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Surfers' paradise

Dixe Wills

dixe.jpgIn the olden days, when the world was young, I studied theology. Of course God himself was not so old then which meant his many biographies were shorter reads. The Last Days™, however, were further away and so frustratingly tricky to predict with any certainty.

No wonder there were schisms and divisions among my peers when it came to the precise nature of the end times. The amillennialists, pre-millennialists and post-millennialists were constantly at each others' throats. Always a little confused, I declared myself an anti-millinerist and became violently opposed to the establishment of hat shops.

Thank goodness, then, for Vivos (, an organisation that straightforwardly asks: 'Where would you go with three days' notice?' I always fancy Cornwall at this time of year but apparently that's the wrong answer. According to them we're at the mercy of a number of highly attractive apocalyptic 'Earth devastating events' including 'a pole shift, super volcano eruptions, solar flares, earthquakes, asteroids, tsunamis, nuclear attack, bio terrorism, chemical warfare and even widespread social anarchy' (I do enjoy that 'even'), which means we should all use our 72 hours to get to one of Vivos' underground shelters.

Call me an unreconstructed child of the seventies if you must but I was always under the impression that we'd get four minutes' warning in the event of a nuclear attack. Perhaps nowadays the missiles refuse to fly if there's too much volcano ash in the air.

Anyway, a mere US$50,000 will buy you a place in one of what are literally the time-shares to end all time-shares. Children are half price and pets come free, so Mr Tiddles the anaconda needn't perish in the coming global fireball either. Inconveniently, all Vivos' 200-person shelters are to be built beneath US soil, so non-citizens might want to relocate now just in case one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse accidentally destroys your local airport on his way to meting out some famine/pestilence etc. Worse still, your cash only buys you a year's stay in a shelter. After that, you get shoved up on land to tough it out with whatever lifeforms have survived the conflagration. Most scientists will tell you that that will be cockroaches, certain types of bacteria, and Ant and Dec.

Although Vivos make no predictions for the precise timing of doomsday, they are very keen indeed to flag up the ancient Mayan prediction for the end of the world, viz 21st December 2012. Coincidentally, this is also the date when the sun will be within sucking range of the black hole that inhabits the middle of the Milky Way, so it's pretty much a given.

Before you empty that piggy bank though, there's one remaining hurdle: you have to convince the Vivos Selection Committee that you're worthy of a place. I've looked at their criteria and, frankly, I wouldn't get your hopes up.
But take heart: 'vivos' isn't just the Spanish word for 'living' or 'alive' (pedantwatch: it's the masculine plural of the adjective) - it's also a slang term for 'wide boys'. On reflection, you may well want to take your chances with St Peter instead. n