Prelude to an apology to Japan.

I am so, so tired of hearing, “Wolf!”

It’s why this blog began.  People, my countrymen, Americans, never knowing a moment of want in their lives, enjoying wealth beyond the dreams of emperors…whining.  Whining and whinging and moaning and complaining.  Even that, I could take without complaint.  As long as I could hide from it. 

Except they blame everyone else for their “suffering” and won’t leave us alone.

Wolf wolf wolf wolf wolf wolfwolfwolfwolf…

There’s nine out of ten headlines from the New York Times.  I read pretty fast, so for me that’s about twenty “wolves” per minute.  Every single minute of interaction. 

That’s a lot of wolves.

Well, I’m not apologizing to them.  But it is my fault, not theirs, that in my fatigue I dismissed truthful cries.  And so (soon) an apology to Japan.

But first…a nuclear anecdote.  

I had a boss at BNL (Brookhaven National Laboratory), Chris W., who’s an almost unbelievably great guy.  Razor-sharp and humble.  Serious-minded with a great sense of humor.  His big failing as a manager was, when someone came to him for radiological support, he provided it if he could…instead of calling his technicians

Dear Lord, was that man overworked.

All rad professionals at Brookhaven were members of the R.A.P. (Radiological Assistance Program).  DOE emergency response. 

And before my time, Chris was a responder to the Chernobyl incident.  Brookhaven sent him and others to JFK to “frisk” every American returning to Europe who might have encountered Chernobyl’s plume.  They used Geiger-Mueller instruments to look for hot particles on people or their clothing. 

And–this was a surprise to me–they found them.  Chris said he saw particles that would peg the needle on even upper scales.

And the travellers responded with the wisdom and equinamity of those who understand the nature of our vale of tears.

Wait, no.  There was wailing and gnashing of teeth.  No, still not quite right.  There were hysterics…bloody godawful amazing hysterics…

…and as for the women

Ha.  As for all of them.  Cries, shrieks, horror, honest-to-goodness hysterics from “educated” upper-class Americans.  Because of single particles ranging from tens to hundreds of thousands of dpm (disintegrations per minute).  One teeny speck on the surface of their bodies.

So I asked Chris, “Did you tell them they picked up thousands of times more radiation from the flight back from Europe?”

And he said, “No.  I just wanted to go home.”

Multiply those shrieks of “wolf” by ten thousand, over twenty-five years–with never, ever an actual wolf–and that’s where I am.

That’s where I was.  I’d never heard a true cry until now. 

So, Japan.  I apologize for any offense given.  For any offense that could have been given.  You have my thoughts and prayers.  Would that I had more to offer.

God be with you.

About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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7 Responses to Prelude to an apology to Japan.

  1. Tom says:

    So people were freaked out by the unknown, and yes radiation is an unknown to most even well educated people, and somehow this makes them whiny. And the person who was the ‘expert’ declined to explain how miniscule the risk was, yet somehow the fault is with those people dealing with a man waving radiation detection equipment around and finding out they had been exposed. And you use this silly little ancedote as an excuse because your previous posts were so off base.

    In the future instead of being a whiny child blaming your faults on others man up and admit you made a mistake without an excuses. It really is not so hard.

    • This is the part of blogging that I detest. Commenters who judge quickly and harshly when something you write rubs them the wrong way.

      Obviously the anecdote bothered Tom, because folks were made a fool. Whatevs, the point of the post isn’t “causing embarrassment is fun.” The point is the visceral reaction to positive readings was stronger than (probably) the reaction to the appearance of a masked man with a gun.

      The point is: that is the type of reaction that fueled a great deal of journalistic coverage over the past week.

      WORM: a prelude, fine. But don’t apologize any further. You have nothing to apologize for. Your previous posts are not “way off base.” Your original post, incalculable, was a critique of the presentation of facts in the linked article.
      Not a downplay of the situation in Japan as a whole.

      You were not presuming to know that you had all the facts on the situation. You were merely pointing out that these journalists don’t really know what’s going on either.

      Don’t apologize, don’t feel guilty. Tom’s at fault for not being able to see the difference.

      Tom, you should apologize for being bitchy, but I won’t hold my breath.

      • Mountainbear says:

        Fully agreed.

      • Tom says:

        Noneofanyimport,
        A very appropriate screenname.

        Perhaps you should apologize for your glaring lack of reading comprehension. WORM’s apology reminded me of my son at the age of 5. “I am sorry but it really is Timmy’s fault.” If he feels the need to apologize by all means do so. And if he does not then don’t. But please do not preface saying “I am sorry” by blaming your shortcomings on someone else.

        WORM did not write an article decrying the lack of proper reporting, he wrote a weasly apology. The real take home message of his little anecdote was not how the public reacted but how the so called professional reacted. Rather than attempting to calm people by explaining the lack of any real danger to them he “just wanted to go home.”

  2. Pingback: Remember the bottom line? | World's Only Rational Man

  3. Way to turn the bitchiness up to 11, Tom. It’s easy and guiltfree to be rude when commenting facelessly over the internet, innit?

    I was referring to previous posts which you claim were “way off base,” so . . . . oh nevermind. Not worth the argument, is it?

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