WARGAMES. Nuclear War Induced Childhood Anxiety Disorder

This evening after work, I came home, and the movie Wargames was on TV. I had to give it a watch because I hadn’t seen it in forever— like since I was a kid. You might remember the movie? Matthew Broderick played the main character. A kid that hacked the computer system at NORAD and started it simulating a nuclear war with Russia. Bringing the world to the brink of nuclear destruction. At the end of the movie, the computer program figures out nuclear war has no clear winner and is not worth engaging in, everybody breathes a big sigh of relief, and everyone is happy. Then the movie goes off. If you haven’t seen it, give it a look. It’s a pretty good movie.

The thing about this movie is this. Nuclear war was the cause of so much anxiety for me as a child. I knew the Russians were coming. I saw Rambo: First Blood Part II. I also saw Red Dawn. The original, with Patrick Swayze and Charlie Sheen. I worried so much as a child about nuclear war. It was crazy. I just knew that I was never losing my virginity, graduating high school, or ever having an adult life. You couldn’t fathom the amount of relief I felt when at 14, there was a coup d’é·tat that toppled the Soviet regime and effectively, in my mind, significantly lowered the chance for nuclear war. Then life went on.

As you may have realized already, as a child, I had an overactive imagination. The crazy thing is that I wouldn’t change it for anything. I look at life now and back at those preposterous thoughts and appreciate those worries more than the ones of my adult life. I also appreciate the killer movies that entertained me as a child, just a nostalgic thought for the evening

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