Back about 5,125 years ago the great Mayan king Pacal called a meeting of all the people. Next to the lectern from which he spoke stood a large stone tablet covered with carvings, or “glyphs,” as they are now known.
“Look at what the Olmecs are doing,” Pacal said. “They call it a calendar. I think we should have one too, don’t you?”
Everyone agreed that they needed a calendar to keep pace with Olmec technology, but when King Pacal asked for a volunteer to create such a wondrous calendar, not one hand went up.
Cozi Cotyl, a man of steadfast character, was in the audience and noticed the lack of response. “Holy Camazotz” he thought, somebody’s got to do this, so he slowly raised his hand. A cheer went up from the crowd and Cotyl became chairman of the unpaid Calendar Committee; in fact, he was the only member.
Even though Cozi had solicited suggestions from the citizens, none were forthcoming until after he had carved out the first version of the calendar. Then everyone became a critic. “I think it should be 260 days long.” “Why don’t you make it 18 months of 20 days each?” “Boy, Cozi, who taught you how to spell?”
Never-the-less, Cozi persisted along with the increasing critical commentary from citizens who wouldn’t lift a finger to carve even the first glyph.
After several years of unrewarded calendar making and criticism from his countrymen, Cozi struck on a plan. He worked day and night until finally he was ready to present it to King Pacal and the council.
“I’m tired of carving glyphs and receiving nothing but abuse,” Cozi said. “I want to retire and spend time with my grandkids. I want to go fishing. I want to go to Chichen-Itza and play a little Pok-A-Tok.”
Well, who’ll do the calendar,” King Pacal asked?
“That’s the beauty thing,” Cozi said. I chiseled out a calendar that goes until December 21, 2012, so that ought to keep you going for a while.”
“Why December 21, 2012? That’s only 5,125 years. Kind of a curious number, don’t you think?”
“Well, that’s when my chisel broke and I figure that should give the Council enough time to find a new calendar maker.”
“Yeah, we can do that, maybe sometime in 2011. All in favor? The ayes have it,” King Pacal stated thunderously. “OK, let’s go play some Pok-A-Tok.”
As fate would have it, the great Mayan society fell upon tough times, what with the Conquistadors and all, and a new calendar maker was never appointed.
Fortunately for us, the world won’t end on Dec. 21. The Mayan calendar simply fell victim to apathy and the age-old practice of kicking the can down the road, both of which are busily at work in today’s America. That attitude and practice ended the Mayan calendar; let’s pray they don’t end us.
Tom Maloy of Powder Springs is a retired businessman and a member of the Georgia Tea Party Board of Directors.