Friday, 19 September 2014

Atomic Nightmare

The early 80s was a period when everyone thought the USSR and the USA were going to start lobbing nuclear missiles at one another. (Want to read about frightening nuclear happenings during the Cold War? Check out this and the article about it on Gizmodo.) One fall evening, in 1983, me and my roommates sat around our tiny living room and watched The Day After. It's a tv movie that explores what would likely happen should the aforementioned nuclear missile lobbing actually happen.

No. fun. there.

So, it's not surprising that not long afterwards I had a nuclear related nightmare. In this nightmare I was with a lot of other people huddled in some underground shelter. We were organizing supplies, food, bedding, etc. All of a sudden a glowing blue man appeared in our midst. Everyone within a few feet of him would start to blister and scream before disintegrating into a pile of ash. Needless to say panic ensues and everyone starts running away from the blue glowing 'Atomic man.' I woke up just as he rounded the corner of the dead end I suddenly found myself in (you know how dreams can be). I woke up in a state of anxiety and fear I don't think I've ever really experienced before or since. I actually had to wake up one of my roommates (who was none too happy, I might add) and ask him to sit with me till I calmed down (he promptly fell back asleep). Some nightmares stay with you and this one stayed with me for a looooong time.

Years later, I found myself in a theatre watching some movie called The Watchmen (I knew nothing about it other than it was based on a comic...sorry, graphic novel). Well, didn't I get a surprise when Dr. Manhattan makes his appearance. He looked exactly like my Atomic Man!

You may find yourself asking why I'm posting about this...other than the obvious nightmare & Halloween connection. Well, we were recently watching Episode 6, Acceptable Limits, of the tv series Manhattan. In the episode (spoiler alert) one of the scientists working on the Manhattan Project accidentally inhales / ingests some plutonium. Not good. This reminded me of an article my husband had sent my way - The Tragic Tale of Atomic Man: Life as a Radioactive Human. And so, as hubby and I were discussing it all, I told him about my Atomic Man nightmare (hey, there's an idea for a post...).

Next August will be the 70th anniversary of the 1st atomic bombs dropped on inhabited cities (July 6 on Hiroshima and July 9 on Nagasaki). Close to 300,000 people are estimated to have died in those two detonations. Let's hope that was a nightmare no one ever has to experience again.