Dammit. 02:26
I feel as though I'm coming to the last gradual edge of a very long scary patch of very dangerous ground, and I finally begin to consider that it might be OK to stop and rest and look to see if the sun is still shining.

And I want to say this. I'm saying it to everyone, everywhere, and I'm saying it for the first and only time. This is true.

I'm so angry. I'm angry that I spent my entire childhood living with a model of the world that included a dark trap at the end of the tunnel. At other times it seemed to be a threatening leering sort of clown-colored blow ready to fall on my world at any moment. Yes, it had a color, as surely as Tuesday is blue, Thursday is more of a purple-blue and Monday is yellow, the threat had a color: Bright orange with strobing black shadows.

I was born in 1963, and so I got the worst of it: I was born too late to be part of the group for whom nuclear strikes and radiation were just the newest new-fangled gee-whiz stuff our boys down at the lab cooked up, the group that associated it with winning the war against the foreign oppressors. I was born too early to be part of the newer group for whom there exist nuclear weapons, of course, but there's no real reason to think that anyone intends to use them anytime in the forseeable future. I'm in the group who had dreams.

It's late, and I'm still up. The most striking attribute of the dreams is that the actual event, the explosion, is very unimportant to the dream, usually absent altogether. There is no buildup; No sirens or dread or fear. There is a "strike moment" as I call them in my dreams, and then the world-eating realization that all is lost, that EVERYTHING WILL BE BAD NOW FOREVER. There was once a brilliant orange and black strobing flash for a few "seconds", during which I stumbled backwards over a log, near a lake. Then I knew that everything was bad, and would always be bad, forever.

Why would anyone want to kill me? I asked myself. I was too smart to believe that they were "bad", or "monsters". Unfortunately for my peace of mind, I concluded that there must be a reason. All the adults in the world, who managed to run all this great stuff like TV and the State Fair had this gap in their functioning that made them make these bombs and threaten to use them. Any day now. Just you wait. Good night. Gotta get your sleep for school tomorrow.

Heaven 17 had a song on their first album I REALLY loved: "Let's All Make A Bomb". It made me so happy. I mean REALLY happy. The line "Although the war has just begun, ignore the sirens let's have fun" made me feel calm and warm and good. Knowing what I know now about music, I realize why, god damn it! To hear one's own twisted truths echoed in the world, in other people... it's what we all want.

"Take one hundred scientists or more. Place in a room and lock the door. Let them confer for half their lives. Unlock the door, go in and see what they have made for you and me. A brand new toy to Idolize." Bunch of goofy nice scientist guys. Cute affected smiles and shy manners. Nice Jewish and Catholic boys. "Gee-whiz, look what we did. We could build electric plants out of this. The bomb's just a toy!" If we can do it, do it. Hack the atom.

The guaranteed, absolute conviction that every thread of the fabric of society and technology would SOON be torn and twisted beyond all hope of repair. The blast wouldn't kill me, I'd be murdered by roving gangs while freezing to death in the Minnesota winter. No penicillin. No transport. No food. No knowledge of how the pioneers did it. Now, of course, I know better. People and knowledge are much more resilient than that. But back then... I felt as though I was living in an unnecessary ritual, at best, and a cruel ceremony at worst. Empty motions before the sky falls. Why bother? Shouldn't we be trying to move to Switzerland? Admittedly, I had too much alone time on my hands when I was young to sit and think about this.

When I was young, the world was run by very capable, all-knowing adults who knew exactly what was going to happen. Only a few adults belonged to this group, but I KNEW they were out there, and that they intended to kill me and ruin everything. My parents were not in this group, so I knew I had no special dispensation: orange and black rain would fall on me, too. Nowadays, I know that this is not true. No one runs the world. No one knows what's going to happen, and no one wants to kill me. So the mysteriously hateful people of my younger days are no longer present to stand trial for their crimes. I am left alone in a world of bumbling short-sighted local power-lord boobs trying to remember how to connect the detonator to the warhead. No one can ever tell me why they wanted to kill me, because they don't exist in this more real world I now live in. I'll never know. And even I have betrayed the 14-year-old I was who dreamed of orange-black strobing disaster beyond all imagining because I have given up believing that I will be destroyed. He's left with an angry expression on his face and a weak upper lip and no one will ever apologize.

What were they thinking? That we could just soldier on in brave war-time determination to make the Ultimate Sacrifice, if necessary? To stake my life as a bargaining chip in the Cold War? It was a Very Cold War, as I remember. And an Empty One. But why did my 6th-grade teacher have to re-inforce it all? 3 weeks of "Russian History". Ha. For three weeks, he explained to all us 12-year-olds how Russia was bad and would send the missiles over any day now, were it not for our missiles. Russia lies to their children, and tells them that we want to kill them, so that they will grow up wanting to kill us. (Me: Age 12: Hm. "But Mr. Jones, doesn't that describe what you're doing here now, too?" Spent rest of day in principal's office) Why did that weird psycho english teacher in junior high get so mad at me making fun of the flag, and start yelling at me (in public, no less) about the communists and the "Red, White and Blue"? What the hell was wrong with all these people? Couldn't they tell the difference between what was real and what was made up? What did they know that I didn't? That something bad was going to happen? I think that in 1976, the difference between adults and teenagers was that the adults actually were more worked up about the Cold War than we were (of course), but they didn't really understand what it meant. The teen-agers did. Absolute destruction of everything that mattered. The loss of protection from the cold, from hunger, from other people above all. I didn't care much about Saigon, but I knew what would happen in January in the winter if the natural gas flowing to the heater stopped. That actually happened once, on December 24th, and in 4 hours it was 34 degrees in the house, and my mother ran around like a chicken with her head cut off while i turned on the faucets because it seemed reasonable that the movement of the water might stop the pipes from freezing, which for some incomprehensible reason worried my mother more than being unhealthily cold. I was the only human being within earshot who could even TRY to cope, and I KNEW that I was a complete wuss and couldn't REALLY do much of anything. What good would she be if the bombs fell?

First Wednesday of every month at One O'Clock. Just a reminder.

I am angry. What gave them the right to terrorize me and then disappear? The Evil Rulers of the World. The people with no names who silently did Things 24 hours a day, in other time zones, where they didn't speak English. My teachers. The men Downtown. I decided at about 15 that they and I had nothing in common and it was vital that I never join them. That set me on a course lasting through my late 20's that led the long way around everything, and away from almost all other humans. I offically decided (I wrote this one night in my journal at age 22) that I would be neither Predator nor Prey in the world. I would neither vie for power nor meekly accept the threat of destruction in return for my alfalfa. I would be instead an omnivore, a social scavenger. Anything to survive without joining "THEM". (whatever the hell that meant) It led me to a lot of valuable and precious places, but it also isolated me.

Now there's no one to isolate from anymore, and I realize that the world is as much mine as anyone else's, and I can influence it however I choose. And, like a torture victim, I miss those far-away shadowy figures who meant me harm, for I never got to ask them anything.