When I was in high school, the cold war had been raging for decades already. I lived in a region that included probably 5 of the top tier Soviet nuclear missile targets on the west coast. If someone ever pushed the big red button, we would be among the first to know.
I thought about it a lot.
And I was often frustrated with my peers, when they joked about ‘being vaporized’. I knew that the ones that got obliterated instantly would be the lucky ones. But the majority of the victims of a nuke strike would be blind and/or blistered, radiation-poisoned, hungry and thirsty, and there would be no help coming any time soon.
At one point I wrote an article for the school literary magazine on what a nuclear detonation in the Puget Sound area would really be like, drawing on source material like John Hersey’s Hiroshima for realistic details. It was not a tremendously popular article.
Well, the cold war is over. The Iron Curtain has been drawn back. My children don’t fear the Bomb the way I did when I was growing up. My rather unhealthy fascination with wholescale carnage has had to find another outlet.
Like GLOBAL catastrophe. Just watch this Japanese video depicting the impact of a good-sized asteroid with the Earth. Even though I can’t understand the narration, it gives me chills. And there ain’t no fallout shelter in the world that would do you any good in this particular worst-case-scenario.