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  • Writer's pictureartahammer

Radioactive Man

I am a product of the nuclear age. I was born just as the USA was going into the war of aggression business in earnest. They had just completed the retrofit of Korea – changing the South of that nation into a model of the USA with smaller workers. Whereas in the North, grinding poverty and unemployment ravaged the nation, in the South, huge numbers of the citizens had become fully employed, in their grinding poverty.

And the USA had set up for business, moving their direct aggression further south still, while only declaring a cease fire with the North Koreans. All told, our corporate rebranding cost billions of dollars and ended millions of lives, reputedly even a couple million civilians. Afterwards, with troops still on the ground, and hostilities in abatement but not concluded, the real invasion occurred as business interests saw a huge untapped manufacturing base ripe for the plucking. We would show the wretched commies how to properly make use of populations: build shit for people who are better off. China learned fast, huh?

My father was a veteran of the Korean conflict, it wasn’t really a war (except to the people it blew to pieces and those who put them back together) because according to the Constitution those have to be declared by congress and it was difficult to get them together on the whole invasion of sovereign nations thing. So the president decided for us and things have only gotten better since, because now, the president always decides.

Let me tell you a little about my dad. He was born in 1930 to a British immigrant who had no use for him. His older brother was named Robert, (we called him Bob) but my dad was named Bill, in all likelihood because that was how his father perceived him. Told him that he was an abortion too late. Let him know who the favored progeny was, and it wasn’t Bill.

Bill took to drinking at an early age, 15. Like his stupid oldest son, he was addicted by the time he graduated high school and had set about a course of personal (and other peoples) debasement that left him afraid and alone at his end, the blank stare of catatonia as he hung on until I could tell him to go to sleep, and the poor bastard let go that night to finally find his peace.

He missed WWII but got caught up in the post war fervor and escalating anti-communism which was so popular in the late 40s early 50s, late 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, until the 90s where we started hating Muslims. Bill hated those commies, just like he was supposed to, and before his brain took him on permanent vacation, he had taken to hating those Muslims too. Just like he was supposed to.

So I have no problem imagining him being quite gung-ho for the whole Korean enterprise – some thinking is so bad that we can’t wait to change it, more direct action is required.

That is until it came to his direct action. Because, while Bill was supportive of US efforts to correct the thinking of people we don’t know around the world, he was less so when it came to his body being used for such educational purposes. Like so many, he was an intellectual anti-communist: he wanted his manufactured hatred to be enforced through the use of other people’s bodies. He liked his, which is why he drank disturbing amounts of liquor and smoked about 4 packs a day. True. True Blue.

How do you argue with a drug that calls itself True Blue? I mean, I took LSD in copious amounts and we called it acid. Imagine where I’d be if we called it Virtue. Or Pussy. Drooling in the corner like as not, I’m certain as many imagine me still. Had a little Mercedes logo shaped filter which did nothing I suspect except make the druggie dream of getting a Mercedes. Which Bill did. Blue, he got a blue one.

Bill told me that he wouldn’t go to Korea; said he went in when he was drafted as a conscientious objector, until they convinced him to accept his enslavement with the guarantee that he wouldn’t have no Koreans shooting at him. He accepted a role as an MP in Nevada. My dad, the drunken letch: a policeman. Makes you wonder, who do they turn down? Nobody apparently.

Bill drank on duty. Bill drank everywhere. I got his thirst, but my mother’s stomach, so I would drink and puke and drink and puke. It was a lovely combo. Since I’ve given up drinking, my puking is at an all-time low. Go team!

As penance for not directly blowing up Koreans, or shooting Koreans, or burning Koreans, soldiers stateside got to enjoy their own little hells. Bill told of his drunken exploits with pride, which likely has abetted my druggy bragging rights, a thoroughly stupid thing to brag about, and one engaged in with ardor by so many. The stuff Bill did when he was drunk was nothing to brag about.

But his promotion for Gordon’s Gin always struck me as amusing, so it seemed worthy of sharing, especially so in a world where people write at length about their cats. Here, kitty, kitty. Ah, shaddap!

The USA nuked Japan twice. Nuked a bunch of natives when the wind shifted after they bombed the Bikini atoll during Castle Bravo. But of all the places we’ve nuked and all the people we’ve irradiated, the place we’ve attacked the most? The USA. We’ve nuked this nation close to a thousand times. I’m not making this up. Here is a YouTube link of a disturbing representation of just how fucking crazy we are:

Humans and especially American humans. We’re suicidal.

I look at this and think of cutters. Cutters are humans who have suffered such trauma, such psychological debasement that they cut themselves as a way to punish themselves for being inadequate, perverse, or just wrong. Cutters are hurt people who hurt themselves because they feel they deserve it. Nuked the USA 1000 times. Telling.

Bill took part in what were known as the Desert Rock tests in Nevada. It was a military operation called Buster-Jangle conducted from the early 1950s till 1957, where the military would drop an atomic or hydrogen bomb from a plane, or detonate it on the ground and then they would watch what happened to the troops exposed to the detonation from various perspectives. Study the effects is what they called it. Kind of like a kid squirting flammable fluid on an anthill and studying the ants when he lights it.

Bill told of his exposure: said he and his group were in a trench near the test. He said he had a half pint of Gordon’s Gin with him, for emergencies – that Bill, always prepared. He said just before the detonation, he set that bottle above him on the rim of the trench. When the explosion occurred, he said that bottle flew from atop the trench above him, slammed into the back of the trench yet didn’t break. He was very impressed with that: Gordon’s Gin, nuke tested, drunkard approved.

Afterwards, he gathered up his special beverage and he and his fellow grunts charged the area of detonation: they charged the nuke. Just in case it wasn’t dead or something. Then, in celebration for their successful thwarting of the commie desert and its denizens in Nevada, he and his buddies no doubt drank that nuked liquor and regaled each other with their exploits, as soldiers are wont to do. Decades later, regaling his son with the same, expanded and embellished story as story tellers are wont to do.

I’ve often wondered, though, did the nuking of my dad have any influence on me, other than culturally, does it offer me any super-human capacities or is it really only good for cooking? Or burning? I can’t fly, (TSA insists), can’t stick to walls or shoot webs out my ass. I’ve broken, so I don’t think I’m bullet proof, though I’ve had many opportunities to find out, gladly all missed.

The things I can do are because I’ve trained myself, taught myself to do them. The way I think is because I can see things which seem obvious to me, while others think I am imagining them. That clarity I suspect came in part by the government sponsored ingestion of LSD because once I crossed that threshold many of my illusions were swept away, I became receptive.

A receiver.

As a receiver, I accepted things from a neutral position, neither for nor against, observing, considering. In time, when that reception made the obvious irrefutable, the receiver became the broadcaster, sharing an understanding of reality from a different perspective indeed. The active man, as radio.

The radioactive man.

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