The Broad is Back!

March 30, 2013

Childhood flashbacks

Filed under: children,New Broads,war — by maggiec @ 1:05 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last night, I frightened myself by reading the news about North Korea threatening South Korea and the US. I was mad at myself for feeling fear, but I’m a Cold War baby. We drilled for nuclear attacks in my grammar school. Who remembers sitting under desks? Or filing out in the hall, lined up, faces to the wall, arms over heads to protect us from falling debris?

I actually thought about where I’d go if the bombs were coming.  We knew there would be a warning.  I remember discussing it with my best friend, Katherine, when we couldn’t have been more than 10.  I couldn’t decide if I’d rather be home or at church. I didn’t think God would specially protect me in church, just that if I had to die, it would be good to die in a church, praying.  Closer my God to thee and all that.

As a teen and college student, I remember being chilled by Doctor Strangelove and The Day After. Then I was positively shattered by Threads, a 1984 BBC mock-documentary about a nuclear bombing which was much more realistic than any Hollywood production. In college I protested nuclear arms, and in many ways the threat of nuclear war marked my childhood and young womanhood.

The Cold War ended shortly after my son’s birth, but Pandora’s Box was still open. “Renegade states” either had nuclear capability or were trying hard to get it.  Frankly, I don’t want any country to have it, my own included, but so it goes. “Poo-too-weet,” as Vonnegut wrote.

Today I seem to be the only one I know worrying about North Korea if Facebook is any indication. Maybe I’m the only one saying anything.  Tomorrow is Easter, and there’s a lot to do. Maybe I’m just avoiding grading papers so irrational fear is better than grading.

Or perhaps it’s the post-9/11 sensibilities at work.  We’re constantly reminded that we may be attacked at any time. Our large bags are searched, I can say “if you see something, say something” in two languages (Si ve algo, diga algo), police are very visible in crowded places. When I go to Penn Station or Grand Central to catch the subway, there are machine gun toting soldiers paroling.  Usually I’m quite blase about it, but every once in a while, there’s a frisson of fear.  But for the past 10 years, Americans, especially New Yorkers, are used to living under threat. And most of the time, we totally ignore it.

But I’m not enjoying the memories seeing the articles are dredging up. This is one of the downsides of living back in America. Living in rural Sweden, I felt mostly untouchable. No one attacks Sweden!  Living in Geneva, where I lived for the actual 9/11 attacks, also felt very safe. Everyone has money in Switzerland, good guys and bad guys alike. No one is going to attack the banking state, not even terrorists. They need money for arms the same as everyone else. At least that’s what we told ourselves, and we believed it.

I know this fear of war is nothing new. We’re bellicose creatures humans.  Nuclear war is scary, but really, getting hacked apart by a claymore doesn’t sound much better.

Funny where the mind wanders.  This started as a short little post for another blog I write, my “crunchy granola” positive thinking one.  This isn’t so positive, and it got a tad out of hand.  I realized this slightly longer look at Americana belonged here.

The sun is shining. I’ve lived through saber rattling before. (Once memorably in Taiwan when the ROC was threatening to invade, I had a five year old and a leg broken in three places. Americans were leaving in droves, but I was confident we’d be fine.) And that’s what this is, saber rattling. And having written down my fears, I’ve greatly managed to dispel them.  Thanks for listening!

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1 Comment »

  1. […] There’s nothing I can do about North Korea, so why worry?  I suspect it might be a good way to avoid work. But I wanted to write about it. It got a bit out of hand for this blog, so my ruminations appear in my other blog, The Broad is Back. […]

    Pingback by Fighting the fear | Patchouli Haze--New Age Insights for the Rest of Us — March 30, 2013 @ 1:32 pm |Reply


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