Gimme a Bomb Shelter

04/18/2007 07:25 pm 19:25:53 | Updated May 25, 2011

It's a gorgeous morning here in Los Angeles. I rose at about 5 A.M., actually. My mom's flying in from New York to see us. The wind's whipping the treetops. The air is clear and crisp as it seeps through the acceptable gaps in my windows and fills the spacious interior with an autumnal chill. Everything is splashed with a luminous orange, aglow with the rising sun's caress.

And I'm getting a bomb shelter.

Been looking online for them. Something that is big enough for me, the wife and kids, water, food, filtration systems, and possibly a last minute pity survivor to either breed with or cannibalize down the line.

I'm looking out at my backyard. I'm lucky, as I have a nice one. Sizable. Grassy. Been damn lucky, that's for sure. Shall I sink the 50 foot corrugated rebar concrete reinforced tube back beneath the bed of lupins or demo the blacktop driveway and embed Weber's Ark three to eight feet below the primary crust? Because as much psychological and geographic distance as there is between me and any lone shooter or knapsack-sporting jihadist or box cutter-wielding terrorist, I guess it never hurts to be terrified. I mean prepared.

And while there is clearly a cottage industry that exists solely because of an ingrained sense of panic that has been steadily nurtured for decades in expectation of an impending nuclear freakout that has the fear merchants wringing their hands and licking their teeth like cartoon misers as schmucks such as myself ponder spending thousands for something that will likely never be used for anything other than a place to stash the glut of show jackets and caps, or as a teenage Masturbatorius Subterraneus, I still want to do it. Build a bomb shelter, that is.

What the fuck is wrong with me (except that I loathe punctuation)? I'll tell you: I get scared as hell. Forget that death is waiting to take your hand at the end of the hopefully long queue. I've made peace with that long ago. It's the violence that seems to prevail in most of the advertised accounts. It's the visual image of the panic that seizes the victims of a violent confrontation that ends in death: the wide-eyed helplessness, the voiding of the bowels, the vain cries for assistance. It's perfectly acceptable and logical that we humans are no more than the equivalent of microbes in the scheme of things, crawling about, digging meandering tunnels with our faces, carrying glucose crystals in our mandibles (Sorry. I'm scared and confused.). I really don't need to think that humans are anything other than a teensy cog in the armature that guides the swivel that suspends the leg that wears the boot that kicks the marble that runs along the gutter that trips the string that causes a Big Bang in the mammoth Rube Goldbergian framework of the universe. But I do have a problem with some extremist dickhead who takes religion oh so literally and who thinks his own ascent to Elysium will be hastened by the snuffing out of nameless, faceless heathens, such as myself. And you, of course.

I also recently watched a movie called Threads. Big mistake. Great movie, though. Real, bleak, real bleak. It was made in 1984 and dramatizes what the results of a nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and America would be like (over an incident involving Iran, no less) starting with the immediate aftermath of the attack and spanning 13 years to the point where the remaining survivors live in an environment reminiscent of an Hieronymous Bosch painting. Lesions, cataracts, periodontal disease, you name it. If anyone ever took a date to see this movie it's a good bet they didn't get any you know what. But viewing this very realistic film put me in mind of the possibility that with all the 'round the clock assurances that the world will not end anytime soon, there is still that wild card out there waiting to be dealt on the felt. And since the perspective between the average citizen and reality seems to be becoming ever more distant then the possibility of a sociopathic event taking place becomes more probable and with increasingly devastating results.

I am not reaching this conclusion based on color coded alerts or assertions that "if we don't fight them there we will fight them here" horseflop. I am basing it on increased probability due to the widespread conditioning of the population to achieve an abstracting of violence. For most of us there is always a television screen between our safety and their calamity, between our security and their suffering. And rather than imbue me with a sense of well being I am instead petrified. And that's good business. I am ready to purchase virtually any Anti-Petrification Thing any smart, caring manufacturer can come up with. I have taken into consideration my own fear conditioning, having tasted the tail end (ahem) of the now chic, once hair whitening Atomic Age, having participated as a 9 year old in some duck-and-cover drills in elementary school. I add to that conditioning my current distrust of the war-mongering, brush clearing sociopath in the White House. And to that I add my aforementioned wild card scenario. Just watch Threads and ass over kettle you will go, only to land on your own carbonized keister, the soft, pleasant flesh and muscle having been scalded away during the first instants of nuclear roasting.

So in conclusion, I am not warming up to any Ted Nugent survivalist bandolier-wearing, camouflage sporting "God, Guns and Guts Made America Free" spouting philosophy when I get my estimate from the bomb shelter manufacturer. I'm just scared shitless of those people and taking evasive action. I wonder if they make a "green" bomb shelter?