Monday, July 23, 2007

Bomb's Away

I took the Monkey to the Air & Space Museum the other day. A big hit. Not quite as big a hit as the large cranes that seem to be popping up all around Petworth, or the occasional unguarded small backhoe ("baby backhoe") or skid loader that the Monkey Daddy is forbearing enough to put the Monkey into for a brief visit. But a big hit nonetheless.

Now the Monkey has been in Skylab.

One thing struck me, as we climbed down a ladder to tour the base of some rockets, cruise missiles, and other large pointy things that go boom. The actual people in charge of launching the rockets are not actual rocket scientists. (A good friend of mine was the leader of a missile launch crew on a naval cruiser, and he confirms that this is true.)

All these missiles have things like "HOIST HERE" and "TOP OFF LOX [liquid oxygen] ." Y'know, things the average forklift operator might forget as he loads a nuclear payload. Don't believe me?

I am a child of one of the last generations to be born during the Cold War. If there is anything profound I drew from the mundane markings on the missiles, it's how simple it would have been to end human life on earth. It's easy! Just hoist here, and don't forget to top off the lox. I mean, LOX.

For all the perils of the modern era, we're better off now than we were when I was born.

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