The Old Coot learned survival skills in third grade

I started watching a new movie the other day; it portrayed what the world will be like if global warming isn’t curtailed: horrific storms with hurricane force winds, unending forest fires, routine 500-year floods, hail stones the size of automobiles. It was a futuristic look at the world in its scariest scenario. I knew where it was going and quit watching after the first 15 minutes.

Later that same week a psychiatrist was on the radio, instructing parents on how to talk to their kids about global warming so they won’t live in fear with the constant pelting of media scenarios that made them think they are doomed, along with the planet. It was timely, and had some good advice to moderate climate change terror. Tell the kids things like, “We will solve this problem; let’s do our part.”   

I wish someone thought this way about kids in my generation. We grew up under the cloud of an atomic war. For me it started in elementary school, as the Cold War with Russia heated up. We had air raid drills to “save” us in the event of a nuclear attack. 

We loved fire drills; we got to go outside and wait on the playground. And even though we had to stay in line, it was still a lot of fun; we were out of the prison for 15 minutes. Air raid drills, on the other hand, required that we get under our desks and face away from the widows (to avoid going blind from the flash of an atomic bomb). 

We were told that our region was a target because of IBM and other tech and defense companies that peppered the Triple Cities area. Like this action would actually save us. What were they thinking?

To make matters worse, many popular movies of the day had “end of the world” themes with terrifying creatures, mutated from the fallout of atomic bombs, stalking cities and the people who lived in them.  One of my favorites was the movie “Them.” It had a legion of giant ants killing and eating people who wandered near their nest in an underground culvert. I still get a chill whenever I hear a squeaking sound similar to that made by the giant ants. 

Maybe that’s why my generation listens to the horrors of climate change portrayed on the media with a shrug, “Yeah, maybe it’ll happen.” We’ll do our part, but we think it hurts zealots’ credibility when every single snowstorm or thunderstorm is blamed on climate change. It scares kids, adults too, and reminds me of Chicken Little running around yelling that the sky is falling when it was only an acorn that hit the ground. 

These threats of doom have caused some young couples to fret over whether they should have children and bring them into a world with hailstones the size of automobiles. We still need to enjoy life, not live in constant dread of what might be. The earth’s climate has changed many times and life has been able to adapt. We will too.  

Now, get under your desk and face away from the window!   

Comments, complaints? Send to

Be the first to comment on "The Old Coot learned survival skills in third grade"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.