PRINT November 1993

American Myths

the Dallas/Houston Complex

Issued a dogtag (hey neat) on entering kindergarten, I always assumed the Bomb would fall during the school day. For years, each time a teacher was interrupted by the ominous cracking of the public address system, I routinely wondered—was this It? And so, when the disembodied voice of a high-school principal disrupted geometry to announce that the president had been shot, I experienced a thrill of vindicated relief. The catastrophe had happened—or, at least, a version of it—yet I was still alive!

OK, I admit it. I wonder if the many commemorations of the 30th anniversary of the day I learned the Hypotenuse-Leg Theorem will note the national postassassination euphoria elsewhere manifest in Beatlemania, the exhilarated public response to Dr. Strangelove, and the blatant gloating of Jimmy Hoffa. The appreciation of a sudden power vacuum may be the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. (I know I paid

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