7 a.m., Central Time, Oct. 28, 1962: The Alternate Ending

(originally posted on November 4, 2012 )

My parents would never have reconciled, enjoyed a happy retirement, and died on the same date, one hour apart, nine years to the day.

I would never have finished grade 8, moved from the childhood home, or left my hometown.

I would never have gone to high school or university.

I would never have heard the Beatles, learned to play guitar, and played in several groups.

I would never have become a writer or written poems, songs, or books.

I would never have fallen in love and married.

I would never have had a family or grandchildren.

I would never have become a teacher, a musician, a nursing orderly, a letter carrier, or a film classifier.

I would never have had the many good friends I have known.

I would never have taught and retired, living long enough to collect a pension.

I would never have become a serious reader, a fan of classical and jazz, a playgoer, and met many musicians I admire and look up to.

I would never have seen great art or enjoyed the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

I would never have learned to drive a car or been up in an airplane or on a ferry.

I would never have lived in apartments, a condo, or owned a house.

I would never have owned my favorite movies, books, and music.

I would never have flown a kite.

I would never have owned a black female miniature poodle.

I would never have become a gardener and lover of natural beauty.

I would never have become a bird or squirrel watcher.

I would never have seen the Arizonan desert in winter or New England brilliant in the fall.

I would never have collected one issue of each of the Classics Illustrated main title series.

I never would have attended my elementary (100th) and high school (50th) reunions.

I would never have written about any on this on a blog in a cloud somewhere.

If Jack hadn’t proposed and Nikky accepted.

No, I and millions of others would never would have got this far.


re. title: the time and date the Cuban Missile Crisis ended and the world was not blown up many times over. “Jack”–J.F.K. “Nikky”–Nikita Kruschev.

We are a product of our context and are here today by the skin of our teeth. This crisis was the closest we came to doomsday as a species and planet. I am under no illusions I/everybody/everything else is here because of a fluke, luck, and the personalities, fears, and choices of two individuals. I am grateful to both men for their cooler heads and compromise that has allowed me as much as I have experienced and enjoyed in life thusfar.

As mind-boggling as reviewing my own luck and process has been today, I invite you to ponder how much history and things we take for granted now would not have occurred if Nikky had been too ornery that fateful episode 53 years ago.

*For me, this crisis was the major turning point in my life and the lives of millions. It is the doomsday edge that the world has thusfar avoided and flukily dodged since 1962. It is why Lumet made Fail Safe and Kubrick Dr. Strangelove. How many people out there really think about this extremely critical moment in history and how far war can go? For me, this is always a memory on Remembrance Day.

The other best piece which came out of this crisis was Dr. Helen Caldicott’s significant documentary “If You Love This Planet”.

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