I was two months from my eleventh birthday when I was informed that the world was about to blow up. I didn’t know much about what was happening on the planet.
My life was simple.
I was climbing in the bathtub every night, looking down at my pubic area for any signs of hair, since a rumor had spread that one of the guys in our class had some.
This was the most important thing to me.
But all of a sudden, my attention was temporarily nabbed by the news that those bad people over there on the other side of the world were trying to kill us good people over here—by blowing us up with bombs which seemed to be a lot more explosive than I could even imagine.
I was very angry.
Matter of fact, over dinner I expressed my rage by explaining that it was completely unfair for a bunch of old people to destroy my life just because they couldn’t get along with each other
The problem was that there were now missiles in Cuba.
I didn’t know anything about Cuba. When I heard the word “Cuba” the first thing that popped into my mind were cube steaks, which were some hybrid of hamburger and sirloin. So the way I remembered the word was to think of “Cuba Steaks.”
Therefore, people in “Cuba Steaks” were planning to fire bombs at us that turned our bodies into dust through fire.
I was not going to get to live long enough to kiss a girl or do any more hair-raising.
That’s what it meant to me.
And honestly, as I think back on it, having studied it, heard renditions of the story and considered the insanity of the times, my ten, nearly eleven-year-old objections seem quite suitable.
It would be wonderful to tell you that the Cuban Missile Crisis is a thing of the past. But now we have a whole new generation of leaders who apparently cannot remember what it was like to be terrified, living in a world of “duck and cover.”
Now they are trying to reintroduce these weapons into everyday thought.
If I had a poison in my cupboard and I knew it would kill someone if they drank it, the only sane solution would be to remove the poison from my cupboard, not expect everybody to remember that it’s lethal.
Perhaps we should all pray that logic will win the day and we will grow so weary of thinking about being destroyed that we’ll finally put the poison away for good—those weapons that snuff out all life.