2012: Prepare. The end is near.

A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute and Religion News Survey revealed that four out of 10 Americans believe that natural disasters are a sign from God, possibly indicative of the world’s coming end.

Well, shucks, if 40 percent of Americans think this way, there must be a good reason.

Apparently, when the rock band R.E.M. sang “It’s the end of the world as we know it” in 1987, they were 24 years too early. Now it is 2011, and word is out: we have over one year left, depending on who you ask, before our world is scheduled to be terminated. Oh no! What should we do?! Whatever you do, resist the urge to join the mounting wave of mass hysteria. Instead, follow these seven easy steps to survive the impending atrocities.

1. “Hide your kids. Hide your wife. And hide your husbands.” Ensure that your family is protected. Build an underground bunker. But make sure you have a generator to power your bunker’s amenities. This way, you can still power your entertainment devices during your time of seclusion.

2. Go to the supermarket and buy all the available canned goods on the shelf. Do you dislike tuna?  Take it anyway. Who knows how long you will have to survive off this food. Besides, tuna is a good source of protein.

3. Go to the local garden store and buy all the vegetable seeds in stock. If you don’t have a “green thumb,” you might want to also purchase a gardening handbook. Go home and start planting your home garden as soon as possible. When all the food is gone at the supermarket (because you bought it all), you and your family will be able to grow your own.

4. If steps 2 and 3 did not completely deplete your bank accounts, spend the rest of your money. Hurry, dispose of your dollars before they become worthless! Have trouble spending? Give it to someone else who will spend it. (Heck, I’ll spend it for you). Make purchases you would never make in a rational state of mind. Buy that Lamborghini on credit. The world is going to end, so you won’t have to worry about the long-term consequences.

5. Forget about gun control. Buy all the guns you can find — big ones. And buy tons of ammunition to go with the guns. You can store them in your bunker. Oh wait. You spent the last of your money in step 4. Well, hopefully you already own a firearm. If not, befriend a member of the National Rifle Association. Maybe they can help you out.

6. Master the “duck-and-cover” survival technique of the 1950s Cold War nuclear scare. You don’t have a desk to hide under? Any household object such as a table, chair or bed will suffice. In case you are not familiar with this infamous maneuver, here is some background on it. During the Cold War, American school children were taught to crouch under their desks with their hands strategically placed over their head in preparation for a nuclear attack. Though this maneuver has never been tried during an actual nuclear emergency, we don’t have many other options.

7. Finally, learn the anti-end of the world dance. Teach it to the rest of the world. Maybe if the entire human population performs this dance simultaneously on December 21, 2012, we can deter the end of the world catastrophe entirely. For the record, no proof has been found of the existence of such a dance. But, there is an anti-rain dance, so why can’t there be an anti-end of the world dance? Someone just has to discover it.

In reality, if the world is going to end soon, outside of rescue by alien forces or some other supernatural event, there is nothing we can do to supersede the forces of natural disaster. There is no foolproof survival guide. But if you want to survive, these seven steps are a good attempt. Good luck, fellow humans. Hopefully, we will all wake up on December 22, 2012 and life will continue as always.

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