[SeMissourian.com] Fair ~ 85°F  
High: 86°F ~ Low: 64°F
Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ah, that healthy glow

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hi neighbors. Do you remember "duck and cover"?

Here is a quick history lesson for those born after the Baby Boomers. In the 1950s the world was living in fear of a nuclear catastrophe that would kill off all life on the planet. That is ALL life. No people, no plants, no animals, no water, no food, no nothing.

The USSR, aka "reds, communists, bad guys," had thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at the USA. The USA, aka, "us," had thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at the USSR. The most hair-raising fear of all was that these missiles were all set on automatic.

If an incoming missile attack was detected by NORAD, which was located in the Colorado mountains, our missiles would automatically all hit the air heading toward their targets in the USSR. This, children, was dubbed "the cold war."

Those of us who were children at this point in history were taught that if the unthinkable did happen and the entire planet was doomed, we could duck under our desks, cover our eyes, and probably be OK. We were pretty naive back then for sure.

It wasn't until the cold war dragged into the 1960s that we heard about bomb shelters. While the health nurse was showing us films on how to deliver babies in a bomb shelter, how to use canned goods covered with radioactive dust and how to breath radioactive air; somewhere in the back of our minds was the question. Why build bomb shelters if all you have to do is crawl under your desk and cover your eyes?

It soon became obvious, even to us Musketeers of the '50s, that someone was not telling us the whole truth about surviving a nuclear attack, much less a nuclear winter and radiation poisoning.

Let me tell you children of today that ducking under your desk and covering your eyes might not save you from a nuclear attack; but it might make not surviving one a little easier to face ... which was the whole point all along.

Now the missile silos are empty. The big red button is no longer set to destroy life as we know it and death will not fall in a series of bombs from the sky.

Nowadays we just have a few crazy dictators who might throw a nuclear bomb at no one in particular for no sane reason just because they have one in the closet. At least we knew who was out to kill us in the '50s. Now it's pretty much anyone's guess about who is mad at us from one day to the next.

Radiation is now used for medical reasons. That is still a strange notion for us children of the "duck and cover" era.

When I found out that I was going to be expected to swallow a radioactive pill, I had to take a couple of minutes to ponder what that might do.

"This radiation will only target thyroid cells." Really? "This is radiated iodine. It will only go to thyroid cells." OK. "Thyroid cells are the only ones that absorb iodine." Really?

A sudden flashback to a smiling teacher saying, "When the sirens go off indicating an air attack with nuclear bombs; all you have to do is get under your desk and cover your eyes. Be sure to keep your eyes closed!"

I learned sooner or later that someone telling me to close my eyes might be more to their benefit than to my own. Still, other people have swallowed radiated iodine. With their eyes open!

So, some day soon I will go get my radiated iodine. I have been warned that I will be radioactive! I must stay secluded in my room. I will be a danger to other people and pets.

Wow. And this is medicine!

The downside is radioactive iodine will not make me glow in the dark. That takes the fun out of it.

OK, I know I have to do it and I'm adult enough I'll do it without fail. But I'm happy that I have a desk in my bedroom. A good duck and cover might make me feel a little more secure.

Nancy Malcom
The Third Cup