I am a child of my time, more or less a millennial, so I can’t stand it when I don’t immediately get what I want. When a website takes more than two-thousandths of a second to open, I close it. If a friend takes more than ten seconds to answer a question, I put my headphones on and don’t listen to the answer. And if the bartender doesn’t ask me what I want to drink as soon as I enter the bar, I pull out my machine gun and blow up all the liquor shelves. That’s why I can’t stand the daily innuendo of a Russian-provoked nuclear holocaust.
During the pandemic, most people learned how to manage uncertainty. I learned not to tolerate it at all. It may be due, at least in part, to the anxiety of waking up every morning not knowing if some useless politician was contemplating locking us up, masking us, or putting us on a leash and forcing us to pee by lifting a paw. I am at a point in my life when I demand that people tell me things straight and then keep quiet. This goes for ex-girlfriends as well as for murderous country invaders, they are more or less the same species.
Putin’s constant nuclear threats have also provoked a wave of hysteria in the Nordic countries of Europe. No wonder. These people stopped believing in God decades ago and, faced with the threat of radioactivity, would rather leave their fate to an iodine pill instead of bending their damn knees in a temple and begging for mercy, or at least getting in a car and running off to, I don’t know, Africa, or any other place where you can die from anything other than nuclear disasters because they don’t have the money for nuclear weapons in the first place.
Hysteria repeats itself. First, toilet paper. Now, potassium iodide. Since Thursday, thousands of Europeans have caused pharmacies all over the continent to run out of iodine. It has nothing to do with spicing up the latest fashionable gin and tonic, but with protection against a possible nuclear disaster. While it is true that Putin is playing with fire (reader: be suitably impressed by the author’s clever play on words), I suppose the iodine craze is just another sign that someone has let stupidity out of the box and it is now circulating untethered around the world.
Generally, I find it’s better to scream, howl, and cry than to keep my cool when something terrible happens around me (for example, your mother-in-law invites you to spend a weekend at her house). With age, I’ve changed and become a bit like The Quiet Man; I mean I spend my evenings drinking and picking fights in taverns and I always fall hard for redheads with freckles. By the way, it’s hard to be prettier than Maureen O’Hara in 1952, but that has nothing to do with iodine.
What is certain is that this chemical filth, for all intents and purposes more toxic than the absinthe they served in the bar I frequented during my adolescence, and which theoretically could protect you in the case of nuclear radiation, is running out all over Europe since Putin had the brilliant idea of bombing around the largest nuclear power plant on the continent. Trump said that Putin is smart, but to me doing that seems about as smart as trying to pull down your underpants using the alligator clips on the car battery jumper cables.
I am not a geopolitical analyst, nor do I lecture on the obscure economic interests of countries that no one can even place on a map, but, being a columnist, I am both quite observant and reckless. And, presently, my impression is that Putin must be very desperate to have to resort again and again to the nuclear threat.
There are a lot of people scared to death with this issue, starting with the entire NATO leadership, and I suppose that’s reasonable. It is unacceptable for Putin to play with this issue all day long. And, personally, I’m starting to get bored with all this bluster. Let me put it another way:
Let’s see, Vladimir, we’ve had just about enough of you. Decide once and for all whether you want to see Moscow turned into a pile of radioactive ashes or not. I understand your situation, but now you listen to me. We all have problems. I want an urgent reply. I need to decide what I’m wearing tonight to go out dancing, get drunk, and flirt, and my olive M17 gas mask is a terrible match for the maroon pants I’m planning on wearing.
Itxu Díaz is a Spanish journalist, political satirist, and author. He has written nine books on topics as diverse as politics, music, and smart appliances. His most recent book is Todo Iba Bien. He is a contributor to the Daily Beast, the Daily Caller, National Review, the American Conservative, The American Spectator, and Diario Las Américas in the United States, and is a columnist for several Spanish magazines and newspapers. He was also an adviser to the Ministry for Education, Culture, and Sports in Spain. Follow him on Twitter at @itxudiaz or visit his website: www.itxudiaz.com.
Translated by Joel Dalmau
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