Not to be vain or anything, but I’m that friend you want around should we ever have a zombie apocalypse or a Purge situation. Oh, not because I’m great with a crossbow or even a shotgun, but rather because should I ever at some point in time ever have to run for my life, I can guarantee you, I’m not gonna make it. I’d certainly buy you those few extra minutes you might need to make it to safety. So, yeah. You definitely want me on your team.
I think it’s safe to say that for the past few years America has been falling in love with zombies all over again. As the age of consumerism continues to spiral out of control and more of us are plastered to our phone screens regardless of if we’re walking, driving, on the bus, in a meeting, waiting for someone to come out of the bathroom, having a cigarette, can’t fast forward our DVR, (the list goes on, you get the point) it’s no wonder that The Walking Dead is such a hit. Every day we get a touch more zombified while simultaneously hypnotized by our ability to send and receive information from across the globe at faster rates. The metaphor is very strong right now.
World War Z was more of a financial success than anyone thought given the disastrous coverage it received while filming. And Max Brooks’ career has been wildly successful with his string of novels (both mainstream and graphic) detailing what the hell we need to do should the dead decide they weren’t all that tired anymore.
So it should come as no surprise what I’ve recently seen…in the news. Apparently it is newsworthy to report on new businesses that offer zombie survival seminars. Yes, for just a few hundred dollars you can attend a one-night or weekend long session that teaches you the hands-on skills you need to outwit and defeat the undead. How is this news exactly? If they reported on unicorn riding lessons or magic carpet driving schools would we still think of our local news as a legitimate source of reporting?
Then again…maybe they know something we don’t and that’s why they’re pushing the class (a rumor that the CDC has been re-animating mouse cells?). Since there are apparently at least a few classes available from different pretty clever (or shrewd?) entrepreneurs, it must be something that people are seriously considering. Now I’m wondering if there’s something I don’t know. Did I not get the memo? I will be seriously embarrassed if I’m sitting at home one day eating some Captain Crunch and reading a book when the zombies come and I’m the only fool to get killed because everyone else had a heads up and were already halfway to the desert.
I guess if some authority, say the Secretary of Defense were to come on TV and announce, “Hey everyone, zombies are on the way. You have two weeks til the shit hits the fan” I’d be willing to take a class. Or maybe, as my daughter suggests, we should take the class “just in case.” As with so many things in life …you just never know.
But if we’re thinking about this realistically then what good can this class actually do? Have we ever once in our existence encountered a real zombie? Sure there have been a ton of movies, shows, stories, and debates about them, but as of today they’re about as real as the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus (sorry kids).
That being said, how do these schools know what actually kills zombies? The “shoot ‘em in the head thing” was made up (by a director) because it makes a good visual, but in actuality it makes zero sense. All I’m saying is that all we know about dealing with zombies are taken from B movies, cult classics, and popular TV shows. Not exactly what I’d call experts in the field (because there is no field to begin with). So if the bullet to the brain doesn’t work then what? And what if the zombies run faster in real life than they do in the movies? That would put a serious kink in my plan (which has always involved just walking away at a brisk pace).
The classes that were advertised…um…I mean reported on…seem to concentrate on the “old school” zombies—the lumbering, stupid, brain-munching ones that move about 1-mph. Well, what if none of the techniques they teach in class work? I’m sure it’d be the farthest thing from my mind if I did take the class then one unholy day find out that they were way off base, but still…if I survived the apocalypse, I better be getting a refund.
When you watch movies or read books about the future it normally falls into one of two categories. Either a) everything’s awesome and we’ve mastered technology to make life a carefree playground (e.g.: The Jetsons) or b) everything sucks because we’ve depleted all of our natural resources and are forced to regress back to Neanderthalic aggression for our survival. That’s all our entertaining prophecies seem to come up with: amazing or horrible.
Unfortunately, I think we’re veering more and more towards that unsavory post-apocalyptic Mad Max, Book of Eli, Terminator: Salvation sort of scenario. Sometimes I get a glimpse of something super cool, like it jumped out of a Doctor Who episode (for example, the driver-less car Google is testing on real highways, cell phones that track your eye movements so it can pause YouTube videos when it knows you’re not looking at the screen, TVs that respond to voice commands, and freakin’ Siri). Those are great and tell me that we have the minds to create things that can positively influence the progress of society.
But those are just glimpses. More often than not when I involuntarily think of the future I’m just reminded of Masters of Horrors: Dance of the Dead or Blade Runner. The greyness, the polluted rain, the morbidity as everyone on the planet knows that they got screwed by their ancestors. Or worse yet, and probably more accurately, Idiocracy. The fact that the Jackass movies always earn the top spot on their opening weekend is evidence enough of that.