The Man in Blue


The third

It’s been a while since I did creative writing (20 years, in fact). But a vivid moment from my weekend spurred me to pick it up again.

I remember the day the third great war arrived, it was so innocuous.

The suburbs had always been such a haven. And like any haven, living there for too long had lulled us into a separation from the world. Inside our own bubble the thought of any danger — let alone world-rending conflict — was distant and unimaginable. But The Speech tore unreality wide open, hijacking the airwaves that normally brought us our mind-numbing anaesthetic of easy listening and classic rock.

On this day The Voice behind The Speech cut through the sultry throbbing of an Indian summer. The slight delirium of burning sun and pulsing humidity gave The Voice a dream-like quality. The kids had gotten so used to hearing its impotent fury and confounding rhetoric that they knew it by name. My son’s ever-curious tone piped up as we crossed the road to our car: “where’s The Voice coming from?”. It was strange; I didn’t know. I didn’t often hear The Voice outside of the house, but it felt momentous, hearing it out on the street like this.

“A short time ago, I ordered our armed forces to launch precision strikes …”

The Voice went on for 7 more minutes. 7 minutes that changed our lives irrevocably.

Just moments before The Speech, the greatest threat facing humankind’s existence had been our own hubris in the face of a deteriorating climate — a threat measured in decades, maybe centuries. After The Speech our existence was measured by the number of years that we could count on our own two hands.

So I put the kids in the car and drove them to the pool. We had great fun.

Cameron Adams Cameron Adams is a co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Canva, where he leads the design & product teams and focuses on future product directions & innovative experiences. Read a bit more about him ›