Back in the 1960s when the world seemed like it was coming unhinged every other day, I was walking through Greenwich Village, home of the Beatniks and the nitwits as well as radicals of every size, shape and ideology, when I came upon a man dressed suspiciously like Charlton Heston as Moses in "The Ten Commandments." He was bearded, scruffy and somewhat wild-eyed like a modern-day biblical prophet, and he carried a sign that proclaimed in no uncertain terms, \u201cThe End Is Near!\u201d The end of what? Social Security? The semi-annual suit sale at Brooks Brothers? Free shipping at Amazon? (OK, maybe not free shipping because the birth of Amazon was still a few decades in the future, and Al Gore hadn\u2019t invented the Internet yet.) I was a mere lad back then, born into a world when \u201cThe End\u201d was always around the corner, with the nuclear arms race and the Cuban Missile Crisis that brought the planet to the brink of annihilation. During those days, folk singers were strumming guitars and wailing about "The Eve of Destruction," and the street prophet was a popular figure, often parodied in New Yorker cartoons. And even though I haven\u2019t seen any Old Testament characters lately, at least in Midtown Manhattan, there seems to be a growing uneasiness that something is up ... that The End might really be near this time. A poll conducted by Barna Group of California found that 41% of Americans, 54% of Protestants and 77% of Evangelicals think we\u2019re living in the \u201cEnd Times\u201d prophesized in the Bible. Of practicing Catholics, 45% believe the End Times are upon us, along with 54% of African-Americans and 48% of Hispanics. With so many people convinced we\u2019re on the brink of the brink you\u2019d think we\u2019d all strive to make the world a better place, or at least get Metro-North to run on time. While I don\u2019t know much about biblical prophecy, I\u2019m sure of one thing: If the end is near, I\u2019m not ready. Nowhere near ready. There are thousands of End Times websites and blogs, advancing theories based on the weather, the Bible Code, Mideast turmoil and world events. Armchair prognosticators and visionaries are predicting the rise of a New World Order, the Antichrist, Days of Darkness and the collapse of the technological society. This much is certain: It will rival anything Hollywood has ever produced, including "Pee-wee\u2019s Big Adventure," parts 1 and 2. They see omens in the increasing number of record storms, floods, blizzards, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy. More troubling than the catastrophes is the pervasive spread of evil. Our moral compasses are so confused that what was once bad is now considered good, and people no longer seem to care about moral character. The word \u201cmorality\u201d isn\u2019t even in their vocabulary. Every day you see headlines about mass shootings, child abuse, terrorist attacks, robberies, rapes and corporate corruption. Last week, a newspaper I regularly read had some telling stories about the evil our society condones in its entertainment. In the pursuit of wholesome family fun, a new video game lets kids blow the head off a character who resembles Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg. The game is so wildly popular it set historic records with sales in the billions. The movie reviews also offered an insight into our evolving values. The films were all about sex addicts, drug addicts, killers, sadists, torturers and crooks, which leads you to wonder whether this is the \u201cnew normal.\u201d Do they make films about good people anymore? Perhaps it\u2019s another sign the end is near. So please excuse me, I have to go get ready. Joe Pisani may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.