Copyright 1985, 1986 by Gregory S. Swann. All Rights Reserved. Direct inquiries to CIS I.D

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Copyright 1985, 1986 by Gregory S. Swann. All Rights Reserved. Direct inquiries to CIS I.D. 75115,1341. ___________________________________________________________________________ 'Yahoo!!': The VOW Has 'The Bomb' I don't want to spoil anyone's mood. Nor rob the spring of eternal hope from anyone's step. But sooner or later, we have to wake up. 'The Bomb' is getting around. I guess it's all right to be 'committed' to 'arms control' if one has nothing better to do. To prattle about 'significant reductions' and 'mutual verification'. To pin buttons on knapsacks and adopt the confused, fearful expression of the truly knowledgeable. And if someone compares you to an ostrich, call him a 'war-monger'. Nothing shuts 'em up like the old 'Big Lie'. But please don't pretend that anything can come of it. The present daft declarations simply demonstrate that balminess is an equal opportunity illness, whether it strikes in sweltering August or crisp November. By September, I expect an enterprising marketeer at =Time= or =Newsweek= to have coined a phrase, something like 'November Thaw', to foretell the outcome of the forthcoming 'summit'. And afterward we will be told that this was the actual result, since, as every alumnus knows, the observed must bow to the observer. Then all 'arms controllers' can hug themselves in in the smug glow of piety, praising yet another victory for that ancient force, the imperious demand. Dashed. All of it. Even grasping at the invisible straw of Soviet compliance, these facts remain: India has 'The Bomb'. So has France. Israel has 'The Bomb' and Pakistan will have it soon if it hasn't now. China is said to have =many= bombs. There are probably others, and there certainly will be more. I =know= there will be more. You see, the VOW has 'The Bomb'. Calm yourself. It's true: the Ohio Chapter of the Veterans of Overseas Wars has 'The Bomb'. Not too likely you've heard about it. People 'committed' to uni- or bi-lateral 'arms control' don't talk a lot about the multi-lateral arms race. Or its logical conclusion... What happened was this: I was in Columbus on business. The VOW was in Columbus for its annual convention. All of us stayed at the Columbus Sheraton, but I think they enjoyed it more than I did. There were VOWers in the room next to mine, and, though I'm sure that's better than having them in the =same= room, I'm hard-pressed to say precisely how. A boisterous lot: one cackled like a Disney villain and another guffawed better than any laugh track. Most of their conversation was not as literate as that, mind you; they seemed to me to communicate mostly by yelps, yowls, and yahoos... at any and all hours. I did my best to hide my pain, in the room, in the hallways, in the elevators (ick!), but I don't know that I was entirely successful. I almost broke down on Saturday, when I saw four over-made-up matrons mangling 'God Bless America' with kazoos. But the real action didn't happen until Sunday. Have you ever been to Columbus? I suppose it's a very nice place to be normal. I'd be surprised if it pays to be anything other than normal... Sunday was the day of the Columbus Area Gay Pride March. When I learned of this latter datum, I wondered about the scheduling savvy of the VOWers. I didn't have to wonder for long. Item: it takes muscles to march for prideful pederasty in Columbus. All of the marchers were beefy, mean-looking men. Only about 15 dared to march, and one group's banner was from distant Pittsburg. Four jock-types were mangling 'Chariots of Fire' on glockenspiel. A brawny-gaudy transvestite was clashing with them, doing a creditable job of 'I Am Woman' on kazoo. I heard some protest noises that sounded closer than the raindance eighteen floors below. I stepped onto the balcony to investigate and found assembled most of the VOWers. They were yelling and gesticulating wildly, waving angry signs: 'Stop the Commie Fags!', 'Ban Perversion!', 'Nuke Jane Fonda!'. There was a large oil drum hanging over the ledge of the balcony; painted a velvety flat black, it was inscribed in white block letters: 'A Cure For AIDS!' There was a flabby Good Ol' Boy lounging against the guardrail, grinding away slowly at a chaw of tobacco. He wore loose-fitting Wranglers and a T-shirt that was valliantly failing to contain his beer belly. As I watched, he scrunched up his face and, taking careful aim, let fly a stream of tobacco sputum. Below, one of the marchers looked up and shook his fist. "Hee, hee!," said Good Ol' Boy. "That'll teach 'em!" I'll understate myself and say I was revolted. My mouth was too wet, and I felt an urgent need to change the subject. Fast. "Is that really a cure for AIDS?" I pointed to the oil drum. "Hee, hee!," said Good Ol' Boy of the VOW. "Hee, hee! ...BOOM! Right, Lester?" He brushed at the sleeve of a crony, so far as I could tell a Good Ol' Boy clone, down to the creased red skin and the beady-crafty eyes. "BOOM!" "Yahoo!!," said Lester. "That's a sure-fire cure for AIDS, son," Good Ol' Boy went on. "Sure-fire! Hee, hee!" "Really? That's interesting. How does it work?" "BOOM! Hee, hee!" "...??" His smile was both crafty and gloating. "Boy, that's a nucular warhead!" "Nu=cle=ar," I said out of habit. "Nu...cular," he didn't mimic. My mind caught up with the conversation: "...that's a bomb...?" "Yep! Hee, hee!" "A bomb... '=The= Bomb'...??" "Hee, hee!!" Deep breath. "The Ohio VOW has 'The Bomb'?" "BOOM! Hee, hee!" "...is it armed?" I pointed to the steel drum. "Is that =really= a bomb...?" He sent another train of sputtle over the ledge. I had to turn away. "It ain't armed." He looked disgusted. "Hell, it ain't even finished yet!" I sighed with relief. An ugly thought: "...but you =are= going to have 'The Bomb' soon, right?" Scowl. "The college boys say it'll be another six months, at least... I say we might need it before then!" "You... =need= 'The Bomb'...?" "Boy. Look down there... What do you see?" "I see a dozen men who look like they'd have more fun playing softball..." Scowl. "Well, =I= see a gang of perverts who want to kidnap my kids!" "...yes. There's that, too... But 'The Bomb'?" "Look around you, boy! It's not just them! The whole =world= is going up in flames!" Unsummoned, an idea from a book came crashing in on me: what is it they're all expecting?; what forms this mixture, conviction of doom, feigned desire for magical salvation, and, imperceptibly, the vague taste of a more furtive hope... Another unanswered question: If the discovery of Aristotle stimulated the spread of civilization, has his burial stimulated its retreat? "...why not just nuke yourselves...?" "How's that?" "...nothing." "Well," the Good Ol' Boy chawed, "what I say is: it's better to have a bomb and not need it than to need a bomb and not have it!" He aimed, then fired another spit missile. "Hee, hee! Yahoo!!" =Willie!= _-_ # # # @ @ # {# ( ) #} | #"# | ##^## ###

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