Being a kid growing up in a nuclear world meamt fear of total thermo-nuclear annihilation.
Yesterday, I read a story in the New York Times about a nuclear plant in Ohio with a 30-foot hairline crack in a reactor. All I could think of was, I really wish I could stop worrying about these hairline cracks.
When I got home last night, the following guest post submission by Stinson Anderson, Growing Up In A Nuclear World, was in my inbox. The line about the fat elbow got caught in my throat. The notion of, “Ooops, I spilled the coffee and started a nuclear war,” has the makings of a dark, Generation X comic.
Here is the poem, and many thanks to Stinson for sending it.
Growing Up In A Nuclear World
Total thermo-nuclear annihilation;
It was the rumor of war that I carried in my lunch box
So many times did the Bear and the Eagle square off,
Leaving us (me) stepped on and unconscious,
Like a dirty penny on the playground,
The dark iron curtain of February clouds closing overhead
Our school didn’t have a fallout shelter,
Or even a basement
When such a thing seemed so necessary
We’re doomed, I thought daily
Red Dawn at the box office…
Cronkite, or Rather it was Jennings.
No matter-their reports of our actor turned cowboy-politician,
Standing nose to nose with the Caucasian
Who wore a map of us for a forehead…
Only exacerbated my anxiety
Were all of those tornado drills…
Really about covering up for a tornado?
Because I sure felt insecure,
Hunched over like that with my ass exposed.
“Tear down the wall!” played nightly,
And over again during my pre-dawn bus ride to school
Will somebody push the button?
Or maybe they’ll lean on it by accident with a fat elbow,
Or spill coffee on it by mistake.
Will somebody just push the button!
Burn us all tomorrow, but not today, please
Today I have to hold the line.
Today the Eagle and the Bear of the school yard
Will again stand toe to toe,
Like so many recesses before.
When will I not fear the fallout?
Stinson Anderson, 2011