I cannot stop making Spaghetti Jilroy
I got outside this glowing bowl of noodles while contemplating some remarks delivered by an American navy pilot on This American Life. I was only half-listening to the program, but it caught my ear when the pilot said something about how easily he sleeps at night knowing he has dropped bombs on the bad guys. He said there’s nothing sadistic about it. He’s glad to have the opportunity. He’s just doin’ his job.
Dude, I can totally relate. There were lots of great wars when I was a little kid growing up in America, but indisputably one of the most popular was the Cold War. One of the chief features of the Cold War was the unsettling sense that at any minute the Russians might blow the world the fuck up. The near-certainty of impending global annihilation was more or less the relentless undercurrent of daily life. You couldn’t hop a scotch without falling into a pit some enthusiastic commie-hata was digging for his fallout shelter.
In school we learned what to do in the event of a nuclear attack: kneel under your desk and fold your hands over your head. No joke.
Like so many impressionable Americans of the time, I believed, as a result of these daily exercises in panic and paranoia, that the USSR was populated entirely by a race of sociopathic villains known as Commie Pigs whose singular, mad desire was to incinerate the Earth just for the hell of it. Like so many impressionable Americans, I hated and feared these Commie Pigs. Nuclear war might suck, but it was widely adjudged preferable to life under Soviet rule.
Fortunately, unlike the This American Life guy, I was not an F-16 fighter pilot at the time. In fact, I was only 9 years old. Before I could go around sleeping like a baby after dropping bombs on people I had never met, I turned 10 and got a fucking clue, and that was the end of that.
This has been the story of my first-hand experience with blind, government-approved, xenophobic hatred.