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More Dogs on Main

Although I have not attempted to research this, I’d be willing to bet that in the entire world, our local Home Depot store is the only one where there is a reasonable chance of encountering a mountain lion in the parking lot. That certainly adds an unusual element to the overall quality of life.

Last week’s news that a mountain lion had been hit by a car and killed on the Highway 40 frontage road was sad, but not all that surprising. There have been reports of lions in Round Valley all winter. As the deer herd starts moving from the winter range, the cat would have been on the move with them. Or it might simply have been going to Silver Creek for a drink of water. Wildlife and freeways are a bad mix.

There is something pretty cool about having that kind of wildlife right in our little patch of suburban bliss. Moose on Main Street and disrupting golf games, mountain lions lurking in the shadows along the bike trails you don’t get that just anywhere. It’s about the time of year when I sometimes get bears in my yard. I’m so far out in the sticks that it’s not surprising to have that kind of wildlife in my yard. But a mountain lion practically in the Home Depot parking lot is unexpected, and very cool. On the other hand, if you are a kindergartener waiting for the school bus early in the morning, having bears and mountain lions on the prowl probably puts a little different cast on things.

If mountain lions aren’t enough to worry about, we’ve only got a week before the end of the world. According to Harold Camping, an 89-year-old radio preacher and civil engineer from California, the end is not only near, it’s scheduled for 6 p.m. local time on May 21. It will start on the Pacific Rim, I guess near the International Dateline, and then proceed with a kind of rolling rapture around the world. That conveniently allows plenty of time for last-minute repentance. If Sydney gets lifted up, we can all become true believers before it hits New York. Camping thinks that about 2 percent of the world’s population will be raised up to heaven that day.

This is not Camping’s first rodeo. He was sure the end was going to happen on September 6, 1994. He was not particularly apologetic on September 7 after hundreds of believers had disposed of all their worldly possessions and prepared for their exit. It had to be one of those WTF moments when it was business as usual. The only explanation was that Camping had not yet completed his study of the Book of Jeremiah, which contained critical data. This time, he’s read the whole Bible, and is sure of it.

It’s difficult to find fault with his methodology. I mean, there is nothing more suitable for mathematical analysis than a 2,000-year-old book (or 5,000 for the Old Testament), filled with metaphor and allegory, that has been translated several times. Certainly the Greek words from the second century would not have changed in meaning at all between then and the King James Bible translation 1,500 years later.

According to "The Independent," a London-based Internet news service, Camping’s analysis determined that May 21 is the big day, "because that will be 722,500 days from 1 April AD33, which he believes was the day of the Crucifixion. The figure of 722,500 is important because you get it by multiplying three holy numbers (five, 10 and 17) together twice. ‘When I found this out, I tell you, it blew my mind,’ he said."

But if you take the square root of 722,500, you get 850, and everybody knows what that means. Okay, maybe not everybody. That is the area code for the Florida panhandle beginning in 1998. And if Bible arithmetic predicted telephone area codes in Florida, the rapture is a slam-dunk.

There is so much to do to get ready. I’m assuming, of course, that I didn’t make the cut and will be observing rather than participating in the great departure. So what do you serve at the barbecue? Beer too cheap? Champagne too much? Where is the best place to watch it from? I’m thinking maybe that great deck at the Montage Hotel might be a great place to watch.

On the other hand, I don’t think there will be many local folks leaving. In fact, it might be hard to tell if it even happened around here. Your neighbors may have been vacuumed up to heaven, or just have slipped down to Moab for the weekend.

But I’m pretty sure I’ll still be here.

Tom Clyde practiced law in Park City for many years. He lives on a working ranch in Woodland and has been writing this column for nearly 25 years.


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