Obviously the Mayan doomsday thing was nothing to worry about.
And, no, the world is not going to end when the Earth is sucked into some black hole or hit by a screaming meteor. Stop worrying about such nonsense.
The truth is we're going to bring the end of the world upon ourselves through one simple act: Upgrading.
Talk about doomsday. All I wanted to do was upgrade the Wi-Fi signal in our modest home. OK, "wanted" might be a little strong. I'm a proud late adopter. I hate to upgrade. I don't want to make my technology better because I know that always makes it worse.
But our 8-year-old router constantly crashed. It was slow in delivering the goods when we'd try to load Web pages, especially in the evening when apparently the entire neighborhood was downloading "The Godfather" trilogy.
Anyway, how hard could it be to replace a router?
I decided to swap our overpriced Airport Extreme with a new overpriced Airport Extreme. Hey, the thing lasted eight years and I wanted something that would work seamlessly with the smaller Airport Express we use to broadcast our iTunes over our old living room stereo speakers. Besides, Alan at the Apple (AAPL) store explained that what you're paying for is the customer service, the support, the knowledge that if anything goes wrong, Apple will make it right.
But what could possibly go wrong? Other than our DSL modem croaking as soon as I hooked up the new router.
I called AT&T, our Internet provider. The technician came up with a solution, but not before asking me to unplug and plug in every conceivable cord and cable. (I became a little suspicious when she had me unplug the toaster and then plug it back in.) Oh, the solution? Sixty-nine dollars for a new modem sent by UPS.
Thus began the dark days -- 80 straight hours without a home Internet connection. And no, none of us were armed with a smartphone. (Late adopter, remember?) I've heard about people who swear by "unplugging," going on a digital diet, shutting off life's machines and living life's precious moments.
Listen, it's one thing to voluntarily push yourself away from the digital feast sated. It's another to be desperately seeking the smallest crumb of Internet connectivity.
At hour 36, after I'd crept over to the neighbor's house to feed off their robust Wi-Fi signal, I saw a Facebook post from my cousin: "Yesterday was my second Sunday without technology. My choice to begin this practice. I highly recommend taking a day off from handheld devices and laptops, to do what we would have done before technology arrived!"
The thing is, technology has arrived and it's here for a reason: I need it.
For days, I walked around in an Internetless daze. I didn't know if my alma mater was playing basketball or whether various very important people were trying to reach me by email. I couldn't look up the ZIP code for Scituate, Mass. I couldn't track the progress of the online Christmas gift assault we'd launched through Amazon and Shutterfly.
On day three of the darkness, our 15-year-old daughter, Riley, realized she was going to have to text her friend just to find out what the weather forecast was.
"We live in a cave," she said. "We have no knowledge."
Of course, I made the speech when the Internet went dark. "Kids, this will be great. We'll huddle together and play board games. We can read by the fire. Maybe Mom will knit us sweaters or churn some butter."
But I didn't believe any of it, and neither did my wife or two daughters. In fact, they began to turn on me. As if it were my fault that we didn't have an Internet connection. Well, I mean, it was my fault, but shouldn't I get credit for trying to make our lives better?
The new modem did finally arrive. I hooked it up and -- after two more calls to AT&T and an hour or so of tinkering with settings -- the Internet was back. Mostly.
No, the Airport Express would no longer play our iTunes over the old speakers and our wireless printer didn't work. But YouTube, Facebook, "Words with Friends" -- they were all back.
And that Airport Express problem? Nothing a quick trip to the Apple Genius Bar and $83 couldn't fix. (Why is it the genius advice from the Genius Bar always seems to be: "Buy a new one.")
So now, after several days, innumerable phone calls, a trip to the Genius Bar and about $350, things are almost as good as they were when I started. No, the printer still doesn't work and I'm too exhausted to wrestle with it.
But you know what? It's not exactly the end of the world.
Contact Mike Cassidy at email@example.com or 408-920-5536. Follow him at Twitter.com/mikecassidy.