I’ve always felt that adolescence during the Cold War was like adolescence on steroids. It’s hard enough to be a teenager and deal with the difficult realization that the grown-ups don’t know what they’re doing; but when the grown-ups have nuclear weapons aimed at each other…then it’s a whole different ball game.
It’s fascinating to talk about this stuff with college freshman nowadays. They’ve grown up in the shadow of 9/11; that’s the Fear Narrative that’s been thrust upon them. A part of me thinks that it’s worse, as it actually happened; it’s not as nebulous as what I grew up with. Another part of me realizes that we survived 9/11, that we could survive another one if we had to. Thermonuclear war was supposed to vaporize all human life in an instant.