So now it's the day after. I hope it's not like the day after in The Day After.
Don't remember that one? It was 25 years ago this month, on Nov. 20, 1983, that ABC broadcast the made-for-television movie The Day After.
Not to be confused with the more-recent Day After Tomorrow (or the hilarious South Park parody, Two Days Before The Day After Tomorrow), The Day After is a perfect example of the scary stuff from the last days of the Cold War. It focuses on the town of Lawrence, Kansas, which is devastated from fallout by a nuclear attack on Kansas City, Mo.
In anticipation of the movie's broadcast, ABC helped hype it by warning everyone how disturbing the images could be. At the time, I was a resident assistant at Creswell Hall at the University of Georgia, and all the dorm staffers were somberly instructed to be prepared to counsel residents troubled by the movie. We were even warned to watch for signs that despairing students could turn suicidal.
We put up posters all over the dorm hallways, letting residents know their RAs would be available to talk to them if needed after the movie. Sure enough, within about half an hour after the movie ended, a small group from my hall showed up at my door.
"Barry, we were a little shaken up by that movie and want to talk about it," one of them said. I welcomed them in with my best brow-furrowing peer-counselor look, and was met with snorts of laughter as the jokers' straight faces fell apart.
Ah, well. We survived the made-for-TV fallout, and our hall survived the fallout from the fallout - most of which involved me throwing stuff at the departing pranksters.
But will we survive the fallout from this year's election?
Of course we will.
Either side probably wishes it could wake up this morning, burst into laughter and say "Just kidding!" - or, better yet, hear that from the other side.
Instead, I'm wondering if we're waking up to the very real and very scary possibility that some folks didn't respond well to either winning or losing, then used it as an opportunity to burn something or steal a new flat-screen TV.
Either way, we'll surely survive this real day after, just as we survived the fake Day After 25 years ago.
Election day, RIP?
It seems strange to say so, but I miss voting on election day.
I've voted in every election since I was old enough, even getting an absentee ballot at college. Back then, they mailed you a punch card, a sheet with the candidates that you laid over it, a little piece of foam so the card would punch through, and a straightened-out paper clip to punch with.
Now, early voting and advance voting and absentee voting have gotten so easy that I voted nearly a month ago. No lines, no problems.
Except when I visited my precinct Tuesday morning, I felt like I was missing something. Everyone else was standing in line, sharing the experience, while my long-ago-cast vote was sitting somewhere on a memory card already waiting to be counted.
Most people still do wait to vote on the actual day of the election, but this year seems to have started a trend to change that. Before long, we might look back on the idea of "election" day with the same mix of relief and curiosity as the idea of using punch-card ballots.
Art After Dark
A reminder: The Columbia County Artists Guild holds its annual Art After Dark event at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the library.
Admission is free; food and wine are available. Art also will be auctioned to raise money for the guild and for scholarships.
See you there.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times.)
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