I haven’t missed since moving to Quebec in 2004.

Top among them would have to be all the crazy forms of religion that freely suffuse public life here. For instance:

As we have traversed various California highways over the last couple weeks, we’ve been seeing stickers and billboards about how the world is going to end on May 21st. That’s right, there’s a specific date planned. And it comes with an advertisement for something called “family radio,” though I’m guessing there’s nothing really “family” about it. Salon has a nice explanation here.

There’s so much wrong with this that I don’t even know where to begin. But the main question I have is influenced by another thing I don’t miss, which is American money culture. Why there isn’t a line in Las Vegas or a futures market where I can make some money off this proposition? Futures traders bet against harvests and things like that. Can I somehow bet a lot of money against the human race being annihilated on the 21st of May? That would be awesome, since I either make a lot of money on the proposition or it doesn’t matter. I suppose that’s why there’s no angle to it.

As it stands, either a lot of people are going to be disappointed when they wake up on May 22nd, or I’m going to be really surprised on the 21st.