A Zombie’s Guide to Survival

May is Zombie Awareness Month, and the Zombie Research Society, founded in 2007, supports events all over the world to prepare us for the impending onslaught of zombie invasions. While there’s a lot of advice that can be found on how to avoid becoming a zombie, there isn’t much of a market niche for those who’ve already been turned to the dark side of mindless, brain eating zombies.

Ayn Rand stated (with apologies as to its application), “The purpose of Man’s life is to become an abject zombie who serves a purpose he does not know, for reasons he is not to question.” Perhaps we are all, therefore, destined for zombie-ism (to the extent we have avoided its voracious consumerism clutches displayed in George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”).

So if, by some chance, you wake up one morning and find yourself with an unexpected taste for… brains, then here are some tips on extending your survival chances until a cure is found, and perhaps to have a little fun along the way.

Always move forward slowly and with purpose. Why do zombies always prevail? It’s the slow, one foot after the other, plodding along as the bikini-clad teenage girl runs, trips over her own feet, falls, twists her ankle and crawls across the deserted road shrieking and crying. The zombie staggers toward her little by little, mouth agape presumably to devour her brains. Panicking never got anyone anywhere; and as the Japanese proverb says, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

Moisturize. This is especially important for zombies who find themselves stranded in the desert, on a sandy beach, or in the blazing hot sun. We’ve all seen them, zombies with rotting flesh pealing and hanging from bones, putrid muscles and tendons exposed, barley holding the limbs to the body. It’s unknown if a zombie’s need to feed on human flesh has anything to do with his ability to prevent rapid rotting and decay, so if you’re a squeamish zombie or the living have sufficiently evaded you for the time being, it won’t hurt to smear on a little SPF 50.

Don’t trust big government or large corporations. Generally speaking, the plight of any zombie begins when the government or major corporate entity decides to experiment on the unknowing and innocent public. And while they often have an antidote to whatever flesh eating virus they’ve concocted, there is most certainly never enough for the entire zombie population. In this case, those that got you into it are definitely not your friends, and not likely to get you out of it.

Protect your head and neck. Everyone knows that a zombie’s most vulnerable body part is the head and neck. A good head wound or snapped neck is just about the only thing that will stop a zombie. While this is an excellent rule of thumb in any emergency for the living, it is mission critical info for a zombie. Think about any zombie you’ve ever seen in a movie. They can generally be slowed by a shot to the leg, arm or midsection, but little by little they continue slithering across the floor, springing through the air, jaw hanging open. Truly, the only way to stop the zombie is a clean shot to the head.

Remember when you were in elementary school and the principal would order a tornado drill? What’s the first thing you were supposed to do? You got it, tuck your head between your legs and cover the back of your neck.

None of us can accomplish as much as all of us. Whether scaling a brick wall, knocking down a heavy, wooden door or devouring human flesh, it doesn’t really matter the project, together we can accomplish anything. So grab a couple of your zombie buddies and put your heads together.

“Never underestimate the power of (living) human stupidity.” (Robert A. Heinlein) Ever since “Night of the Living Dead” in 1968, the living have maintained a healthy appetite for zombie movies. They think they know everything about surviving a zombie apocalypse. But the truth is, the predictability of the living will do nothing more than ensure an infected zombie’s survival.

So if you’re in the mood to munch the brains of a few teenagers dressed in school uniforms, check the local school cafeteria. For a quick snack, look for the lone human who has decided to venture off from the group (see “always move forward slowly and with purpose” above). Avoid anyone in the military; while they usually end up infected, they always take out a hoard of zombies before their demise. And always keep one of your remaining eyes open for the couple who can’t help but engage in a little sexual intercourse, they’re distracted, an easy target, and a twofer!