Here comes the mushroom cloud -- duck and button


Unlike just about everything else on the Fox network, the real-time thriller 24 has never claimed to be reality TV. But lately, some of the elements have rung pretty true: a terrorist threat to America, a president dealing with an impending war.

But the series' gripping sense of reality was pretty much exploded this past week, when we watched counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) simply duck and cover behind a big rock to protect himself from a massive nuclear weapon blast mere miles away. (Jack, incredibly, seemed unharmed, but we'll have to wait a couple of weeks for the next new episode to see for sure.)

On the heels of the Department of Homeland Security's recent advice to use plastic and duct tape to protect ourselves from nuclear or toxic fallout, it seemed maybe art was imitating life. As a public service, here's a list of other, equally effective methods that Agent Bauer might have used to protect himself from the mushroom cloud:

Jack could have:

* hidden under a desk

* opened an umbrella

* put on an extra sweater

* warded off the radiation with his always intense glare

* hollowed out a cactus and hidden inside

* wrapped himself in duct tape

* slapped on some SPF 45 sunscreen

* called his agent and quickly booked himself on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

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