Every time I watch a zombie movie, I wonder which kind of survivor I’d be if – sorry, when – the zombies actually attack. I’d like to think I’m the determined and heroic Group Leader, but I’m not very good at difficult decisions, and I can’t grow stubble to save my life. It seems from the movies that stubble is required to rebuild a fallen society. I suppose the reliable and stoic Right-Hand Man is a possibility, but I’m not really reliable or stoic. Plus I have a gluten allergy, and I don’t think our future leader will be cool with, “Uh, I accidentally ate a crouton, can I have the afternoon off?” There’s always the sassy and straight-talking Female Sexpot, but I’m not in as good shape as I used to be, plus I have a dick, so that one’s probably out. The only archetype that really leaves is Comic Relief Guy. I guess I could be Comic Relief Guy. But he’s usually a ladies man, and gets high fives, and rarely misses people’s hands when he’s returning those high fives, and none of that really stacks up in my favor. I picture Comic Relief Guy, flirting with Female Sexpot, and blowing off whatever Right-Hand Man has told him to do. Then as he’s making a wisecrack, a zombie surprises him from behind, but at the last minute Female Sexpot saves the day by shooting an arrow into the zombie’s eye. Comic Relief Guy high fives her, and they start making out as the zombie topples to the ground, and that’s when I realize… Holy Shit. That’s Me. I’m the zombie. And suddenly it all makes sense.
No one ever pictures themselves as the people who die at the beginning of the horror movie, or one of the already long-since zombified by the time Rick wakes up from his coma on The Walking Dead. But the fact is, that’s what most of us are. I won’t say it’s you personally, because you probably haven’t come to grips with it yet, but, yeah, it’s almost definitely you personally. Are you lazy, dubious of news about global pandemics, or clumsy with a firearm? Then chances are you’re gonna be a zombie. Do you get squeamish when trimming the fat off a chicken breast, or open your front door when you hear what might be a knock but could easily be just a reanimated arm stump rubbing against the door jam? Then sorry, but you just bought yourself a one-way ticket to Zombietown. Because let’s be honest, when people start coming back to life, it’s gonna be really hard not to bite the dust.
The one thing I have going for me is that I’m a coward. I know the common joke to make about a grown man who’s acting like a wuss is to call him a little girl, but honestly, I’m much less brave than a little girl. I’ll see a 10 year-old lady walking down the street, not worried at all about bees, or passing cars, or the damaging rays of the sun and wonder, “How did she get to be such a badass?” So when the zombies come, I’m gonna have an instant advantage over you jackasses who think, “Maybe we can fight them?!” or “I bet zombies are just something made up by the Drudge Report.” The first word I hear of people coming back from the dead, and I am out of here. Gone. And yes, I already know exactly where I’m going, but I’m not going to tell you, because if I get there and there’s someone else already around, then I’ll get scared and probably just kill myself then to get it over with. You’ve heard of the Fight or Flight reaction? I don’t have that. I have Flight or Flight Faster. Or Flight While I Try Not To Start Crying. So that will buy me some time.
Eventually though, the zombies will kill enough of the stupid people and find their way to my secluded forest compound. (I’ve said too much already!) And that’s when it’s over. Because seriously, zombies are gonna be scary. They’re gonna be dripping all sorts of goo, and you won’t know whether it’s even safe to touch them, and then all of a sudden they’ll be on top of you, and before you know it, you’re a zombie. I’m a zombie. And you know what? I’m totally OK with that. Being one of the guys who wanders around for a while and looks for brains. It’s probably not so bad. You never have to worry about what to wear. I won’t be scared of bees anymore, I can tell you that much. It sounds relaxing, actually. I mean, when’s the last time you saw a stressed out zombie? So there. I won’t be one of the heroes, one of the ones who tries to save the world, and I’m alright with that. Because in order to be Group Leader or Right-Hand Man or even Female Sexpot, you’ve gotta be the kinda person who gets shit done. You’ve gotta be a star. I’m not a star. I’m just a guy with a gluten allergy who watches too many movies.