Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What Goes Up

Back when our wars were less hot, and the concepts with which we found ourselves at odds were at odds were not drugs or Christmas, or even terror, I was terrified. I was terrified of the Cold War. For my entire youth, I lived in constant fear of The Button. The Button that would bring about Armageddon. End of Days. I was pretty sure that  it was only a matter of time before someone lost their temper or reason or both and the missiles would be launched. I was in elementary school when I learned about Mutually Assured Destruction. The idea that there were enough bombs to melt the citizens of Soviet Russia and the United States along with a good deal of the rest of the planet's population creeped me out as much as any movie about giant insects crushing cities and the people in them. Of course, those giant insects were generated via some sort of nuclear explosion or "accident." Those big bugs were generally subdued in with the same big booms that brought them on in the first place.
I didn't expect that when the bombs started falling that they would be in the service of destroying a giant mantis or tarantula. I was pretty sure that all of that defense would turn into offense and the way a nuclear war could be won was pretty simple: the vaporization of the other country. That's why I finally decided to take some solace in my proximity to Cheyenne Mountain. For those of you who grow up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, that's where the North American Aerospace Defense Command had their bunker dug to keep the bombs away. It was a big hole in a big mountain, but I had an idea that it wouldn't matter once all the silos had been emptied by both sides. I had pretty much decided by the time I was sixteen that, given the time, I would just as soon drive down to Colorado Springs and hang out there waving for a fair catch when the fire dropped from the sky.
These days, NORAD and their Space Command buddies aren't as concerned with watching for missiles coming up over the polar ice caps or running scenarios that come under the heading of "limited nuclear exchange." They are now more interested in tracking aircraft that have gone off course, that kind of thing. Missiles aren't the worry they used to be.
Neither are giant mantises.

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