It's not like the movies!
I was on a sailboat yesterday, cruising past Palos Verdes and its hearty locals, when reports of imminent missile death popped onto Hawaiian cell phones. “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii.” the message read “Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.”
Oh my heart went out to those dear islanders and I even wish that I was there to give them practical, functional advice for I have been missiled before and am filled with wisdom in such matters.
It was ten years ago now, Israel had just gone to war against Lebanon’s Hezbollah and I was there, alongside my best friends, we were young, starry-eyed boys with dreams of shaming Anderson Cooper in the war coverage game.
Getting into the country took some creativity. Beirut’s airport had been bombed useless along with the main arteries coming in and out and very few drivers wanted to risk the border run. Eventually we found a man in Jordan who agreed to take us to Beirut but he chickened out once we got close to Syria. Thankfully we found another man with a steelier nerve and he ferried us across.
I clearly remember the first bomb crater right at the border crossing. It was deep and half a charred truck smoldered in its bottom. We all looked and I thought, “Oh that trucker should have been paying better attention.”
In my mind, you see, I thought a man could hear the bombs and missiles falling or wooshing and also watch them fall from the sky and I thought the man with above average reflexes could avoid them. Like in movies, right? The bombs whistle and the missiles streak across the sky.
Later that evening, after we had rented an Audi A6 from a Beirut dealership, we went out into the countryside to try and find some missiles. The sun set as we drove around the hills and then…
The car shook and we killed the lights, catching our breaths. “What the hell?” I thought. “I didn’t hear that falling or whooshing. I didn’t see that.” We jumped out and another one hit a kilometer or so away.
I didn’t hear it falling or whooshing. I didn’t see it.
And then it hit me, figuratively of course. The bombs and missiles fly too high and too fast to be seen and the whooshing or whistling sound doesn’t exist. A figment of Hollywood’s imagination. Which made me think, “Oops.”
The rest of those three weeks of war many missiles hit and I didn’t hear or see any one of them coming.
Which brings us back to Hawaii. If there had been an incoming missile there would have been nothing anyone could do and so everyone should have just carried on eating Spam Musubi and drinking cold Heineken and enjoying the warm winter’s sun not trying to seek shelter.
Such practical wisdom, I think. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we get false cracked.