Thursday, October 1, 2009
I have recently become the Earthquake and Safety Aide at Bob’s co-op pre-school. From what I understand, my duties will involve maintaining the earthquake kits, organizing the emergency supplies closet, and checking the expiration dates on the Bandaids. This aide position is like a warm embrace for my OCD and my preoccupation with earthquake preparedness. If there were an e-Harmony for pre-school co-op parenting mandated “volunteer” gigs, this is the kind of match I would expect for my $59.95 a month service fee.
I can trace this preoccupation with preparedness back to elementary school. My sixth grade teacher, Mr. McElroy, was a large red headed gentleman who favored sweater vests and frequently sang the chorus to "Lady of Spain" during our math quizzes. Every Friday was class movie day. Mr. McElroy entrusted Greg MacCrone with all of the responsibilities of movie day since he was the only one in the class who could operate the projector. Greg, a sociopath in training, was also in charge of picking the movies.
Every week, Greg’s picks were the same: A film with bare chested third world women, Disney’s Johnny Tremaine bio-pic, something with animals killing and eating other animals, and a selection from the U.S. Defense Civil Preparedness Agency series, Your Chance to Live. All of these played out over the high pitched maniacal laughter of Greg MacCrone.
The Your Chance to Live movies were educational films about disasters with themes like “Tornadoes,” “Volcanoes,” and “Technological Failures.” To say that these films were creepy does them a disservice; they were testaments to abject terror. Scary music, detached and poorly written voice over, scenes of panic, death, and devastation, the Tsunami episode still gives me weekly nightmares. (Ask my therapist.) Ditto the scenes of people buried alive in lava at Pompeii. Always manning the projector controls, Greg would rewind the film and replay the most disturbing sections. (Cue Greg MacCrone cackle.)
Lost in his world of paper grading and oldies radio, Mr. McElroy seemed oblivious to the wholly inappropriate nature of movie day. I, however, am scarred for life. Now, as the newly appointed Earthquake and Safety Aide, I will put my own trauma aside and as a public service I present to you a rare gem of weirdness, terror, and low production values, Your Chance to Live: Earth Watch.
Your safety is my goal. As for insurance co-pays for your mental health care practitioner, you are on your own.
Labels: earthquake preparedness