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What will you do if it all goes boom at midnight Jan. 1? Have no fear. Our handy, dandy Apocalypse Survival Guide is all you need to navigate the terror and chaos.

Apocalypse Survival Guide

Boom. Just like that, when the clocks tick over to 2000, it could all be gone — everything from your money in the bank to your cappuccino maker. The culprit? Y2K, technological meltdown? Nuclear Armageddon? Biblical apocalypse, the Antichrist? We don't know. We just know it's going to be baaaaad.

Mass chaos, anarchy in the streets, the end of Must-See TV. How will we ever survive? Let us help. Our post-apocalypse survival guide is a handy-dandy reference to navigating the New Age. It will help you handle the basics, such as how not to starve, and help you find a new career, a new mate and new ways of entertaining yourself. And when you have absorbed all the information in the survival guide and are ready to brave the new world, it also can be used as a loin cloth.

A Prayer for the New Age

No matter which God you pray to, you will be doing a lot more of it after the apocalypse. Here is a prayer you might use, or feel free to customize your own. Either way, He's not listening:

Dear Lord,
We Thank Thee for our many blessings. We thank Thee for the day, the night, and our very lives. We thank Thee for the acid rain which only slightly stings rather than sears. We thank Thee for the 62 cans of Spam Lite we found in the basement of that dead guy's house. Lord, in Thy infinite wisdom, please grant us these most humble requests — the continued safety of our children and elderly members of the community, except for that bitch Sadie who stole the last piece of squirrel and denied it even though she'd been caught red-handed. Please help us understand Thy mysterious if excessive ways. Please answer us so that we might know whether Thou art there at all or whether Thou hast abandoned us completely in this time of darkness and abject misery. Most of all, Lord, please hear our pleas and forgive us for whatever it was that we did to deserve this. Amen.

The Fine Art of Live Conversation
The chat room is gone. What will you do now?

In the post-apocalyptic world of tomorrow, you may find yourself bored or lonely. What better time to chat with those around you? And since you can no longer spend intimate time with others in that most sophisticated and evolved atmosphere we once called "the chat room," you will be forced to sit in what we now call "a room" and, gulp, talk face to face with the other human beings. Your feelings of anxiety are understandable — live conversation can be confusing and difficult. But once you get the basics down, you'll find it a quaint and charming way to while away the hours.

There's no need to be nervous. This guide was put together with you in mind. Read it carefully, follow it faithfully and you, too, can enjoy pleasant and gratifying conversation — out loud. Just follow these simple tips.

1. Check to see whether there are any people around you.

2. Inquire as to whether they are alive.

3. Determine whether you knew them BA (Before Apocalypse).

4. Draw from your memories of online chats to choose an appropriate subject.

* A stranger (S) is equivalent to someone with an unfamiliar screen name (USN). (An easy formula to use is S=USN.) In this situation, discuss current affairs, religious beliefs and grotesque sexual fetishes. This is the place for strong opinions and unsubstantiated "facts."

* An acquaintance (A) is equivalent to someone on your buddy list (BL). (Remember A=BL.) With acquaintances, stick to weather, sports and cooking.

5. You will have no frame of reference for whose turn it is to speak other than silence. During the silence, recall the voice you last heard. Was it your own? Time to sit tight and let your companion speak. Your companion's? Then you can be pretty certain it's your turn to speak.

6. Caution: When you are ready to discontinue the conversation, do not tell the other person that your child is crying, your dinner is burning or your other line is ringing. Doing so will create tension and mistrust. Simply extend your hand and say, "It has been a pleasure talking with you."

For Your Entertainment

Clip this sign and attach to that person who said the turn of the millennium was "no big deal."

The Mating Game

The qualities you found attractive in a man or woman are no longer desirable in the New Age. Here is what you'll be looking for in your next mate:

1. Hair. A full-body sweater on a man (or woman, for that matter) is the No. 1 indicator that you have found a true survivor, the kind of guy who swallows hairless Gap boys whole. His connection to primordial ancestors is comforting.

2. Fat. Supermodels and actresses will be the first to go in the New Age. Practically withering and dying while food was still plentiful, Jennifer Love Hewitt and Calista Flockhart will be no more useful to society than platform shoes. You will look for a girl (or guy) with plenty of stored energy, who can walk for hundreds of miles without whining for a Powerbar.

3. Large extended family for tribal protection.

4. Since humans do not mate simply for practicality, you will need someone you will enjoy spending time with, someone you have things in common with, someone you find entertaining. Therefore, you will find attractive as a mate anyone who remembers all the lyrics to "American Pie."

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