One of the benefits of getting older is the impact of new information particularly when that information pertains to history or culture. Here I refer to those proverbial "I did not know that" moments that occur with less frequency yet heightened intensity as the years roll by.
For example, I just learned that the Little Boy which the Enola Gay dropped on Hiroshima didn't explode upon contact with the ground.
Little Boy detonated 2000 feet ABOVE the city.
Last night, I asked five of my colleagues how high above the city was Little Boy when the blast ignited. All five, apparently thinking it was a trick question, replied that it didn't explode above the city, it exploded when it hit the ground which is exactly what I thought as well.
One of the people I asked is an Air Force veteran named Greg. He was surprised but pensive when I told him 2000 feet high. After a pause he said "makes sense if you want to kill the most people to put the ignition directly into the atmosphere"
Kevin who had also assumed that the bomb didn't go off until it struck the ground listened to Greg's response and asked "well, if it didn't detonate because of striking the surface, what did set it off?"
I said I didn't know.
Neither did anybody else really although there were several Caulfieldian 'where do the fish go when the Central Park pond is frozen' theories offered with less convictin than emotion.
Then I started imagining myself walking down a Hiroshima street on the morning of August 6th with my two pals Kevin and Greg.
As usual we would be laughing and complaining about work when all of a sudden the ultimate Whisky Tango Foxtrot moment when we looked about a half mile up into the sky and saw the beginning of the mushroom.
I imagined myself turning to my boys and asking "what the hell was that" followed by "why are you on fire" followed by the end of the world.
And around 8:16 we would have heard the noise had we ears to hear or brains to receive the apocalyptic message.
© 2010 Thornton Krell - 12/17/10