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Variety Mutually Assured Destruction


The best week of my life happened just after I learned that the mountain by my house was a volcano.


I woke up every morning, and I was so convinced that any day now, it would reduce everything that I knew and loved to ashes and dust. I cried alone at night and squeezed my eyes tight and prayed to whoever would listen that we all might wake up tomorrow, and that the sleeping beast would stay sleeping. The fear consumed me until one day I woke up, and I cried to my parents about what we would do if the volcano erupted and where we would go after everything we knew had been burned to a crisp. They smiled back at my frightened face, and they told me that scientists had been monitoring the volcano’s activity for years and years and with all the science in the world they could say that the volcano was dormant, and would be for a long while more. I felt relief for the first time in days.


Without the burden of the volcano, I began to enjoy my life again. I had the best week of my life, not even thinking about the volcano. That is, until I walked into American History and learned about nuclear war. It seemed to me that mutually assured destruction was the only future in our future. I stayed after class and tears filled my eyes. I cried to my teacher, “why!” I wanted to crawl into the Earth and just wait the hatred out. Surely, the only way to stay safe was to hide from everyone and everything else. He looked at me and asked, “but what kind of life would that be? To live in fear would only assure your own destruction, and that is not the kind of world I want to live in.” Protecting your life is not the same as living it because you are loved. And the only thing that can mutually assure total destruction is hiding so well that not even the light can find you. And that is not the world that I want to live in.