Brainssssss (Or Why We’re All Looking Forward To The Zombie Apocalypse)

7 Dec

On the face of it, The Zombie Apocalypse may not seem like something we should be looking forward to with eager anticipation.

After all, it will doubtless be a source of some inconvenience to those who become zombified and I dare say the rest of us will face some appreciable degree of hardship, and probably even some risk to life and limb, as we seek to avoid joining the shambling hordes of undead flesh eaters.

On the other hand, there will definitely be something of an up side to all the devastation, carnage, cannibalism and general mayhem.

For one thing the Zombie Apocalypse will be a great leveller. Social, racial and class differences will finally be put in their rightful perspective by the general and shared need to avoid being munched on by the walking dead and, as a result, the world will finally become a true meritocracy. Only your skill and judgement in staying alive will count. Other factors will be irrelevant.

Another point is that, in the face of wandering herds of ravenous brain-dead cannibals, you are likely to find that all those troublesome worries and concerns of day to day life in our allegedly civilised society will lose their importance. Worries about how you’re going to pay the bills, what you’re going to get your granny for her birthday, how to avoid all that humiliating deference you have to show your moron of a boss will fade into the background as you find yourself much more focussed on the really important things in life. Things like finding a safe haven, scrounging food and choosing a suitable weapon with which to fend off the zombie hordes.

You may also find yourself making new friends and gaining new skills.

People that you would normally avoid, or even look down on, will all of a sudden be revealed to be persons of merit worthy of your esteem.

For example, the red-necked survivalist named ‘Cleetus’ or ‘Bubba’, whose banjo playing always used to irritate you, will now be your best pal. After all, who else is better placed to offer help and advice when fortifying and modifying your newly acquired vehicle in order to create the supercharged, armour-plated and fully zombie-proof battle wagon that you’ve always wanted?

After all, who else can boast the skills required to sneak around in the dark, despatching zombies efficiently and with the minimum of fuss and brain splatter? And who else can brew up moonshine in a still improvised from assorted household goods?

Of course a certain number of practical issues will need to be addressed. First and foremost, you will need a suitable choice of attire, and I would suggest a practical, rather than aesthetic approach here.

Leather, for example, can be very stylish and should also be bite resistant. Mail armour would, of course, be preferable and would give a rather fetching, slinky look to one’s ensemble, but it is rather heavy, by no means rainproof and also has the disadvantage of being somewhat hard to come by this century.

Kevlar, on the other hand, is not only light and flexible, it’s also hard wearing and has the advantage of being cruelty free. The uninitiated may well assume that kevlar is difficult to find, but any decent biker shop should have a wide selection of garments made from kevlar and other durable, weatherproof materials. These garments can be expensive to buy, at the moment, but this consideration will, of course, be quite irrelevant in the event of the zombie apocalypse.

Another important decision to be made will be in the matter of weapons.

In the United States, particularly south of the Mason Dixon line, firearms will be relatively easy to find. In the United Kingdom, however, while you may be able to find a shotgun without undue difficulty in rural areas does, you will be hard pressed to find any kind of gun without a good deal of effort. Unless, of course, you happen to have criminal tendencies, or be fortunate enough to be a close acquaintance of someone who does.

This should not be a source if undue discouragement, however, because while firearms can present certain advantages in the matter of fending off marauding zombies, there are also disadvantages to this option.

Clearly the ability to despatch a zombie at some distance is desirable, and a bullet in the head will do the job quite efficiently, but the difficulty with guns is that they are of limited value without ammunition. And ammunition is quite heavy to carry in bulk and does tend to run out at the most inconvenient times.

As an aside, it is worth noting that so many people come to grief by persisting in the habit of shooting zombies in the chest. Clearly this is a waste of time and ammunition. The only way to kill a zombie is to destroy the brain, therefore you must ALWAYS go for the head shot.

Unless of course one is threatened by a large number of highly mobile zombies in which case the precision required for an effective head shot will be difficult to achieve. In such circumstances it can be advisable to aim for the legs. This will not kill the zombies, of course, but it will slow them down quite considerably. Zombies may well feel no pain, but even the undead can’t run, or even shamble, on shattered leg bones, so they will be restricted to crawling, or dragging themselves along using their arms. This will then allow an opportunity either to retreat or to despatch the zombies on an individual basis.

But in the absence of ready access to firearms, one can always opt for a bow, although this requires almost constant practice to maintain an appropriate level of skill. Or a crossbow, a weapon that requires little more skill to use than a firearm, and is considerably quieter, but is every bit as useless as a gun once the ammunition is gone. Having said this, at least a crossbow bolt is reusable.

Regardless of one’s access to any of the above weapons one will always need a backup for when the ammunition runs out or the zombies get to close and what this boils down to is the choice between a sharp implement or a blunt one.

Either way, the length, weight and even the aerodynamic qualities of the weapon should be taken into consideration.

In particular, you need a weapon that is long enough to give you sufficient reach to keep the zombie out of biting range, but one that is not so long as to be difficult to wield.

One of the reasons why the Scottish army were defeated at the battle of Flodden, for example, is that they had been rearmed with 15 foot long pikes, which were considered state of the art weaponry, but which were, in the absence of proper training, unwieldy and virtually useless. James IV would have been better advised to have let his soldiers use the weapons they were used to.

In a similar vein, one should also choose a weapon of sufficient weight to be effective, but not so heavy as to be too tiring to use repeatedly.

The aerodynamic properties of a weapon may seem to be quite marginal, but if one is faced with a large number of zombies requiring repeated strikes, this apparently marginal factor may become quite significant.

These are, of course, matter of personal choice and will depend on the physique, fitness and skill of the individual.

Choosing between a sharp or blunt instrument is also a matter of individual choice. A sharp implement will appeal to those who favour decapitation over bludgeoning, but one must be aware of the risk of blood spatter which, depending on the variety of undead cannibal one encounters, may represent a significant risk of infection.

Something that is far less a question of personal choice is the matter of who to despatch and who to allow to go on living. Clearly those identified as zombies, or those infected persons who are likely to become zombies, should be dealt with firmly and decisively. Those who are not infected, should however, on the whole, not be killed.

Clearly, if we are to act on this principle we will need to have a robust and accurate means of identifying who is, or is not infected.

While even the most cursory visual examination may reveal those who are well and truly zombified, as they will

tend to be encrusted with dried blood about the mouth, lower face and chest, one may find that in conditions of poor visibility etc even a cursory examination may not be possible and in any case the early stages of zombification may not be obvious to the naked eye.

A detailed physical examination should determine whether or not someone has been bitten, but this will require the co-operation of the subject, which may not be forthcoming, and in any case a physical examination will require relatively close proximity, which may be inadvisable. Therefore other methods should be employed where possible.

One can, of course, carry out a careful observation of the subject’s behaviour in order to determine their level of physical co-ordination since a loss of fine motor skills is generally symptomatic of infection. On the other hand, some people are just clumsy, so this test cannot be considered definitive.

Alternatively, one may wish to engage the subject in conversation, as the infected will tend not to be great conversationalists. On the other hand an over reliance on the conversational ability of the subject as a determining factor may result in an unacceptably high attrition rate amongst the aphasic, or even just those of a taciturn disposition.

Significantly, one should not necessarily assume that someone is, or is about to become, a zombie simply because they hold and express views that appear to be inconsistent with higher cognitive function.

Therefore, decapitation of those whose taste in music, films or whose voting habits one disagrees with must, generally speaking, be considered excessive. A sharp blow to the head should be quite sufficient to the occasion and, if challenged, one can always cite the fact that zombies feel no pain and then congratulate the subject on having successfully passed the test.

Of course in amongst all the uncertainties resulting from the zombie apocalypse, there will always be some certainties that we can rely on.

The most notable of these are as follows:

1/ If you hear an unexplained noise from

a/ outside

b/ the cellar

c/ the attic

It is not the wind, the dust settling, or a stray kitten. It is DEFINITELY a zombie and you should take appropriate steps accordingly.

2/ If you see a young child wandering around on his/her own, do NOT approach. It is a zombie and should be despatched at your earliest convenience. (Actually the child may not be a zombie, but shooting irritatingly cute and precocious kids may be one of the great advantages of living through the zombie apocalypse. The true philosopher will always take his or her pleasures where he or she can.

3/ NEVER say any of the following

a/ I can handle this

b/ I think we’re safe now

c/ Everything’s going to be alright

d/ You know, I think Justin Bieber’s greatly underrated as a performer.

If you do, you WILL die a bizarre and horrible death.

4/ If a zombie appears to be dead, it isn’t. It’s just resting. Be sure and kill it before you do anything else.

By following these simple principles I’m sure we can all have a rewarding and enjoyable zombie apocalypse experience.


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