IMMEDIATELY after those three hijacked airliners were caused by terrorists to nosedive into each of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon, I received through short messaging service (SMS) Nostradamus’s supposed “prophecy” regarding the event. I’m sure most of you received it, too. It was so moronic it still makes me cringe whenever it recurs in my memory.

* * *

We are sending to and indirectly teaching each and every one of the texting masa nothing but stupidities, so I am led to conclude that there might be some wisdom in reducing the number of our free text messages.

If we have to pay for more text messages, we just might be forced to think about whether or not each message we are about to send is reasonable, so as not to waste a precious peso.

***

By the time you read this, you will have already thought of the things I will be rambling about. For those who utterly know nothing about it, the “prophecy” speaks of “twin brothers” and a “great fortress” burning in a great city, the leader of a nation succumbing, and a big war erupting as that city burns. I won’t reproduce here the prophecy exactly as I received it. I cringe, remember?

***

Who can forget the millennium bug, the glitch in computers that was supposed to create total chaos as it caused computer timers to fail to recognize the year ’00? Back then, all sorts of “prophecies” cropped up. The end would come in year 2000, they said, when the computer glitch takes place as January 1, 2000 entered the scene.

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I remember Time magazine featuring people who had really stocked up food and other supplies, people who planned to stay alive in shelters as the world crumbled, crushing unbelievers with it.

Unfortunately for the believers, the only things crumbling when the clock struck 12:01 on January 1 were the Oreos I snacked on after the midnight Mass, and the only glitches I saw were in the loose packaging of some firecrackers, causing them to go pffft! rather than bang!.

I suspect that even some believers of the impending doom were among the people in New York’s Times Square or Paris’s Eiffel tower, partying and not holed up in shelters at all.

* * *

I wonder if the terrorists had realized that they had made a mistake. Some Islamic fundamentalists say that by the attack on the American landmarks, the terrorists have shown that the United States is not at all powerful.

But the way I see it, by attacking these American landmarks, the terrorists have affirmed that the United States is powerful. The terrorist act was nothing but a cowardly and treacherous attack when the United States wasn’t looking.

* * *

My mom is an avid reader of U.S. tabloids, chief of which is the National Enquirer. During balikbayan season, boxes arriving from the States cannot fail to contain at least 10 back issues of the publication. The rest of the year, she buys old issues from National Bookstore.

Sometimes, we are lucky to get, aside from the Enquirer, another publication, the Sun. A particular issue of the Sun in 1999 featured several medieval prophets and their prophecies, which were—you guessed it—hotly debated with regards to their genuineness. Some prophecies happened already, some were about the Y2k bug, and the rest dealt with events beyond 2000.

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* * *

If memory serves me right, it was in that issue where I first encountered Nostradamus’s purported foreknowledge of the September 12 attack on the U.S.

But I couldn’t be sure. The “prophecy” that had been circulating lately could have been created after the incident, fanning the flames of panic. Knowingly or otherwise, the pranksters who composed it have left people thinking that Armageddon has just been rescheduled to a much earlier date. But if it was created after the event, it could have been twisted to fit what happened, thus the degree of accuracy in the first part. The last two events—the succumbing of the leader and the big war—are yet to be seen.

***

I see two similar accompanying events in the bug and the recent terrorist attacks: the prophecies of impending doom.

But evidently, we now have a more serious problem than the bug. Thousands died in the suicide attack. But please, oh please, let’s quit the paranoia and be realistic.

If we scare ourselves, terrorists will love it, and will literally force the fulfillment of these “prophecies” just to scare us some more. Terrorists could use these so-called “prophecies” like blueprints and execute them. They will laugh their teeth off when they see us scurrying to every direction.

Do we want to become puppets in a circus we ourselves have created? Let’s think about this before we stock up supplies that will to last until the next ice age. We should fight the puppeteers and cut the strings.

***

Nostradamus’s “prophecy” is not genuine. It is nothing but a prank. Let’s erase it from our minds. And from our inboxes.

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Rock on, live on

***

The moral: Review your message before you forward it.

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