Monday, April 30, 2012

Love Zombies, Will Travel

I am completely fascinated by Zombies.  Sure, Vampires are shiny and get all of the face time on the silver screen- followed closely by Werewolves, but Zombies are just way more fun.  There's just something about a lumbering, rotting, reanimated corpse wanting to gnaw the flesh from my very bones that catches my imagination and utter devotion. 

First of all, I love being completely terrified.  My heart races, my veins rush fun-filled adrenaline to places I'd forgotten I had, and sometimes I wet myself.  Just making sure you were really paying attention.  Zombies are my favorite go-to fright factory, but I can settle for ghost and haunting stories, but my fascination with those things are for another time.

I've tried to rationalize my relationship with all things Zombie, and I just keep getting distracted by shiny objects and  fiddling with my fancy iPod.  But really, what is it about these yucky-looking critters?  Let me see if I can reason through this.

Death: Death is a pretty final, permanent commitment.  You live such a short while, but you're dead for eternity.  Sucks, right?  Death is freaking scary because no one knows anything about it.  Like I said, it's a permanent commitment.  No one comes back from it.  Now, I know what you're going to say- "Now Jessicca, what about all of those people who wake up from some horrible ordeal claiming they rendezvoused with long-gone loved ones and muttering something or other about the white light?"  I suppose you could also mention that during heart by-pass surgery that you're technically dead for several minutes until they decide to juice you back into existence.   Sure, while your brain is sputtering around on fumes without oxygen, you could hallucinate all sorts of things (a common explanation) or you did actually see these things, but it just wasn't time for you to clock-out for realsies (explanation numero dos). 

Life After Death?: Religiously, I believe that there is some existence elsewhere after death where you are rewarded for your goodness, or forced to atone for your not-so-goodness.  But there's a weird little limbo that I wonder about.  There are things that can't be explained like ghosts and such.  And what about the occult things like the dreaded, possessed Oijia Board that you can't seem to shake no matter how many times you burn it, chop it up, and bury in the most remote places on Earth?  Which reminds me, I need to renew my frequent flier miles. 
    As humans, I think that we want to believe in life after death.  We want to clutch to the hope that you can somehow contact the loved ones you left behind and continue to influence their lives in some form or another.  To me, that's an utterly depressing thought.  I don't want to spend whatever portion of my eternity blowing in people's ears and hoping they'll notice and talk to me, or hope some Medium comes by to exorcise my spirit from whatever place I wander into.  Might be a dream come true for some, not so much for me.
   At least Zombies get to stumble around and harass people.  I could even track down the people I didn't like and make a meal out of their innards.  I can think of a few literary agents to be my zombie lunch special.  Who's going to put a Zombie in jail?  No body, that's who! 

The Opportunity to Shed Social Norms and Mores: It's the whole appeal for anything taboo, really.  It's the thrill of doing something that you know is wrong, but for whatever reason, under new circumstances, you no longer have to follow the popular guys' rules. 
     Fashionistas Need Not Apply: Zombies don't care how they're dressed.  They only care about you...well more exactly the yummy-gummy taste of you.  Usually they're all crusty and musty and that only adds to their appeal.  Sure, you smell like rot and decay, but you're a Zombie.  Just eat your critics.  Also, handy in the publishing world I would think.
    No More Responsibility: Going to jail for not paying child support?  No worries, just eat them- your spouse or your children I suppose.   Hate your job and want to quit?  Eat his coffee swilling butt.  That'll teach him for taking away Casual Fridays.  You don't need money anyway.  The people hiding from you in their basement- they're your meal.  And you don't need a house anyway.  You're already (mostly) dead.  A little rain will only serve to wash away some grime.
    Aggression is Your Friend:  Susceptible to bouts of rage?  Ever fought the urge to tear someone limb from limb?  Good, those things will come in handy when the survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse start thrashing at you with a hatchet.  I can't think of a better qualification for being a zombie...except maybe unquenchable hunger.
    No Need For Niceties:  Forget having to suck up to your gross co-worker with the things crawling around in his hair just because you're afraid he'll get the big promotion just because he's your boss' son-in-law.  You don't have to worry about what people think of you.  Like I said, eat your critics.  They're yummiest with a little mustard.

Dealing With Fear: Like I said, death is the great beyond, the great unknown, maybe a great let-down depending on where you end up I suppose.  Face it, whenever you hear about a death, or an impending funeral you wonder what happened?  Could I have contracted whatever killed them by going?  How old were they?  While funerals are a way for the living to say their good-byes and pay tribute to the person you were and what role you played in their lives, you find yourself missing seeing them whenever the mood struck.  Great thing about Zombies?  You can see them dragging their bum leg behind them, staggering down the street gnawing on a femur and just as happy as a lark.  Is it the same Great-Gramps that tucked you into bed with a pat on the head and a kiss goodnight?  No, but you can't have your cake and eat it, too.
   Also, there would be no need for further debate.  You live, you  die, you come back as a Zombie and eat the masses.  Is it a fairytale?  No, refer to the above cake comment. 

Cannibalism: Most everyone is familiar with the Donner Party in 1847 in the Sierra Nevada in California.  Over half of the initial 87 suffered from disease, starvation, and eventually succumbed to cannibalism.  Nutritionally, eating the flesh of other human beings is not a good idea.  We don't exactly digest it, thus you can't get nutrition from it.  But when you're super starved with nary a McD's in sight, you eat what you can I guess.  Cannibalism is probably lower on the totem pole than incest, pedophilia and the thievery of candies from babies- all three of which should be punishable with death by Rabid Zombies...which is way, WAY worse. 
    This probably isn't the go-to selling point for Zombies, but taboo things seem to get perverted attention for the sole reason that it's taboo.  Speaking of McD's, from the horror-filled stories of chicken eyes nuggets, chicken feet strips, and the occasional spittle in your sweet tea, that doesn't sound much more gourmet than the intestines of the annoying neighbor revving engines and playing crappy music all night...when they know you work. 

I'm sure that there's way more to their appeal than that, but I can only think so long and so in-depth before my ears start to steam and the hamsters fall out of their exercise wheels.  Plus, I have lots more to do today than sit at a desk and regale you with the awesome-possumness of Zombies. 

The Zombies Are Coming!
Are you a fan of Zombies?  Do you think Vampires are better?  Comment below and share your ideas.  I won't bite...unless you blatantly contradict anything I've written above.  Those Rabid Zombies I mentioned before, are totally real and I'll give them your address.  Enjoy!

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