Speeding through dark prairie with only the pale green glow of the dashboard, I listened to a midnight preacher rattle and roar, talking about how the Apocalypse is near, how the mark of the beast is everywhere you look, and yes, these are truly the end of days.

Demons and hexes would help explain why some people behave the way they do. It would certainly account for 2020. But we’re always bracing for the end of the world. We’ve been doing it since the beginning of time. It’s an easy way to feel special, maybe even chosen.

At three in the morning, I briefly considered buying a product that converts stagnant pond water into fresh drinking water for my whole family. “The coming economic disaster will transform the globe,” said the pitchman. “Are you prepared?” A retired general talked about remote viewing, and a young man from Cleveland worried about the kill shot from the sun. I lost the signal before I could find out what he meant. Beneath the static, I swear I heard a woman whispering, “You need to hide your mind.”