Friday, 20 April 2007

Things I thought as a kid #9

There’s a Raymond Briggs book called, “When the Wind Blows”. I don’t remember ever reading it but the cover has a middle-aged husband and wife standing in the doorway of their house with a mushroom cloud erupting behind them.

From looking at the Wikipedia synopsis it is, as I thought, a cautionary tale about a nuclear attack on England but without any of the cool post-apocalyptic Road Warrior stuff. As a kid I remember this being a constant tenant of the display shelf at the Eastbourne Public Library. Somehow this image has become linked to the phrase “nuclear family” and it was only today, when I heard it used on the Simpsons, that I realised that it means, core family and not, “Ohmygod the big one’s dropped and we’re the last one’s left on the planet and why is Johnny growing an extra set of arms?!?” family.

As a child, there must have been some crossed wires somewhere as I thought that the book proved that the typical Mr. And Mrs. Middle England (like the characters in When the Wind Blows) were the most likely to survive a nuclear attack. So when the phrase ‘Nuclear Family’ was used, I took it to mean that the family referred to were especially skilled to live on after the big one dropped. I don’t quite know how I thought this would happen (meat and two veg give you protection from radiation poisoning?) but perhaps if Dad had gotten past his allergy to woollen pullovers and Mum talked like a character from Coronation Street they’d be better placed to see off the Legions of the Thunderdome when they come knocking.

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