Resin Heroes

The terrifying nuclear autumn of 1983

That was the season my slice of generation, on the younger side of X, learned about things worse than death. Things like flash burns and thermal radiation and stillborn mutants. It was the season we acquired some of the habits of the wartime mind. We wondered if lights in the night sky were planes or missiles, and whether the school fallout shelter stood a chance. The autumn of ’83 was also a semester of children’s thermonuclear ethics. If it happens in the afternoon, do we run toward home, or away from the city and the blast? If it happens at night, do we let our parents huddle over us in the basement, or do we stand on the rooftop, chests forward, praying the first shock wave dematerializes our family without pain?

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