Saturday, December 09, 2006

"What's a Mushroom Cloud?"

You may wonder why the title is in quotes. Well, Chester, I'll tell you.

Y'see, I was discussing the new CBS series Jericho with a few of my co-workers a few days ago. I was explaining the premise of the show, how residents of a small town in Mid-Kansas suddenly one day see a mushroom cloud off to the far west of their town. In the middle of this, one of them stopped me and said, "What's a mushroom cloud?"

I was speechless.

At first, I thought she was kidding me. It took a few moments to realize this was a serious question. When I did, my next reaction was stunned disbelief.

(Please, please, PLEASE tell me that none of the three people reading this need me to explain to them what a M.C. is!)

So after a few moments of dazed silence, I politely explained. She seemed satisfied.

I headed back to my desk. I began to rationalize it. After all, this particular co-worker is only in her early 20's. She was in elementary school when the Cold War ended. She never grew up under the sword of a potential Nuclear attack. Heck, I hardly think about it myself.

So I asked my supervisor, a woman in her late 40's if she knew what I was talking about.

No. Clue.

Now I realize that in this day and age, there are more pressing concerns than knowing what a nuclear explosion looks like. But surely we all studied how World War II ended with Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And we've surely all seen the pictures in the history books. Or at the very least a documentary on the History channel!

After September 11th, everything changed. We no longer have the right to feel absolutely sure that nothing more horrendous than those dreadful incidents could ever happen here. It's a dangerous world out there. And we have to be sure that when or if, God forbid, a major attack occurs in our country, we are prepared for it.

Knowing what one might look like might be a good first step toward that.

Good night, and good luck.

No comments: