((Cross-posted at On Literary Intent))
Anyone who has more than a passing acquaintance with me knows my one great phobia: zombies. Can’t explain why, but they freak me out like nothing else in this entire world. Yes, I know they’re fictional. No, it doesn’t help. And for some reason, even knowing that they scare the bejeezus outta me, I still feel the need to poke at that open wound. Hence, watching the AMC series, The Walking Dead.
(It should be noted that I watch a lot of it with my eyes closed)
In discussing this show with others, it has been brought up that they never use the word “zombie”. (they call them “walkers”) And of course, in my mind, this is because a “zombie” was never part of this world’s mythology, and therefore they don’t HAVE that word. I find this simple concept interesting, however, because it tends to illustrate one of my key theories* about the concept of a zombie apocalypse. (*key theory also translates to “things I will rant about for hours if you don’t walk away first”)
My theory being this: A zombie apocalypse canNOT happen in a world where zombies are part of the known mythos. Bear with me here, I shall ‘splain.
I am willing to hazard a guess that at least 75% of the world** has heard the word “zombie” or whatever that translates to in their language of choice. (**all statistics pulled directly out of my butt) A good chunk of that 75% goes even further and has read/watched/heard enough about the monster called “zombie” to know how to kill one, and how to avoid infection by same.
Therefore, the surprise and bewilderment element that seems to be so key in the early days of a zombie apocalypse would not apply to our world as we know it.
Picture this, two guys sitting on their front porch, and they see a half-decayed corpse come lurching down the street.
Guy 1: “Hey, Ralph, you see that?”
Guy 2: “Holy shee-it, that’s a zombie!”
Guy 1: “Dude, get the camera, I’ma grab a ball bat. We’re gonna youtube this shit!”
No pause of “hey, that guy’s hurt, we should get him to a hospital!” No trying to save Uncle Jethro because we love him and he just had a little bite from the crazy neighbor guy across the street. No spread, no epidemic, all done.
Now, it has been mentioned to me that “Not everyone sits around with a shotgun saying ‘Bring on the zombies!’” To which I answer, “They don’t?” I don’t have a single friend who has not put at least minimal thought into a plan for a zombie apocalypse. I know, ‘cause I took a poll. Some are more thorough than others (ie: weapons stashes, bug out bags, survival training, etc.). Some are no more than “Hey, I’ma go find Kari & her hubby, ‘cause they have swords and they’re mean!” But still, it’s a plan.
And really, think about it. The original gaming generation has now reached adulthood. How many of us grew up on the original Romero zombie movies, blasting away at zombies in almost every video game ever made? (even Mario Brothers has walking skeleton dudes. Just saying) We’re comfortable with the idea of killing zombies. More importantly though, we’re all ADULTS now. (for some loose definition of the word) That means we have our own expendable income, and the legal ability to buy weapons. This isn’t just guns, this is swords, and crossbows and axes and all those things your parents would never let you have as a child.
We’re an entire generation of armed, zombie killing machines, people! Just let one of those undead mofos raise his head and we will bust it into tiny plague-ridden bits. No zombie apocalypse for me, thank you very much.
And there you have it, folks. Proof that I have put WAY too much thought into a totally fictional disaster scenario. What are your thoughts on the subject?