4 October 2011
Duck and Cover – Fate Fairies – book version
This entry was posted on 10/4/2011 1:30 AM and is filed under Fate Fairies:Fate Fairies – book version.
Periodically in grade school, we were herded into the basement of my three-room Wisconsin country school for “Duck and Cover” drills. Some drill! Sit under a table for what seemed like hours and tell jokes and giggle. My wife’s little school did not have a basement. She was ushered into the hall way. They were to huddle near their respective rooms as so if the “big one” dropped, the recovery crews could link the bodies to names and ages. Like there would be a recovery crew and if there was one, like they would have time to check on one of hundreds of schools.
When the Cuban Missile Crisis happened some 50 years ago, for us kids, it was hard to tell if it was “drill,” or a real alert. We were sent home early one day during the Crisis. The buses waited as we exited the school in regimented columns. Through the open door, the lady bus driver gave me an impatient glower as she sat with her hand on the door lever – she wore a well-worn off-white sweater with gold glitter. Her cat-eye-rim glasses had like glitter. Now in retrospect, what an odd silhouette she portrayed while the world came rather close to becoming a scorched moon-scape.
“Run Bobby, run!,” my teacher yelled to me from the school steps. “You are not taking this serious.”
“Why? We would be incinerated soon enough. No need to rush.” I was six years old.
It was collective child abuse on a macro scale. A few years later, in high school we had to take a class called “Medical Self Help.” It taught us how to treat wounds and burns from a nuclear blast. I am told we were the last class to take it in my school. It was determined that it so depressed the students, the cost benefit analysis dictated it be canned. Besides, we all hounded the math teacher with comments like, “So why study for the algebra exam, we are all going to be incinerated anyway soon enough, right?.”
Long before the long and odious “Cold War” fizzled away around 1990, nuclear fallout shelters were no longer maintained. There became a quiet collective consciousness that the notion of trying to survive a war where the combatants could easily destroy the greater world several times over, was folly, silliness, and probably…, insanity.
There never was any type of “official proclamation.” Something like, “Oh, fuck it people; if the bombs start a’flying, just bend over, reach up, and kiss your citizen asses goodbye.” No, instead, symbols of the mighty silent war quietly began to fade. The odious and ubiquitous yellow signs above the basement doors to heavy steal and concrete buildings became collector items.
We weren’t obliterated in a fiery implosion. The world survived. The paradigm that insists we are too smart to incinerate ourselves stands tall. And, we take great comfort in our clever survival.
Society smugly proclaims, “We must be smart, see, we are not shadows on the sidewalks. We ain’t blowed ourselves up at all!”
I see it as a date-with-fate on a colossal scale. Millions of people were not incinerated. At least so far. The fate fairies were otherwise preoccupied for the last 60 years.
But again, regardless of fate – you know what “They” say? You know those slippery and Orwellian “They” us rabble always refer to as experts. The same creepy “They,” Stanely Milgram determined guides the darkest recesses of our psyches. You know, that “They” we all so willingly defer obedience to.
You know what “They” say?
“We as a people, are too smart to blow ourselves up.”
Note: This blog “Fate Fairies” – book version Category is a work in progress. The original vignettes are being edited for book form. Go to the Cooldadiomedia Web site and the Fate Fairies Page for an ordered chronology of the book vignettes (chapters).