In what I assumed was an unfortunate casualty of the most kickass New Year's Eve party in history, 5,000 birds dropped dead in Beebe, Arkansas last Saturday. Authorities quickly blamed a series of bright and frightening celebratory fireworks on the sudden, violent bird murder, or "birder" as it's known in the scientific community, but that explanation seemed less satisfactory when it was revealed that, about 100 miles away, thousands of dead fish washed up on the banks of the Arkansas River. Local theories that the fish were just "trying to get attention" were put to rest when, a day later, 500 birds died suddenly in Louisana. Before any of the ghosts of the Arkansas birds had a chance to talk about how they used to drop dead "before it went all mainstream," animals dying in large groups blew the hell up: On Wednesday, thousands of dead fish were found in Maryland and tons of dead birds were found in Kentucky, Sweden and Italy. Also all of the worlds bees are still dying. Now, birds and fish die literally all the time. In all likelihood, there's no real story here and the whole situation probably only seems odd because A) for the first time ever, people are paying attention to the number of dead birds in their towns and B) the media is reporting on it like it's a sign of the end of times.
On the other hand, it is totally the end of times. Global Birder is no laughing matter. It's so serious, in fact, that allegedly legitimate news outlet CNN asked professional actor Kirk Cameron to give his theories on the bird deaths, because he starred in the straight-to-DVD Left Behind series, a collection of movies that focuses on the apocalyptic idea of the Biblical rapture. The Born-Again Christian who played Mike Seaver on Growing Pains, shockingly, could not shed light on this situation. But, you may wonder, surely there are OTHER movies I can turn to for an explanation for all these deaths. If Kirk Cameron and a series of low-budget, fictional movies remain silent on the subject, where am I supposed to find any alarmist, insane possible explanations that are based largely on fiction and bullshit?
I've got six.
The Core of the Earth Has Stopped Spinning
2003's hit(?) disaster film The Core features a bunch of crazy natural "occurrences," including the spontaneous death of thousands of pigeons who completely lost their shit in London. They slammed into statues, dove through windows, crashed into cars or just plain ate it by bombing the ground.
From The Core. Or possibly Arkansas. Or- OOH! More like Corekansas, right? Guys?
The great pigeon death, we learn, is due to the fact that the Earth's core has stopped spinning, which screwed with our planet's electromagnetic field. In addition to the kamikaze pigeons, we get earthquakes and various "super storms," all of which will kill everyone on Earth within a year if the core is not jump-started into spin mode again. A ragtag rescue team -- comprised of a geology expert, an astronaut, a computer nerd, some scientists, and this other guy -- hop aboard a state-of-the-art drilling vessel designed to withstand the high pressures and heat of the core thanks to its unobtanium-enforced outer shell, travel to the center of the Earth and set off a number of nuclear explosions, which get the core spinning again. All of the less important characters die heroically, and the two attractive protagonists you expect to get together survive and get together. I didn't mean to spoil the ending, but in fairness to me, that movie came out 7 years ago and totally sucked.
"What if I load a drilling machine with nuclear devices, drive to the center of the Earth, and then fire my fucking agent? It just might work!"
Why This Would Be Really Bad For Us:
If the logic behind this movie holds up, then we'd be totally screwed, because after the birds come supertornadoes and megatsunamis and ultrashityourpants. Never will America ever be prepared to deal with the Voltron versions of storms, we can barely handle regular storms.
I also can't imagine what kind of logistical nightmare having a massive hole directly to the core of the Earth would pose. All I know is that a lot of people would drop a lot of shit down it.
"Seriously, if everyone could please stop dropping pennies into the Earth's core..."
Likelihood That This is Responsible:
It's not, because the logic of that movie doesn't hold up. If the core stopped spinning, the Earth would stop spinning. The atmosphere would keep moving while the Earth stood still, and we'd all be dead as a result. As an apocalypse scenario, a stalled core isn't one that operates in phases, like "First the birds! Then some fish in Maryland! Then maybe eight more birds in Italy! Then, I guess I'll move on to snakes, or this one species of frogs I hate. I'll throw some tornadoes in, maybe blow up a bridge and then, sure, humans." It wouldn't work that way, we'd just all be dead.
But we're not, so we can rest assured that The Core won't come true and can hope against hope that it will never be remade.
A Giant Dome Has Been Placed Around America
Under the Dome, by Stephen King.
In King's massive 2009 novel, Under the Dome, a lotta dead birds show up on the ground in the small town of Chester's Mill, Maine, (mostly in the chapter titled "Lotta Dead Birds"). It turns out that a giant, transparent dome was placed over the town, (yes, exactly like in The Simpsons Movie), and all of the birds keep crashing right into it and dying, because the walls are clear, and birds are stupid. Bird corpses lined the borders of the dome, as if they were all waiting in line for bird medicine that would never come.
Oh, could we not get a photoshop of that? Too depressing? Okay.
The "Under the Dome" theory, while not even close to being considered a possibility by most scientists, assumes that a massive, invisible and impenetrable dome has been placed all around us, keeping us cut off from the rest of the world. I won't spoil who put the dome there in the first place, but it's Stephen King, so, you know. Either ghosts or aliens.
Why This Would Be Really Bad For Us:
I don't know if you've read the book, but being trapped under that dome did not work out for the people of Chester's Mill. The fictional people of that town waited about 24 hours before they started rioting and killing each other, and they were all much smarter and more civilized than absolutely everyone I work with. The Cracked.com offices will waste no time, we'll immediately revert to our primitive selves, eating and screwing everything. Just everything. We declare martial law and start fighting each other when one of the three roads that leads to the office is temporarily closed for construction. We loot the office when it's cold outside.
Likelihood That This is Responsible:
Not very high, in fact I'm pretty sure my Dad and I are the only people who think it's happening, (we O'Briens are a notoriously dome-fearing people). Even if we're right and there IS a giant dome, if birds are also dying in Italy and Sweden, that's got to be a pretty big dome. You're practically just an Earth condom at that point. (Don't even think about it, King, I own the rights to and have a rough draft of my 'Earth Condom' horror novel already written, so back off.)
I will continue looting and eating all of my friends, though. Just to be on the safe side.