"Wild, dark times are rumbling toward us, and the prophet who wishes to write a new apocalypse will have to invent entirely new beasts, and beasts so terrible that the ancient animal symbols of St. John will seem like cooing doves and cupids in comparison."
-HEINRICH HEINE, "Lutetia; or, Paris," Augsberg Gazette, 1842
Hello, dedicated, loyal readers (all five of you). I apologize for my long absence. As you may have noticed, this blog is titled ‘Zombie2012’, because of all of the irrefutable evidence that December 2012 would be the end of the world and the beginning of the reign of the undead. As I waited with bated breath in my Aunt’s living room in Wales, watching the sun set in North America (thanks Google) and waiting for the internet connection to inevitably fail, I said my last mental goodbyes (never show weakness) to my family and friends.
But alas, the world did not end. Which is probably for the best, but suddenly I felt a great emptiness. Years of preparation and training (FINALLY able to carry those 20lb bags of cat litter up to the third floor by myself) had come to a meaningless close. Some later questioned whether I ever truly had belief in the apocalypse. After all, I spent the date without emergency supplies or weapons in the middle of Wales - a land prone to angry mobs and pointy teeth. But the truth is, I had already made a few key decisions to ensure my mental health during the apocalypse. Despite what you may believe, survival is often a mind game. Those who cannot cope with the stress and lack of control often succumb to depression, suicide, and making small but detrimental mistakes.
The apocalypse may or may not ever come, but it is still important to face the Real Deal or your own personal mini crisis with the proper tools.
For that reason, I recommend that you review the tenets of Viktor Frankl’s logotheraphy. For those with limited resources or reading ability, I will summarize.
Frankl was a psychiatrist and survivor of the Holocaust who outlined several key differences in the people in the camps who lost the will to live and those who kept fighting until the end. This is not to say that the people who died were weak. There were horrible circumstances that made suicide an understandable option, and there were many people who were murdered in gas chambers or beaten to death and never had the chance to fight. But Frankl focuses on the differences in mental coping between the men who were facing an existential crisis- wondering what the point of life was if it was filled with such misery. For them and himself, Frankl identified the tactics that helped them persist:
Frankl believed his therapy could be applied to anyone, not just people facing extreme conditions. He estimated that 1/4 of people in America and Europe face an existential crisis at some point in their life, and he found that people whom he helped to find meaning also found a stronger purpose and will to live.
In conclusion, that is why I went to Wales in December rather than holing up in a bunker. That is why I leave the house instead of having food and supplies shipped straight to my house so I can spend all day doing pull ups like Sarah Connor. Because at some point you must hold on to what choices you have, but accept that to some degree the negative things in life cannot be planned for.
The Welsh: My mother thinks pushing the down button will bring the elevator down if you are on a bottom floor, and pushing the up button will bring it up if you are on a top floor.
The most wrath I’ve ever earned from my roommate Celia was the night I came up with my idea for a Zombie/Human love story (I’ve decided to write a Trilogy, to be called collectively “The Hunger Pain Trilogy”: Tiffany for Breakfast, Guess Who’s Coming to be Dinner, and The Last (Human) Supper. Of course, in accordance with the reference to Christianity in its title, the third installment will finally unveil a clear stream of religious propaganda and a happy ending in order to uplift the reader and ensure I sell millions of copies.)
Celia insists that a love story between a zombie and a human is impossible, and disgusting- and that I’m just creating another unoriginal vampire love story but just calling my vampires zombies. Which is cheating. To which I say:
What Is a Zombie?
There are many many variants. According to Webster’s dictionary, the word has its origins in the Haitian language Bantu. There, it is believed that certain voodoo can raise people from the dead, but in a compromised condition. However, the term has evolved to bring to mind images of the still-dead seeking human flesh. Before I can decide which type of zombie is most likely, and which I will use in my love story, I attempted to come up with an all-inclusive definition of the zed word. This is what I decided. In any given Zombie, there is:
You may wonder why I worded that so poorly/weirdly. You may also wonder why I didn’t include the most obvious one, that they are DEAD.
I am Legend is the original novel that blurs the line between zombies and vampires. Richard Matheson pulls a lot from vampire lore- his zombies are extremely photo-phobic and seemingly light-intolerant, to the point of death upon prolonged contact and they are inexplicably averse to garlic. However, their hunger for flesh and the biological origin of their state made the novel much more influential in the Zombie Genre when it became acknowledged as influential in Night of the Living Dead (1968) for its apocalyptic themes. Matheson’s zombie/vampires are also unique to most zombies because they are sentient. They communicate with each other, learn, and in fact resemble a new race more than a lost race.
28 Days Later is undoubtedly a Zombie movie, and uses the popular storyline that the condition is a result of exposure to a virus (in this case one of human creation). However, the victims never die and reanimate, but that are exposed and become subject to uncontrollable “rage”. Do they have an uncontrollable desire for human contact? Yes. Are they ever actually shown eating anyone? No. Do they differentiate between human victims and other infected zombies, and refuse to attack other zombies? Yes.
These movies are the two most difficult of the genre to incorporate. One in which zombies are actually still living but mindless and don’t eat flesh, and the other in which they are completely sentient but no longer self identify as human, and see them as a source of nourishment.
The rest of the zombies out there seem to be generically dead but still able to move somehow…hungry for flesh…stupid…decaying…
Basically Dick Cheney. But that’s another story.
Yes, that’s right. You’ve probably guessed what this post will be about. If you haven’t, you are probably male and should run away now, because what I’m about to cover is more taboo and *cough* bloodier than any Zombie movie to date.
That’s right: Menstruation.
It amazes me that as a society, we are comfortable with the idea of human civilization as we know it being wiped out by an apocalyptic plague that not only kills people but turns their corpses into walking undead predators with a cannibalistic fervor; and part of the Zombie apocalypse appeal is that the human species is taken from its lofty, technology-based hubris into a position of greater appreciation for life and one’s own mortality.
And yet, in this world in which we have been broken down to our most animalistic- in a situation where we can no longer deny our biology- No One. Ever. Menstruates.
I suppose this is more of a reflection on our society than anything else.
In these movies and shows, people are always moaning about how they miss the little every day moments from their old lives; the good times with their families; fishing with their father etc. But Jesus Christ, if the Apocalypse found me unprepared God knows the first fucking thing I’d be crying for is a tampon.
In our male-dominated society people can be massacred on-screen, they can have their intestines ripped out, eyes popped, jugulars bitten, and children torn apart. But God forbid we mention a woman’s period.
Is menstruation gross? Yeah, I guess.
Is it grosser than watching someone being eaten alive? No.
Is it something I should be ashamed of and not even write a post about in a blog no one reads? I don’t know. I know what my mother and decades of prudish British sensibilities would say.
Maybe menstruation has no place in many zombie movies. But how can it not have a place in an post-apocalyptic zombie movie? Menstruation = life = the future = hope.
The apocalypse will, in a stunning display of natural selection, wipe the Earth of the physically weak (most likely including me) and we will most likely return to the days when women tended the “cave” while the men ventured out in search of beasts to kill. But perhaps, just perhaps -by merely surviving in such a hopeless situation in which the creatures trying to wipe us out are most attracted to those who are capable to carry on the human race- we women will earn our right once and for all to die at the teeth of a zombie and not, just by default, in childbirth.
My roommate Celia is complicating matters too much. She’s trying to convince me that zombies wouldn’t be attracted to blood, that they’re “not sharks!”. And that we wouldn’t be able to “hang used tampons from trees to lure zombies out”.
Most roommates fight about whose turn it is to do the dishes; take out the trash; clean up that moldy polenta from last week’s communal dinner. Or who left the door unlocked; who locked the top lock and slept through the doorbell and made me sleep outside the apartment door all night in a dress; who threw up in the sink at the party last night…
But Celia and I fight about the hypothetical behavioral tendencies of the future’s zombie-people. But that’s another story.
Recently, in my never-ending quest to find a way to make a living off my mediocre writing abilities, I considered writing a Twilight-esque love story between a zombie and a human. It’s proving more problematic than I thought, because even Robert Pattinson would not be attractive as a classic zombie….but this video gives me hope :) Plus, if Stephanie Meyer can make vampires sparkle, I can think of something.
Probably the single most important step I can take to survive the Apocalypse is to assemble a team of people who can do all the shit I can’t. These loyal and proud few will accompany me around the world righting the wrongs of the Zombie takeover and making up cool catchphrases that the later generations can put on T-Shirts. I can see it now.
1972 2012, a crack commando unit was sent to prison Zombie Hell by a military court wrathful God for a crime they didn’t commit years of alcohol abuse and sex. These men (and women) promptly escaped from a maximum-security stockade Zombie-Infested University to the Los Angeles underground someplace safe. (Seriously, who the fuck would go to LA? I am 99% sure the Zombie Apocalypse has already begun here, in the Ground Zero of human bodies as soulless, vapid propagations of misery, sin and moral cannibalism. It is to Zombies what San Francisco is to homosexuals. It’s first place in the world which openly accepts when its citizens eat each other alive for personal gain) Today, still wanted by the government Undead, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a zombie problem…if no one else can help…and if you can find them…maybe you can hire… The A- Team The Z-Team .
Let’s take a look at my options.
First, I have to disqualify from Z-Team eligibility any of my good friends who are good people/worship God/repent their sins. This is the apocalypse for a reason, people. All you sinless Bastards will have Jesus come collect you on his Mini-Bus to Heaven. Fucking hippies.
Well, that’s cut out approximately one person from my list of friends. To the rest of you, I need a team that will be cohesive, effective and trusting. As Glee last night proved (I swear my roommate made me watch), Zombies are excellent at bringing people together, but there are still those douche bags who refuse to get along and would get us killed. It’s a tricky balance between people I love and people who would be useful. Unfortunately, not many of them overlap…but fuck it, wouldn’t you rather die with the ones you love than live with people who have Undead personalities?
Please be on my Z-Team, friends who:
If any of this sounds familiar, know you’re always welcome on my Z-Team. But help a girl out and learn how to use an AK-47, yeah?
Well, glad that’s sorted then.
”I love it when a plan comes together.”
I woke up briefly this morning at 9 am a bit like a zombie myself. I sat up violently, my arms outstretched before me reaching for a glass of water, only to find it was an old cup of tea with bits of floaty mold. Eww. I groaned and collapsed back into bed. I’m pretty sure my roommate Laura saw my ass when she came to see if I wanted to go to the gym but I can’t be sure because I was still somewhat drunk. If being a zombie means being in a constant hangover, I am so not down. This only renews my determination to survive the apocalypse. Also, while I was groping for water, I made a strange connection, probably stemming from my last post and one of my friends asking me for advice with men (yeah, God only knows what she was thinking asking me).
Love is like the zombie disease. In the beginning, you want to isolate it, culture it and see if it grows. But eventually and inevitably it grows beyond your ability to control it; it spreads; it consumes you and drives you to consume others, and you’re left a broken, broken corpse. I know you’re thinking these are just my bitter rants, but seriously, think about it, maybe the zombie disease will merely be the evolved form of love as we know it now:
1) People in love are monomaniacal in trying to set poor uninfected people up so they can be as “happy” as they are. They are trying to pass the disease on!
2) I have often witnessed people in the act of kissing who actually appear to be eating each other’s faces. This is how it starts!
3) Have you ever seen a hippie? Once a person dedicates their life to love they inevitably degrade into a dirty, smelly burden to society, asking for shit on those signs. Get ready to hear, “Dude, any spare brains? Every morsel helps, Man.” When the apocalypse comes, you better hope a Democrat is in power because the Republicans will let all the captured zombies back on the streets to save a few dollars. But that’s another rant…
And yet, in the words of Douglas Adams, DON’T PANIC. There are things you can do to prevent this version of the apocalypse!
1) If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself infected, limit yourself to one partner to avoid further contamination.
2) Realize that your belief that being in a relationship is a good thing is just the effects of the disease on your brain (soon to be consumed by your lover. Kinky shit)
3) Keep your PDI, public displays of infection, to a minimum, please
Remember, only YOU can prevent the love-driven end of the world!
Yesterday I met a nice young man. He is completely off-limits, however, and this is why:
I’ve decided that when the apocalypse begins, the hardest part will be dealing with the loss of beloved friends and family. I am not quite as emotionally hard as I will need to be! I don’t think I could cut off Mitch’s head, even if he were trying to eat me… Luckily, I don’t live near my parents, so I could live in denial about their state of zombie-hood indefinitely. And my brother is an ex-Marine working in a gun store in Arizona: he’ll be fine. So I can’t even imagine what would happen if I had a boyfriend and he was infected! Assuming, that is, that I really liked him and wasn’t just using him for sex. I know, that’s a big assumption!
But this guy was really nice. TOO nice. Zombies wait for the nice guys to finish last and then eat them. He would probably go about trying to save as many people as possible instead of surviving. It may be incredibly sexy when Andrew Lincoln does it on The Walking Dead, but that shit will get you killed in real life. And if I couldn’t cut off Mitch’s head, there’s no way I could cut off a boyfriend’s! (unless he refused to go down in bed!)
Which leaves a choice: Either avoid a boyfriend altogether, or accept the inevitability of having a zombie boyfriend. This would be terrible for several reasons, some obvious, some not:
1) He would constantly be trying to kill me. And hey, I grew up in Palmdale. I’ve seen the whole violent domestic violence thing and it’s just not for me. Unless he’s Latino, then it’s just hot. Or cute. Remember Ricky Ricardo?
2) His friends would smell and never clean up after their brains when they come over.
3) He would undoubtedly leave the toilet seat up.
4) I don’t mind a little bondage, and while I don’t mind being on top, it might get old. But more importantly, condoms are only 99.9% effective at preventing zombie pregnancies, and I don’t feel like being eaten inside out by a zombie fetus.
Today I began my strict workout regimen designed to turn my body into a lean, mean, zombie-killing machine. This consisted of doing 30 crunches, half a push-up,
running jogging for 15 minutes and then rowing for 20 minutes. Some non-believer I used to know in the dorms commented that rowing was a terrible zombie skill. Ha! Ignorant fool. Even as brain-dead as zombies are, they will avoid large bodies of water for several reasons:
1) They lack the motor skills and intelligence needed to swim. Therefore, when they encounter the increased difficultly water will pose to their movement, they will turn around.
2) Their flesh will decompose more quickly in water.
3) Zombies are drawn to the smell of flesh and blood. Not only will there be more people available to snack upon on land, but even if there are humans fleeing to the water for safety, water will help in covering their smell and zombies will lose the scent. This is a key overlooked fact in current zombie lore. The eyes are the most delicate part of the body and unlikely to remain functional very long. They are also probably a pretty tasty treat. So, when someone becomes a zombie treat, if the zombie doesn’t pop the squishy morsels into his/her (equal zombie rights!) mouth like grapes, they will still probably be poked out or fall out or just become damaged beyond use even before the rest of the body decays. However, don’t think you can pull an Alan Grant and just sit there right next to the T-Rex in your Indiana Jones hat (okay, I admit he pulled it off) and not get bitten. The majority of zombies will probably rely most heavily on their sense of smell and touch. So they’ll still get you.
Soooooo. I have a point, and it is that water will be an important refuge for survivors. Islands and ships will be the most likely places of refuge. But….how are you going to get there? Ships won’t be able to dock without running the risk of a zombie mutiny. Swim? Uh…no. The shallow water close to shore will most likely be home to a few of the misfortunate zombies who have been pulled in by riptides unwillingly and are doomed to float hungrily below the surface at the current’s whim, hoping only for some unsuspecting human to dive in and greet them. Not to mention the likelihood that most of the Earth’s water will be tainted by the zombie virus itself. Even a papercut on your finger could become the new site for a zombie infection party in your flesh. Boats are our best bet, and I would prefer to be able to row as quickly as possible away from the undead!
I have been told by a redheaded bitch friend that I don’t posses a very strong will to live. Just because I commented that if I were James Franco in 127 Hours I wouldn’t have been able to drink my own piss (if I could find a way to collect it, considering I don’t have a penis) let alone cut off my arm.
Which makes me think: I am from the Los Angeles area, i.e. high maintenance, I have no discernible skills, and no athletic talent (unless….no, that doesn’t count). If I were in a horror movie, I would be that dumb bitch who complains about breaking her nail and then gets locked in a room where she has to decide between cutting off her nose and death and chooses death. But seriously, who would want to fuck someone without a nose??
My point is, the apocalypse is impending. December 21, 2012 according to various trustworthy sources such as The X-Files and the Mayans. However, I think it’s also pretty obvious that the apocalypse will not take the form of Jesus descending from the sky to judge us. God is much more creative than that. He will bring upon the Earth a never-before-seen virus (or bacteria, I’m open-minded) that will turn its victims into undead, walking corpses with a hankering for human flesh. Braaaaaaaains.
So, I will prove my redheaded friends wrong. I will survive the apocalypse. Not through prayer, but through preparation and training. I will watch Rambo movies and take notes. I will learn how to do useful things like run for long distances, quickly. I will learn to fight; really fight, not the oh-no-she-didn’t-bitch-don’t-make-me-take-out-my-earrings fighting I rely on now. I will dye my roommate’s hair to look like Alice from Resident Evil because, honestly, red really doesn’t go with my skin tone.
I am Anita Shankar and these are my Zombie Chronicles.