Something interesting came up in my English class today. We had just finished watching “Birdy” and were discussing the effects of war on people in general. One thing led to another and we were talking about what it was like to live during the Cold War with the very near possibility of a nuclear holocaust. At the time, people were deciding where they would most like to be if a missile were in flight and aimed at the city’s downtown core. Without the time to reach the countryside, one really has only three options: to be right in the down town core, the edge of the blast radius, or at on the outskirts of town. This got me thinking about where I would rather be, should I be in such a situation.
First of all, I needed to decide whether I wanted to meet death slowly and painfully, or quickly and painlessly. Most people (barring sadomasochists) would chose the quick and painless route. I would too. The next thing I needed to decide was whether I want to be oblivious of my coming demise, or to see it from a distance. This was when I realized that a nuclear blast at a close distance would be a beautiful thing to see. In that split-second before the pressure wave turns your insides into fruit smoothie, there must be an overwhelming sense of awe that overcomes you. I believe that it is in this time period that one truly comes to know and appreciate what it is to live. You can’t really get the same effect with any other kind of death. I’ve come to the conclusion that if I have to die, I’d rather do it as I see a mushroom cloud sprouting in the sky, or on a beach after the tide recedes and as the tsunami rolls in than from a cold as a shrivelled, old man.