Friday, March 25, 2011


Once upon a time the word "meltdown" had meaning. Serious meaning. It meant a nuclear reactor had lost control of its cooling mechanism in the core of the reactor and the radioactive fuel inside was going to get hotter and hotter until it melted through the bottom and into the earth - all the way to China. Hence the name, "China Syndrome."

Nowadays a "meltdown" means a teenage tantrum. Slammed doors. Thrown phones.

Way back in the 'seventies, I worked on a campaign called Californians for Nuclear Safeguards. We talked about meltdowns a lot. We lost the campaign but we put that word in the national dialogue.

It's so commonplace today it seems almost benign. It's not. It is, in fact, the very opposite. It's malignant.

Speaking of which, I have to go to the doctor's office now. I have a little thing on my leg that has to come off. It's not benign. So maybe that makes me just a little bit more aware about the silent, invisible, inaudible malignant menace unfolding on the other side of the Earth. Which in these times, is not all that far away. And it doesn't have to melt all the way through the Earth to reach us. It can float like a cloud over the ocean and land gently, silently on our bodies. It kind of feels like this thing on my leg. Except you can't go to the doctor and have her scrape it off you before lunch.

OK. That's it for today. My new resolution is to blog regularly about whatever, rather than wait for inspiration to write something momentous. In truth, every minute we spend on this Earth from now on is momentous. At least, that's how it feels to me right this minute.

Which keeps me from having a meltdown.



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