The Zombies Are Alright: How I Got Psyched For the End of the World

I’m ready for the zombies. Or the robots. Or the reconstituted dinosaurs. I’m not particular. Whatever form the apocalypse takes, bring it on.

Here’s what happened. The other day my wife and I were driving on the freeway with our boys when I noticed this Chevy Suburban in front of us. On the back windshield, it had a set of those white stick figure stickers that are so popular these days.

You’ve seen them. It’s a family: there’s a dad stick figure, a mom stick figure, some kid stick figures. Maybe some pets. Often individuality is expressed, via Mickey Mouse hats or sporty outfits.

I don’t really have a problem with those stickers, though I’m not likely to be in the market for my own set anytime soon. Honestly, I usually don’t pay much attention to them. But this time I did. And I happened to notice that this wasn’t an ordinary stick figure family.

They were a family of zombie fighters. Three zombie stick figures approached from the left. The stick figure family on the right were armed with shotguns, including brother and little sis.

This is going to sound weird, because I’m not really into zombies – honestly, I think they’re a bit passé. And, okay, the stickers are tacky. All I know is, I’m with the owners of that Suburban. I had an epiphany when I saw those stickers. And now I’m kind of rooting for the apocalypse.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge fan of humanity. And I certainly wouldn’t do anything to hasten any global zombification. Please federal agents, don’t show up at my door.

But there’s something awfully appealing about being among the last humans alive. Me and my family against the world. Gathering allies in the ruins of our city. Making a last stand. Decoding the cure for the pandemic. It’d be a vacation and a family project all at once!

Think of the wonderful clarity – you wouldn’t have to wonder whether to bother recycling that paper cup, or wrestle with whether you’re spending your time on the right things in life. Because, you know. Zombies.

Maybe I feel this way because of a primal need to fight for survival in the wild. Maybe I yearn for community. Maybe it’s because I ride a packed bus day after day, all of us wearing headphones, avoiding eye contact, locked in our own worlds. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, and starting to think about my own mortality. I don’t know. Psychoanalyze me all you want. I just want to bust some zombie heads, and if 98% of humanity has to be wiped out… well, look, I’m not exactly happy about that part, okay? But when life gives you lemons, what are you gonna do?

Look, I don’t want to bust anybody’s bubble, but humanity is on the clock. The sun’s only got a few more billion years left in it. When I think about the future, I mean The Big Future, the capital-F Future… if we make it that far, and that’s a big if, we can look forward to what? A supernova?

That’s why I can’t help but get antsy. Why do I have to just be a link in the chain? Why can’t I be on the front lines? Let’s cut to the chase. It’d be better and simpler if we stopped beating around the bush and just had it out right now, in the streets.

Zombies (or robots or dinosaurs) would give us a clear enemy, something so much more tangible than the half-life of a main sequence star. So let’s do this thing. Bring it on, and sign me up for the human side.

I envision myself as Leader of the Resistance. I think I have some good situational project management skills. I’m tall, so you’ll easily be able to spot me, even among a crowd of undead. I run a couple miles now and then. I’ve never actually fired a gun, but how hard could it be?

Man, I can picture it. Me and the guy down my street who owns the sweet 1985 Camaro make a midnight run to the deserted ruins of Sports Basement. We grab some basics: lamps and flashlights. Clif bars. Smartwool socks. Being classy, we leave a handwritten IOU on the counter.

Then we locate the secret door. Bust into the hidden weapons cache that the movie Commando taught me is somewhere in every sporting goods store. Body armor, surface-to-air bazookas, you name it– they have that stuff in back.

Wait a second. Jeez, do you think it’s just skiing stuff over there? I don’t ski, so I don’t really go over to that part of the store... I always just assumed.

Now I’m starting to wonder if I’m really ready. My family bought a bunch of canned food in case there’s an earthquake, so I guess that’s a start.

But I haven’t even seen World War Z yet. Not because I don’t want to. I just can’t convince my wife – my hypothetical zombie-fighting ally – to watch anything that scary. Frankly, the Nightmare before Christmas was a bit of a stretch.

Do you think that’s a bad sign? Do you think my loved ones will crack under the non-stop terror of the apocalypse? God, come to think of it, my two year old hasn’t even learned how to jump yet. That could definitely be a liability if the zombies get into our yard.

And what about me? Do I have what it takes? I start to get light-headed if I don’t have a snack at 10am. I like my coffee burr-ground, thank you very much. Loud noises make me blink uncontrollably, which, come to think of it, might hinder my marksmanship. I can’t even do a pull up.

Dang it. I have to face facts. Maybe I’m not such a great candidate for Leader of the Resistance. Maybe I should just settle down, take out the recycling, and try to start making eye contact on the bus. I suppose we could wait for the supernova. There are a lot of Saturdays between now and then, after all.