The nuclear option

Gene Weingarten on

WASHINGTON -- When residents of Hawaii recently endured a half-hour of believing they were going to be incinerated by an incoming ballistic missile, many of them spent the time telling friends and family members that they loved them. It was ennobling and heartwarming and uplifting to the human spirit, of course, but kind of predictable and somehow not very ... satisfying. With the help of some friends, I came up with better ways one might spend that nuclear half-hour, wherever and whenever it may occur.

Let the dog hork down all the meat in the house. Then take him for a walk and "forget" the poop bags.

Go to the airport and park free for all eternity in the short-term parking lot.

Eat a big meal and go swimming. Run with scissors. Hold back a sneeze. Play with matches. Drink straight from the milk carton. Go outside with wet hair. Chew your ice cubes. Strain hard on the pot. Then call your mother and tell her what you have done.

One bucket of eclair filling. To go.

Change into dirty underpants.

Yell at your spouse for bringing home those green bananas.

Get in your car, gun it and race through every speed camera you know of.

Buy hundreds of "Hamilton" tickets for pennies on the dollar.

Tell Facebook you have solved the elusive Riemann hypothesis, proving conclusively that the zeta function has its zeros only at the negative even integers and complex numbers. Promise to reveal the solution in an hour.

Leave all the toilet seats up.

Eat a pound each of cherries, figs and strawberries. (The bomb will get you before the squirts do.)

See if autoerotic asphyxiation works for you.

No reason not to head to the zoo and have the most exotic barbecue in all of human history.

Change into a comfortable but attractive outfit in case it's what you end up having to wear forever in the afterlife, or as a ghost.

Use up all the hot water. Then go to every room in the house and turn on the lights. Then turn on an iron, leave it on the ironing board, and walk out the door.

Text a thank-you to your yoga instructor for helping you be physically able to actually kiss it goodbye.

Thanks for the help: Mark Raffman, Alex Blackwood, Rachel Manteuffel, Elizabeth Ewert, Michael Gips, Dan Steinberg, Robert Schechtman, Joseph Schech, Kathleen Giotta Delano, Pia Zammit, Bruce Alter, Noam Izenberg and of course the felicitously named Sandy Coffin.


Gene Weingarten can be reached at Follow him on Twitter, @geneweingarten. Chat with him online Tuesdays at noon Eastern at

(c) 2018, The Washington Post Writers Group



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