“In the event of a nuclear incident…”

As it’s been awhile since I’ve last written here, I initially thought I would begin with an update on life – current challenges am facing as a father, lessons my kids have taught me thus far, lessons am still learning on how to be a better partner. You know, dad concerns.

But then I got a text message from my son’s school that began with the phrase above. I’m not kidding. Like, every parent who has a kid at the same primary school looked at their phone today while eating lunch or sipping a coffee, to read the words in the event of a nuclear incident. I wonder how many surprised oh shit!’s or frustrated bloody hell!’s were silently muttered. Mine was a oh, for fucks sake.

Surprised, I am not.

Look, prior to 2020, global pandemic was a phrase I last heard uttered in a movie from childhood. In the event of a nuclear incident? Probably from a video game, but the fact that am reading it in an actual real-life context is downright preposterous.

Again.

In early 2020, right before things started to hit the fan here in Norway, I remember hearing one of the local news-broadcasts saying to not panic purchase; that things would be fine and the yet unknown situation would be dealt with calmly and rationally. Yet the messaging back in Canada was basically the opposite – prep for the worst, the oncoming apocalypse, and family telling me it would be wise to stock up on basics. Nah, I thought. Norwegians are pretty calm, government-trusting folks, they’ll heed the state advice. Regardless, I remember taking a stroll into the grocery store to find shelves empty – canned goods, flour, toilet paper (does anyone else think this is odd?), and other amenities missing. Suddenly, I found myself feeling this unsettling sensation deep in my belly. Next thing I know, I’m grabbing a shopping cart and filling it with boxed lentils, chickpeas, beans… I mean shit, I fell for it.

Fast forward to the SMS received above. Family friends had mentioned iodine was sold out everywhere in the following days but to not worry, the municipality had enough iodine stocked up for everyone between the ages of 0 & 18. Uh huh. So I dropped by the local Apotek and told the pharmacist I had two questions to which I already suspected the answer but wanted to ask anyway: one, did they have any iodine and two, should I be worried?

Luckily, he’s straight with me. No to the first question and no to the second, he said. According to him, even if there was a nuclear “incident” to take place in Eastern Europe, it would take time for those radioactive particulates to make their way to our wee peninsula and iodine would only be effective taken a few hours beforehand anyway. Cool, I thought. Nothing to worry about.

The irony? That night after putting the kids to bed and thinking what am I going to do to protect this tiny fam? If things really do head south? Anyway, I ended up ordering iodine online. Haha. I might very well be a moron for doing so, but damn, this socio-collective fear mongering is effective. Despite awareness, I fall for it. My light of awareness comes to be easily maneuvered according to what am listening to and yes, it is occasionally necessary but to be caught in it isn’t healthy. Not when my attention, energy, and focus is required on more pressing challenges.

Which are the little people around me. Learning to understand the little person inside of me and the shadows that are cast in everyday life.

The work continues.