July 16, 1945
“It’s a terrible thing that we made.” -Robert Wilson
“Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” -Oppenheimer
“We’re all sons of bitches now.” -Kenneth Bainbridge
I used to have nuclear war dreams all the time. During one six month spread, I woke up every night from nightmares, usually nuclear war dreams. Sometimes I’d be walking around with friends or family members during or after a nuclear strike. In one dream, I was directly in the blast-the fiery shockwave washed over me. I used to fear a nuclear holocaust a lot more than I do now. I think it’s because there’s not a lot that does truly scare me now except the fear of doing something really stupid. Or that I am slowly going insane. I’m pretty sure that I am slowly going insane.
In my nuclear dreams, the world would sometimes be more or less destroyed and sometimes it would just be altered. One time I had tinsel growing out of my hand due to the radiation. Many times I ended up having to live in some claustrophobic bunker because the outside world had been devastated. I find the current fad of nuclear blasts as a plot device on T.V. to be interesting. They are upping the dramatic stakes by having the devices actually go off. This is a different world than the one when I was a teenager and was really freaked out by “The Day After.” In that made for T.V. movie, nuclear blasts meant the world was screwed completely. It was not a plot device. How casual it’s become.
Whenever I think about nuclear war, I inevitably think about the movie “Smithereens,” where one of the characters talks about the way she sees the world. In her view the world has already been destroyed, we’re just floating around on the pieces of what’s left. “Things fall apart.” I don’t wish this way of seeing on anyone, but I think the world has always been this way for me. Blasted apart, kind of incoherent.