My friendly neighborhood pharmacy, a locally owned establishment notable for its vaguely pervy seasonal window displays - most recently, a summer desert panorama with a dehydrated manikin languishing bound in several velcroed muscle restraints (a back brace, pelvis/jock strap, ace bandages and an arm sling), with a case of bottled water sadistically out of reach – has on this same window put an ad for ANTI-NUCLEAR RADIATION PILLS. And like the creeping eyes of a family portrait, the ad’s block letters, ghostly gray against a black background – follow me even as I’ve passed it by.
There is something Total Recall to me about this sign. I get a similar hunch about subway ads for conserving energy and directions for emergency evacuation, and envision a time in the near future when Ms. Subway beams at us from video billboards instructing passersby on how to don their hazmat suits on ozone free days, and the group shower hours for when we’ve used up most of our water.
To make sure the Anti-Nuke Pill ad wasn’t for portable chemo therapy or camping equipment, I did a little radiation research on the Web- an article in the New York Times from 2004 commented on The 2002 Bioterrorism Act requiring a study by scientists on how to store and distribute these pills, of potassium iodide, a drug that protects against the radioactive iodine, which would flow from ground zero in the event of nuclear attack and was the largest problem in the fallout from Chernobyl. YES. NUKE PILLS DO EXIST.
This led to the site www.ki4u.com where many Americans (1200 a day according to the site) are learning all about anti-radiation pills and the sources to buy them on the Internet. The site is run by a gentleman named Shane – and don’t we need more good Samaritans like him? Thank you Shane. Shane and his colleagues offer several helpful, practical guides to surviving nuclear annihilation including an article (written by Shane) titled: “THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT NUCLEAR DESTRUCTION!” And the free nuke prep primer: "WHAT TO DO IF NUCLEAR DISASTER IS IMMIENENT!”
I have studied the nuke prep primer and taken it to heart (and you should too) and am considering cleaning out the unused Nair hair removal kits (speaking of radiation, this Nair stuff is suppose to melt or otherwise make your leg hair fall out?!) and the accumulation of cheap makeup (bought with such great hope for its transformative powers) from the cupboard under my bathroom sink, in order that I may use this space for storage of supplies from the Nuclear Shelter Suggested Product List. Shane insists that, yes we can survive nuclear attack, with the right prep work and supplies.
Am also considering purchase of: NukAlert™ - In January of 2003, Shane and the folks at site ki4u introduced at the National Health Physics Society Annual Convention their new product, the NukAlert™. A patented, matchbox sized, key-chain attachable, personal radiation monitoring and alarming device. With a ten year battery warranty!! This handy high-tech widget will beep when it detects evidence of a nuclear explosion – just in case the user isn’t tipped off by the collapse of buildings, ball of fire, blast beam, dead people, etc. www.NukAlert.com - Don’t be left out in the cold – ahem, I mean nuclear winter.
The nation was run by alarmists after 9/11, helpful, small-pupiled, camo-wearing neighbors selling duct tape and self-foaming lather by the crate to anxious New York apartmentites and ex-Navy Seal fathers of Texas high school football heroes (I believe, if you’re interested, you can also pick up a shield to protect your family's personal space from crazed refugees fleeing on the Staten Island Ferry) - but many of us consider ourselves too smart to be drawn in and too resigned to what-will-be-will-be.
Yet, the government has deemed, if not the NukAlert, than the radiation pills at least, a good idea - a veritable sanction for people like me to get crazy scared. Recently up in the Whitehouse, Bush and his advisors shot the shit over whether, like Encyclopedia Brown retracing his steps for a clue, the FBI would be able to figure out, after NY has been blown off the map, who sold uranium to the folks that hit the red button.
Governments world wide stockpiling the anti-nuke pills apparently include, Japan, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Sweden, and Russia – though not the US - which is only purchasing the pills for high-ranking military personnel and some really excellent strippers.
Health officials warn that taking the pill may cause other problems...Yet I am drawn to that sign at the pharmacy and the DYI S and M manikin in the window. At 20 cents a pop, what are a few anti-radiation pills among friends? If you need some, I’ll be in my bath tub, under the mattress, my NukAlert beeping, popping radiation pills with condensed milk, while everyone else has moved to Alaska and gone back to worrying about America’s next top model.
Do you secretly harbor the urge to stockpile? Have you warned your friends to get their emergency evacuation kit ready? Considering a move to Scottsdale, Arizona, America’s second safest city according to a Forbes guide. Do you think we have a false sense of security, or the opposite – are we a nation crying wolf, henny penny with a reinforced steel umbrella?
Let me know if I should pick you up some pills. I also hear Valium's good and there are certain kinds of Hawaiian pot that can really take the edge off a nuclear attack.