28 December 2010

Day 276: Dan Walker (guest blogger)

Watchmen by Alan Moore.  ISBN: 9780930289232.

I picked up on a subtext while reading this through.  In Alan Moore's vision of 1985, World War Three is a specter hanging over everyone's shoulder, and once Russia invades Afghanistan, the shadow of impending armageddon looms heavily over the secondary characters.

It made me wonder how I would handle the end of the world.  Living where I do, it's very unlikely that I'd be hit by an atomic bomb, unless they were being dropped willy-nilly: Cleveland is too far away and Akron really doesn't need to be bombed.  I mean, just look at it.  But fallout, nuclear winds, or nuclear winter would eventually rear their ugly heads and I'd be up shit creek.

So how to take it?  I've always thought that if I knew it was coming, I'd just try and get out and do everything I could before the final curtain call: have sex, eat stuff, go places, see things.  Heck, travelling like that could potentially take me outside a blast radius, to somewhere relatively unaffected by whatever force is currently destroying civilization.

On the other hand, I'd like to think that I'd be one of those people who would knuckle down and prepare for a long haul underground.  By the time the bombs dropped, it would no doubt be too late, but hey, I used to belong to an apocalypse cult, kind of.  But that's a story for another time.

...Or maybe right now.

My friends and I, during my senior year of high school, were obsessed with World of Darkness roleplaying games, the kind that make you run around outside with your arms crossed over your chest shouting words like "Obfuscation!" and "Celerity!" at people desperately clutching their wrists.  Anyway, when other teens were fussing over social status and whether their zits were coming back for prom, we were forming a werewolf pack, which gave a structure to our Big Plan.  One of my friends had had a vision of impending doom that would "change the world as we know it" (we later thought it pertained to 9/11, but hindsight always validates augury), and his plan was to squirrel away books about farming and other knowledge that would be useful in rebuilding a society.  We were going to get in shape and learn all kinds of skills and... whatever, it never worked out and the apocalypse didn't happen until we were out of school anyway.

The point is, that kind of thinking, plus a mile-deep concrete bunker and some seeds and canned food, is all you really need.  That's resourcefulness.  It's also the kind of thing that you pretty much have to be a paranoid conspiracy nut to prepare in time for Ragnarok.  But it's not like the world is gonna end any time soon, right? 

Dan Walker (pseudonym) is a writer from Northeast Ohio, who would be teaching ESL if he wasn't unemployed temporarily working at a bookstore. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Wright State University in 2004 and a Masters in Teaching English as a Second Language from Kent State University in 2009. He will make some lucky librarian a wonderful husband someday. 

LibsNote: Post originally written on October 7, 2010 so the regular author could slog through Bill Bryson's At Home.

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