It was lunchtime and I was on my favorite park bench. I was hungry for some juicy “Bench Talk”. My prayers were answered when an old, grey-haired, guy sat down next to me.
“Hello, nice day isn’t it?”
“Not really, I feel danger coming,” said my bench mate.
He kept looking up, searching the sky.
“What are you looking for?” I asked, full of curiosity.
“Shadows in the sky from Russia.”
“Oh, you mean Stealth Bombers,” I smiled.
“Yes, that’s right, have you seen any?”
“No, I haven’t.”
I was taken aback, this guy was serious!
“The Cold War is over,” I said.
“I’m a survivalist and I know it isn’t.”
“Remember, the Berlin Wall came down?”
“That doesn’t make any difference.”
This character was beginning to bug me.
He continued: “Remember when it all started in the 50’s and 60’s? We all started thinking about civil defense planning and how we could survive nuclear war.” His eyes were glistening.
“I remember there was talk of digging fallout shelters and evacuating cities. Sirens used to go off once a week to remind us about the danger. But I always thought it was a crock of whatchamacallit.”
He looked stunned.
“How can you say that?”
“It was all a propaganda campaign to keep the Industrial-Military Complex making money.”
I don’t think he was listening to me at all.
“When you see the shadows in the sky, you have to “Duck and Cover” to protect yourself from the gamma rays.”
I was getting a little scared, this guy was nuts!
“We have to build more bombs and then the Russians will build more bombs. The more bombs we both have, the safer we will be.”
“That’s crazy talk,” I said.
“We have to be ready to evacuate the cities,” he continued.
“Have you ever been in a rush hour traffic jam? And that’s only a fraction of the people on the move.”
“We must practice evacuation then.”
“Don’t you understand, nothing would move. It would be extreme chaos!”
“We have to plan for survival,” he had a blank look in his eyes.
“You would have 300 million or so people wandering around the country with no food, no shelter, no organization, absolute chaos!”
“You don’t understand,” he mumbled.
“No, it’s you, that doesn’t understand. The government just wants the arms manufacturers to prosper. It’s good for the economy.”
“You’re wrong, I know you’re wrong.”
“It’s a con job, trust me,” I said.
He got up and started walking away, and as he did, he said:
“I can’t believe it’s a “Crock of Whatchamacallit.”