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Entry date: 2-16-2022 - The Day After Scared Me - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Like many of you who are in my age range, I grew up with a fear of nuclear war. At some point in the early 1980s I was convinced that missiles would eventually be flying and the only recourse I had as a citizen of a large, urban sprawl would be to climb up on the roof and wait for the fire. I knew this was going to be the fate of everyone I knew.

Fun times.

This belief was due to several factors. Ronald Reagan wanted us all to be afraid of the USSR. This is historical fact. The more afraid we were of the big, bad USSR, the easier it was for him to get away with all the money he and his cronies were making funneling arms around the world. There’s always some other “they” or “them” that our “leaders” wants us to be afraid of in some form or another.

In addition to US propaganda, there was the TV movie, “The Day After” that put the fear of God into all of us. It caught my attention, that’s for sure. Jason Robards was always a favorite of mine, and he was pretty convincing in that movie. I had to read the book (Whitley Streiber), too, and that didn’t make it any easier to stomach. After reading that, I read On The Beach (1959 by Nevil Shute) and really enjoyed scaring the shit out of myself with it. During much of the end of 1983 and most of 1984, I was mentally preparing to have 15 minutes or so to say goodbye to everyone I loved.

I had visions of being separated from my family and wanting to find them before we blew up but knew that it would be impossible. There were no cellphones, but my dad had a car phone. I could hear the phone ringing and ringing as I tried to get in touch with him but knew he would never answer. The phone lines would all be down due to the EMP. I would be alone, on the roof, waiting for the fire to come.

Of course, I am reminded of this because we are on the brink of war in Ukraine. This is not exactly as how it was predicted by Nostradamus, but it isn’t super far off. Do you remember the weird semi-documentary about Nostradamus that was narrated by Orson Welles? The Man Who Saw Tomorrow? It was a whack job, but it predicted a coming nuclear war, too, even though Welles thought Nostradamus’ predicting ability was poppycock.

Eventually the feeling of impending dread drifted away. It could have been all the weed I was smoking in those early years of high school. More likely, though, is that I realized that everybody dies eventually. Nuclear war would speed that up a lot, but it didn’t really change anything. I still had my plan to climb up on the roof and go out with both birds flying high, but I stopped worrying about it.

I’m not even worried about it right now. Sure, the Russians are trying to pick a fight, depending on what media you believe, or maybe we are trying to pick one. Either way, somebody will make a profit. Lives lost? Oh well. There is money to be made. What can we do except hope for the best and expect the worst?

I just feel for those unlucky sons of bitches who are sitting on the frontlines right now scared out of their wits and freezing their nuts off. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like although I’ve seen enough war movies to have an idea. When I joined the army out of high school, I figured they would get me prepared to face war if I needed to face it, but as a civilian, it’s a very foreign concept to my brain.

I think you either have the will to fight or you don’t. Most of us, if pushed far enough, will fight. We have the will to survive. Another film that made me question that idea was Red Dawn (1984 version) which had a new spin on World War three. A ground war, of sorts, fought on our own soil. I considered if I could be like the Wolverines after seeing that and decided I could do it, but….

I also considered how easy it would be some sort of counterinsurgent/double agent kind of person who could play along with the captors and then sneak around in the shadows and fuck up their plans. To me that would be more fun than grabbing some guns and shooting it out. I’m a big fan of anytime the mouse gets to slip up behind the cat and do a little fuckin’.

A ground war in Ukraine will be devastating to so many people, including us. Inflation will increase around the world because of the economic sanctions that will happen and then there is the tech war that will happen. Hackers gonna hack and we won’t be immune to it. Perhaps it is the old nuclear fear creeping up on me, but I’m pretty sure we will experience some life altering hacking in the next several years.

It makes you start to wonder what kind of deals ol’ Donald Trump is brokering these days with the national security documents in his possession? Clearly, he owes some people money and what better way to pay them back than by shelling out some national secrets that can be profitable for the right people with the right connections. I hope I’m wrong, but my magic eight ball says, “All signs point to YES.”

Now that I’ve given you a few fun things to think about, I can get back to telling stories about drunken shenanigans and times when I shouldn’t have been allowed to leave my house. There are plenty of those, for sure, but I’m also learning to face what has made me who I am as I write these thousand or so words a day.

The bomb made me.

See you tomorrow. (maybe)

The movie poster for The Day After. Chilly, isn't it.

A happy little playlist.

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