Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Media quickly jumped upon the cold war saber-rattling by creating movies such as "Special Bulletin" and "The Day After"

The latter was aired in 1983, and followed by telephone numbers for the express purpose of contacting counselors to help you deal with the 3 hours of terror you had just taken in. My mother, in her infinite wisdom, refused to let me watch the film. Having dodged that bullet, I was nonetheless filled in by my many junior high classmates and teachers that had observed the grim spectacle of the ABC Sunday Night Movie. Somehow, it wasn't much better than not watching the movie myself. Some 20 years later, I finally saw the picture on the SCI-FI Channel, (ironically, there's nothing science fiction about it) of all places, and it still, despite the lack of strong visual effects and the presence of Steve Guttenberg, packs one hell of a punch.

In the 11th Grade, my Russian History Teacher, a cool cat named Mr. Mueller, showed us a documentary film depicting the possible end results of the ugly parlance between Us and Them. My classmates and I witnessed not only the unholy crushing of souls and their property, but were given insights into possible survival techniques. We watched tests of bomb shelters, and ways to avoid becoming dust and a shadow burned into the concrete where you were standing, should you be unfortunate enough to be within the rather expansive reach of an atomic detonation.

But the film asked a bleak and depressing question. Should you get to your shelter and have sufficient uncontaminated food, water, and air to subsist on for a couple of weeks, what would there be for you to exit your cellar door to witness? It was a question that caused a couple of nights of uneasy slumber. The Shadow continued to stand behind my mindset through my late teens.

Another horrific side-effect of a nuclear occurrence was the inevitable reaction of those that were aware of an oncoming onslaught. At 17 I took in the little know sucker punch of a movie, "Miracle Mile", wherein downtown Los Angeles erupts into cataclysmic rioting. Those who were sound enough of mind to get away from the potential target city were trapped in endless coiled snakes of traffic jams. Those who lost their reasoning participated in violent social unrest of the worst sort. The last half hour of this movie also anchored itself into my mental recesses.

Nuclear paranoia may have been the birthplace of my anxiety disorder.


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