If there's any truth to that crackpot idea about the Mayan calendar and the end of the world, our last day on this Earth is near: Friday, Dec. 21, 2012.
How would you want to spend your final hours? Is there a favorite last meal you want to enjoy or favorite music you want to hear once more? Is there a book you want to read before it's too late? A favorite place to visit?
We asked some well-known entertainers and authors what they would do before the world ended. Here's how some say they want to wrap things up.
Show business legend ( The Carol Burnett Show )
"I'd do what I do every morning: Tag-team the New York Times crossword puzzle with my husband, with my cat Mabel on my lap."
Actress (span class="bold_italic">Wicked ) and country music artist
"Nothing makes me happier than doing what I love to do, and that's singing. I would love to be onstage, in front of an audience, singing my show, enjoying the give/take that a performer and an audience have. I've always said that that's the way I want to die, too, which sounds a little morbid, but I would because it makes me happy. I don't think the Mayans got it right, by the way. I think we have a lot of time left."
Film critic ( Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide)
"I'd like to be able to watch a great, classic comedy one more time -- maybe Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times or the Marx Brothers' Duck Soup -- so I could go out with a smile on my face."
Comedian (Blue Collar Comedy Tour)
"If it's the last day, if the Mayans were right, which I don't think they are, because, A, they didn't have a Gregorian calendar, which meant they didn't have leap years, so technically this should have happened already, and B, if the Mayans were so smart, so forward-thinking, why aren't they around today? But let's go on the assumption that they're right. Here's my perfect last day: I wake up in the morning. I make mad, passionate love to my wife in the shower. I get dressed, give my kids a kiss, tell them I love them. Then I play 18 holes at Augusta and I shoot a 78."
Daytime TV judge (Divorce Court )
"My last day on Earth would be spent with my family. On a beach. Eating an unprecedented amount of chocolate cake!"
Actor (Ben and Kate)
"Where would I want to be if it really were the last day? Close to friends and family. Probably playing some Halo 4. And probably with a hot girl around."
Author (Merry Christmas, Alex Cross)
"Everyone should have the experience of reading James Joyce's Ulysses before they die. Preferably right before, actually. Those dark satirists may have been onto something about the unfairness of the world. Break out the Joseph Heller, Mark Twain, George Orwell. If the end is coming, we may as well get to laugh. And if I could talk my wife and son into playing a round of golf with me, then that would be perfect. I'd rather spend the time with them than be anywhere else, whether it's the apocalypse or any Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday."
Actress (Days of Our Lives ) and reality TV personality (The Biggest Loser)
"I would just want to be with my family. I have two beautiful children and my husband. The perfect last day for me would be to be with them. Barbecue outside, play soccer in our back yard, swim in our pool and just be together."
Heisman Trophy-winning athlete
"If I knew the world was coming to an end, I would do anything a man would do to spend those last minutes with family and loved ones. That's all."
Author (The Fifth Assassin )
"The saddest part of the end of the world is the cold reminder that it takes the actual end of the world for us to finally snap awake and live out our favorite day. If you want to spend time with your kids (which is all I want), spend that time with them today. In fact, I'm going out for ice cream with them right now. My doctor friend said he'd spend his last hours taking drugs just to make it all go away. Such a doctor. Personally, I'd be writing. All I'd want to do is leave a message for whoever comes next. Even if this planet is ending, that's never the end. Nothing ever ends. I'd be scribbling a note to put on some awesome rocket ship."
Actor (Person of Interest )
"I would want to get together with loved ones and I would want to go somewhere that I can have my farewell look at the Earth. I live in Manhattan, so I think I would go with loved ones to Central Park. I wouldn't want to participate in the madness of trying to exit the island. That would be all too frantic. The tunnels and bridges would be clogged. So I would go into Central Park and just while away the day -- and maybe read aloud from Shakespeare's The Tempest."
Author (The Twelve )
"Here's my doomsday list: 1. A set of hard-fought tennis with somebody who plays much better than I do. 2. A long run through falling autumn leaves, listening to Keith Jarrett's Koln Concert, part IIC. 3. An hour of fly-fishing at sunset on a crystal-clear river full of monster trout. 4. A conversation with a friend who lives in San Francisco -- the funniest, most filthy-minded guy I know. 5. A phone call with my mother. 6. A cheeseburger and chocolate malt at Beck's Prime in Houston. And yet, probably I wouldn't do any of these things. I'd just spend the day with my wife and kids, the four of us piled into our big bed."
Actor ( Being Human )
"I'd take my leather jacket, tear a sleeve off, get a...dog, and drive off into the desert looking for trouble. Failing that, I think I'd sit around with friends talking about all the crazy stuff we got into...and then asking whether it accomplished anything. But that sounds not very fun at all. Let's go back to Plan A. Sign me up for Thunderdome!"
Author (The Blood Gospel )
"For my last day, I'd spend it with friends and family in a cabin on the beach at Lake Tahoe: wine and beer, barbecue steaks, music playing, then fireworks. OK, now I want to do that today!"
Broadway and TV actress (Bunheads)
"My last day would probably involve food. My mom's beef stroganoff or my dad's hamburger and french fries. I'd love to be with my friends and family, sitting around a fire and just sharing memories. That would be a nice way to go out."
Actor (The Walking Dead)
"Family. I know that sounds corny. But I would hope to be with a significant other and family surrounding me, just circling the wagons with each other and trusting that wherever we're going, at least while we were here, we loved and we loved fully and we stayed together."
Karen Thompson Walker
Author (The Age of Miracles)
"I would certainly spend the last day with my family. I also think that music would be important. And the song I'd most want to hear on repeat in those last few hours would be Resurrection Fern, by Iron & Wine, which is as good an elegy for the Earth as any other piece of poetry I know. Sam Beam, the lead singer, writes with a reverence that feels like prayer, a luminous precision that always reminds me how extraordinary the world around us really is. His lyrics are simple but crystalline: 'the timid shade of the autumn leaves,' 'the cornfield crows,' 'the oak tree and its resurrection fern.' There's something strangely reassuring about the way the song so clearly charts the details of the natural world. And these images would seem all the more moving on a day when the world and everything in it were about to disappear."