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Bodacious Bomb Shelters | Crowson


There was a recent report on this station that indicated that some in the “prepper” community are getting bodacious with their underground shelters. They’ve got pools with water slides, bowling alleys and high-end appliances down there. They’re paying millions for these things.

During my 1960s childhood prairie-dog mania swept the country for a time as well. I had recurring atomic nightmares. Literally across the street from my Memphis high school, a wealthy businessman built the world’s largest private bomb shelter. His underground bunker could house 52 of his closest friends. It had swanky mid-century modern furnishings that included a pool table and, handily, a refrigerated morgue. He actually sold postcards of it, I suppose so you could see how the other half was living while the radioactivity ate away at your body.

Nuclear bomb shelters figured hugely in my “duck and cover” childhood.

The area’s gigantic Mid-South Fair featured a bomb shelter exhibit. It was tucked amidst the cotton candy and the pronto pup vendors. For the entire week of the fair, a family resided inside the shelter. Windows gave fair-goers the ability to peep in and see just what the happy family was up to. I remember standing on my tiptoes to be rewarded with a view of a very bored man sitting at a table reading a newspaper.

So here we go again. Luxurious bomb shelters in which modern-day Gollums can scurry about underground and clutch “their Precious.” No thanks. I got over my childhood nuclear nightmares. I’m not about to jump into some prepper’s bad dream. And don’t try to sell me a postcard of your opulent prairie dog hole, please.

Richard Crowson is not only a editorial commentator for KMUW. He's also a cartoonist, an artist and a banjo player.