Saturday, August 27, 2005

Because I'll Never Pass for Swiss: How I'd Prefer to Expire in a Nuclear Apocalypse


As Nuclear Apocalypse Exit Strategies go, I've always said I wanted to be at ground zero of the first strike, with Alex and Rachel tucked under each wing. I want to go so fast that we never know what hit us.

My alternate (and impractical) scenario, in the event I'm assured a slow death of disease, starvation and misery (and I authored this one before I had kids) goes like this:

I find a way to the warm, crystal clear water of the Caribbean with scuba gear and two tanks; one is filled with air, the other with carbon monoxide. In the pitch-dark of night I find a spot with very deep water and jump into it wearing a comfy wetsuit and sporting the standard gear with a set of extra-heavy weights. I turn on my dive light and enjoy the scenery as I descend past 150 feet, then I adjust my buoyancy compensator until I achieve absolute neutral buoyancy. At a depth of greater than 150 feet, my compressed air becomes nitrous oxide and I get a lovely dose of nitrogen narcosis. Then, it's lights out. Dive lights, that is.

I'm weightless and it's like I'm in outer space. As I swirl my hands in the dark water, a shimmering trail of stars follow in their wake. I've got lots of company in the millions of tiny phospholuminescent dynoflagellates that blink and glow when disturbed and leave a glowing trail behind me when I swim (or spacewalk). As the high of this experience is at it's peak, I switch to the tank of colorless, odorless carbon monoxide and drift into peaceful, eternal sleep.

I thought it was a pretty cool way to go. Much better death by starvation and radiation poisoning.

Coming soon, the story of the inspiration for strategy #2. But first, I have to start thinking about an hurricane exit strategy. Things aren't looking too good here....

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