When I was in grade school, we had these things called “Civil Defense” drills.
The stated purpose of these drills was to prepare us in case of an attack by another country.
The implicit purpose, as we all knew, was to prepare ourselves in the event of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union.
I don’t blame the school for conducting the drills. It was, after all, the mid-1970’s, a mere decade or so removed from the Cuban Missile Crisis that almost ended the world.
Looking back on it, though, I do question the wisdom of the steps we took to prepare ourselves for a nuclear blast 1,000 times the size of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After all, one would think that when all the big brains of the defense department and the educational system got together on a plan for protecting millions of children from nuclear radiation, the plan would be something more than this:
Hide under your desk.
And oh yeah, cover your head with your hands.
Because as everyone knows, nuclear radiation cannot penetrate the space under a third-grader’s desk. And even if it could, your hands are there, and it can’t get through your hands.
Granted, my buddies under their desks could penetrate the space by punching me in the side and throwing pencils at me as I was crouched down. But not the nuclear missile.
Or maybe we were just hiding from Soviet pilots who were looking out the windows of their jets and saying “Nyet. No keeds there.” Of course, that wouldn’t have worked in my case, because my buddy Emilio was throwing crap at me.
Either way, the plan was a grand success, as I have lived to write this.
Thank God for good planning.