Kevin McCarthy and his 10-year-old daughter Emily had not seen the sun in 14 months — until they climbed a metal ladder and pushed open their vaulted door on Tuesday. As he stepped out over the pile of discarded political yard signs and into the uncut grass, McCarthy breathed the first few breaths of the New World. This New World, he tells his daughter, is not the discovery of the Americas, but instead, a rediscovery. They had entered into a new era of hope. The apocalypse was over.
The McCarthys are not the only family to emerge from an underground bunker. Reports from all over the country indicate that at least 50,000 individuals have re-emerged from the ground after they have finally recognized the conclusion of the most dangerous and stressful presidential election in the history of the U.S.
McCarthy said he had built the bunker as an Eagle Scout project in high school, but had never been more thankful for his construction skills until this election season.
“When I first heard that Donald Trump was running for office, I thought it was a joke like everyone else,” McCarthy said. “As soon as I realized it was real, I also realized how serious this was becoming. I figured I had no other choice but to hide in the bunker and wait out the storm.”
The bunker is designed with certain features, McCarthy points out, like the telephone that automatically answers the pesky robocalls or hangs up on each of the political campaigners asking every hour if he’s now voting for a different political candidate. The kitchen features all the requirements for a balanced and nonperishable diet — jars of mayonnaise and several boxes of giant marshmallows. Emily also points to a small freezer, which holds up to a dozen boxes of Bomb Pops. They’re the only red, white and blue objects allowed in the bunker, McCarthy says.
The bunker is also designed to lack certain features. For example, the absence of any doorknobs on the outside means no eager young doorknockers can hang their political propaganda there, and the lack of Wi-Fi means they must rely on dial-up to hear about the outside world. In other words, they are unable to constantly recheck the polls or update themselves on the latest Clinton/Trump scandal, because it takes ten minutes just to load a website, and who wants to hear those annoying ring tones, anyway? The wait is almost as bad as the election itself.
Emily McCarthy says she didn’t mind living underground at all.
“It was kind of fun,” she said. “I spent my time coloring, learning to multiply and not sinking into an existential dread about who would become president.”
The McCarthys, like so many other families, have been aboveground for nearly two days now, and they are amazed by how much easier it is to breathe when they are not being smothered by pressures like several tons of dirt crushing them, or the increasing need to elect the lesser of two evils as commander-in-chief of their country. Now that the dust has settled, their next step will be to reintegrate themselves back into society again.
“It’s definitely going to be difficult dealing with seeing so much America in America again,” McCarthy said, “but we’re up for the challenge.”