Thursday, November 11, 2004

Civil Defense

   A small metal box, painted yellow, with a switch and a terminal on it. Found in a junk store, it bore the once-familiar CD logo. CD as in civil defense, a program designed to keep us scared out of our wits in the fifties. The box was for checking a radiological tester (Geiger counter) - it was not radioactive, it just had a circuit to see if the electronics were OK. You used to see a lot of those CD logos, schools had them, some buildings downtown had them - in the basement of the CD buildings were dozens of thirty gallon pails, filled with drinking water, medical supplies, and hard candy. There was a radiological kit, too - that must have been where that box came from. When I was in primary school, twice a year we would have CD drills, we'd put our heads under our desks or go out in the hall and huddle in our open lockers. It made you think. What if the bomb was dropped? Would we be in the blast zone? Would we be survivors? At the height of this nonsense, the Air Force would practice bombing runs over our town, complete with sonic booms.

   We actually did get attacked. We were "bombed" by our own government with "safe" radioactive isotopes, just to see what would happen. That program remained secret until a few years ago. Perhaps my little box was used in that project, to make sure that the Geiger counters were accurate as they measured the radiation that swirled about our Midwestern city.

   I guess it beats duct tape and plastic sheeting.

By Professor Batty


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