I spent many of my formative years practicing for the inevitable nuclear bomb strike. First, what were the officials at this time thinking when they decided to thoroughly evoke a primal fear in all 2nd graders by instructing us to hide underneath our desks and cover our heads (duck & cover) at the sound of the alarm, like an entire generation of Pavlovian dogs. I remember in third grade, some genius had determined that all those windows in the classroom would be an additional threat, so from this point on we were running into the windowless hall to grab our ankles and hide our heads. These drills became a weekly event in our elementary school life in the 1960’s. I have wonderful memories of my parents trying to convince me that, indeed, I did have to complete my homework and study, even though it was quite clear to me that that nuclear attack would make all this studying quite a waste of the time we all had left.
We survived the Cuban Missile Crisis and all that has followed and have grown up with the knowledge, no matter how faint, that all it takes is one crazy dictator to obliterate mankind. I am amused how these thoughts have evolved into the Zombie Apocalypse that finds many re-preparing these underground shelters, packed to the gills with food and ammunition, to keep us alive in the wake of humanity as we know it. I was recently amazed at the fact that some of those nuclear silos located right here in the heart of the Midwest have been retrofitted as “post nuclear” condominiums for the ultra rich. They have what are in essence screen savers framed on the walls, so as to convince the residents that there is still a beautiful scene to see outside their “windows”. I am not sure about you, but I have attempted to get hooked on “The Walking Dead”. My daughter and her family love the show and even incorporated sight seeing of many of the locations of Walking Dead filming in their vacation driving through the south this last summer.
No matter how intriguing these views of post disaster living are, I have always been one of those negative people that wonder why we would want to survive the scorching of the earth as we know it. This brings me to the awesome fact I became aware of this last weekend. The “Doomsday Clock”, that was started in post WWII 1947 by the atomic scientists, as a way to view how close our world is to a global catastrophe, signified as midnight. This “time” on the clock has moved forward and backwards over the years. 1991 saw the furthest “time” from disaster, setting the clock back to 17 minutes before midnight, due to the signing of an agreement between the USSR and US to reduce strategic arms and the end of the Soviet Union that year. The closest we have been is 2 minutes til in 1953, when the United States tested its first nuclear device. This year these well learned scientists have set the clock to 2.5 minutes until midnight – yes, the second closest time in the history of the clock. So if anyone is looking for me, check the inside hallway of my loft. I am the crazy looking 50 something, curled up with one hand covering my head and my thumb in my mouth.