Monday, February 18, 2013

The five spots of paint - the man, the woman, the children, the ball - remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.

So that Russian meteor thing -- holy crap that was awesome. Friday morning's family snuggle (aka the time right at the asscrack of dawn when our daughter bursts through the door of our room, assaults one of us -- the irregular variation of her choice is what keeps it lively! -- with a book to the face, and piles in on us) was given over to watching videos of the event on my iPhone. Fucking gnarly.

And of course part of my interest in it was that it hucked me back in the ol' wayback machine to my yute, when I was convinced -- I mean utterly, thoroughly convinced, more convinced than I was of the divinity of Jesus and THAT is saying something -- that the world was going to end any day now in nuclear war. Global thermonuclear war.

Fucking Reagan*. Fucking Weekly Reader. Fucking The Day After.

I was trying to explain this absolute dread fascination with Russia generally and nuclear holocaust in particular to my sister-in-law recently. She's almost 9 years younger than me, which is enough years that she didn't grow up in that insane soup of dread & doom centered on the Russians and "emptying the holes" and "a millisecond of brilliant light and we're vaporized" and unironic cries of "Wolverines!" My husband (39) and my brother (42) both chimed in, backing me up, and she began to understand it in sort of an intellectual way, but I think you had to be there to really get what it was like to know in your heart that it was gonna happen tonight -- or maybe tomorrow during the times-tables test in math, or Thursday just as you get out of ballet class -- and no duck-and-cover drill could save you.

I don't know whether this was the cause of, or merely a large component of, my dread fascination with all sudden disaster -- Francine covered it way better than I can right now -- but I've always been "into"** everything from Chicxulub to Tunguska to the goddamned Titanic (I transcribed about 3/4 of Walter Lord's A Night To Remember in lavender Le Pen in a spiral notebook I stole from my sister that had My Little Pony on the front, and that's the stone truth), so this (particularly since it was over Russia) hit me right in the brain-nads.

PS: People with kids may not want to read this story, which has haunted me since I read it in the New Yorker in 2004. Or maybe you do, if your style is to look your worst fears directly in the face.

PPS: also: lol.

*Seriously: Fuck that fucking guy. 

**I say "into," but it's not in a good way -- just an unstoppable thirst to know about the worst, the baddest, the horror and the chaos and the ashes of what's left. Maybe this is how irreligious me copes with the unknowable mysteries of this dangerous fucking universe -- or maybe I should get me a hobby that doesn't involve catastrophe? Probably that second thing. 

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Blogger francine said...

i cannot love or keep re-reading this post and all of its links enough today. i mean, i probably won't be able to sleep tonight but it's totally worth it. always writing stuff that makes me think, gleemonex!

6:52 PM  
Blogger Amblus said...

Oh hey, remember the song "Russians" by Sting? It was a Big Deal to my middle-school self, because HOPEFULLY THEY LOVE THEIR KIDS ENOUGH NOT TO BLOW US ALL UP. OMG.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Gleemonex said...

Francine: awww! Thanks! You de best. :-)

Amblus: Yeah -- DUDE. Dude. WTF, Sting?

11:01 AM  

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