Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Friday, March 19, 2004 8:44 pm


Filed under: Why, yes, I AM a bad parent. Why do you ask? — Lex @ 8:44 pm

I had a couple of fun years in Boy Scouts. My brother stuck it out even longer than I did and eventually made Eagle Scout.

So why do I not want my son to join when he gets old enough?

Here’s why:

June 26, 1995, was not a typical day. Ask Dottie Pease. As she turned down Pinto Drive, Pease saw eleven men swarming across her carefully manicured lawn. Their attention seemed to be focused on the back yard of the house next door, specifically on a large wooden potting shed that abutted the chain-link fence dividing her property from her neighbor’s. Three of the men had donned ventilated moon suits and were proceeding to dismantle the potting shed with electric saws, stuffing the pieces of wood into large steel drums emblazoned with radioactive warning signs. Pease had never noticed anything out of the ordinary at the house next door.

A middle-aged couple, Michael Polasek and Patty Hahn, lived there. On some weekends, they were joined by Patty’s teenage son, David. As she huddled with a group of nervous neighbors, though, Pease heard one resident claim to have awoken late one night to see the potting shed emitting an eerie glow. “I was pretty disturbed,” Pease recalls. “I went inside and called my husband. I said, `Da-a-ve, there are men in funny suits walking around out here. You’ve got to do something.'”

What the men in the funny suits found was that the potting shed was dangerously irradiated and that the area’s 40,000 residents could be at risk. Publicly, the men in white promised the residents of Golf Manor that they had nothing to fear, and to this day neither Pease nor any of the dozen or so people I interviewed knows the real reason that the Environmental Protection Agency briefly invaded their neighborhood. When asked, most mumble something about a chemical spill. The truth is far more bizarre: the Golf Manor Superfund cleanup was provoked by the boy next door, David Hahn, who attempted to build a nuclear breeder reactor in his mother’s potting shed as part of a Boy Scout merit-badge project.

That’s why. Because the way Hooper’s going right now, he’d find a way to top this.

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