If you have any kind of active fantasy life, you’ve got at least a vague idea of what you’re going to do when society turns into zombies. Maybe you’ve picked a favorite weapon or a defendable location. People argue about the best zombie survival plans like it’s a religion, and it sort of is, because unless something extremely unlikely happens, we will have wasted billions of hours on pointless speculation and planning.
This is not an article to debunk survival methods. I’ve read The Zombie Survival Guide, and if you like your chances of looting a karate shop and cutting down a horde of corpses with a 15-pound monk’s spade, I’m happy that your stupidity will finally yield a spectacular death. After all, we’re talking about a make-believe world, so you might as well be Jackie Chan in it. And Jackie, this article is here to make sure you have the greatest post-apocalypse you can have. That doesn’t necessarily mean survival. We’re not here to simply scrape by the zombie apocalypse — we’re here to kick it in the ass. It’s why the American language contains the word “awesomest” and not the word “alivest.”
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When it’s you against a world of undead, you should probably get some help, right? You’ll need a few partners to kill the zombies behind you or to guard the entrances while you scrounge for canned stew. You need a rotating watch so the rest can sleep, and someone has to watch over suppl- holy shit, look what just happened. I started talking about group survival, and one sentence later I’m already fussing about food rations and scheduling. Do you really want to spend the apocalypse checking your day planner?
Nothing screws up a wasteland of shambling monsters like a group of human survivors. Every person who joins your rabble takes your exciting tale of action horror one step closer to psychological melodrama. The Walking Dead is almost entirely about human men flossing their teeth with one another’s tongues. What happens is that when people form fruit loop society microcosms, they start to realize that they have to hang on to the only thing they have left: their humanity. You know why? Because when someone sits around thinking about crap like this too long, their thoughts fold in on themselves until their entire brain becomes a vagina.
Let’s see if that’s true by dealing with a common zombie situation. Say a female survivor is bitten. Of course, you can’t shoot your friend in the head, no matter how psychopathic you think you’ll be once civilization ends. So soon you’re in a heated argument with your own soul and the other survivors about how to get rid of this zombie time bomb. And if I know zombie fiction, she’s about to interrupt to say she’s pregnant, just so you all know you’re about to execute the very concept of hope itself. This kind of drama will repeat every single time someone steals a box of cookies or gets overtaken by a horde and left for dead. A few well-intentioned survivors can turn even the nicest apocalypse into a Dove Body Mist commercial.
You know who doesn’t have to deal with that shit? The feral maniac living in the sewer and becoming one with the night. Basically, when the end of the world arrives, you have two choices: Spend it as Tarzan or spend it as Meryl Streep.
Society is collapsing, so you’d better get a gun quickly, right? Let’s assume for a second you know how to use one well enough to aim at a reeking flood of corpses and shoot the parts that are faces. Now you’re stuck with a couple of problems: Your noisy gun is calling more things than you kill, and given the nature of this zombie-horde problem, you will always have more enemies than bullets. But maybe you should stop fussing over all these tiny details. You’re planning a zombie apocalypse, not the perfect wedding. Let’s go get a gun.
Let’s not assume you get to the gun store before everyone else — that’s impossible. The main reason a person opens a gun store is because they’ve been waiting their whole life for exactly this event. They’ve had a shotgun pointed at the entryway since the first report of flesh-eating maniacs. You’re not going to catch them sleeping. According to recent illegal-immigration statistics, the vigilance of American gun owners is second only to the craftiness of any Mexican of any age ever.
If you can convince the gun store owner to let you in, congratulations: You’re now white and in a well-fortified building with a massive stock of weapons and ammunition. That reminds me, I should call my parents. Back to what I was saying, you now have two choices: let more people in (see entry #6), or watch strangers pound on the locked door and curse you as zombies tear their legs off. And since no one has the luxury of personal moral codes anymore, it occurs to you that you’re going to have to start shooting these noisy, panicked visitors before they figure out how to break in. Speaking of shooting, can you name all the ways a Beretta is less reliable than a Glock? Because a gun store owner can and will, from now until the end of time. I hope you’re happy, because while everyone else is out bashing the skulls of the undead, discussing the availability of .445 ammo is how you’re spending the end of times.
Even if you’re in an unfair apocalypse starring fast zombies, the one advantage you’ll always have over the undead is your cleverness. Don’t be tempted to use it, though. Don’t launch fireworks to distract them. Don’t train a dog to deliver your groceries. And if you form an elaborate plan to cover yourself in corpse juice to disguise yourself as a zombie, your last words are probably going to be “It’s working! It’s worAARRRGGHHHHH!!! Always remember that I died a stupid, smelly dipshit!”
Zombies are an unyielding force of nature, so you don’t fight them with cute. You fight them with balls. And even if you discover that the undead can’t see the color pink or that rock ‘n’ roll makes them dance, do you really want to get through Armageddon by exploiting a zombie manufacturing error? There’s a reason that in a time when boats existed, Noah was the only one who survived the flood. It’s because no one makes it to the end of a story by outsmarting the narrator. If you ever see that happening, you’re watching an M. Night Shyamalan movie, and that sucks, because if I’d known you were a little bitch, I wouldn’t have started talking about zombies with you.
Everyone with the world’s most ordinary bookshelf knows that Sun Tzu said, “Those who use fire to assist their attacks are intelligent.” Forget that. Intelligence is for the ancient Chinese. We’re not trying to outmaneuver Cao Cao’s archers in a wheat field. We’re talking about zombies — slow, moaning, American zombies, where the smarter you act, the shittier your apocalypse is going to be.
When a swarm of undead is approaching, don’t lob a Molotov cocktail into them. It takes a well-engulfed body about 15 minutes to burn, and that is a lot of time for a motivated zombie to touch flammable things with its flaming claws. All you did was make dozens of zombies way tougher and invent a smell so horrible, you will die while your nose tries to describe it to your brain. Instead of throwing that Molotov cocktail, you’re better off swallowing it and using the liquor to inspire an all-new, totally sweet plan. Try to remember this: A genius throws a Molotov cocktail and soon realizes that he’s going to die choking in a maze of smoke and flame. A hero drinks a Molotov cocktail and soon realizes that if he does a split in midair, he can hit twice as many zombies per kick. Drunk hero wins again, wusses.
Not using fire is probably pointless advice, since the number of stoves left on rises dramatically with the number of zombies punching through kitchen windows. Plus, your county’s fire department will be spread thinly across the gaping mouths of its former community supporters. My point is, everything might already be on fire. So go crazy, I guess.
When the dead start reanimating, your first few words are mostly going to be shrieks. But after you catch your breath, you’re going to be tempted to ask what could have caused it all. Was it mutated rabies? Was God cranky about gay marriage? Was a space meteor cranky about regular marriage? Oh, if only we could capture one of these … these … let’s call them “bite-walking corpse monsters,” we could learn from them! Understand them! Maybe find a cure!
All the other survivors hate you so much right now.
Nobody really cares where the undead came from. In fact, we’d rather not be reminded about how retarded and impossible all of this is. I get that it’s weird how they breathe or why they crave only our flesh, but they are banging on the windows and you are really being an asshole.
If you’re an ordinary kind of nerd, you’ve probably already picked a nice shopping center in which to safely wait out the zombie apocalypse. There are a couple of problems with that plan. First, your wildest post-apocalyptic fantasy involves you cowering in a mall? You deserve the second problem with your plan: the rapists who thought of coming to the mall shortly after you. The theme of every zombie film, book and TV show is that humans are the real monsters, because a doorknob will keep the undead away, but there is no escape from the evil in men’s hearts. I wish that wasn’t true, but I was outvoted when writers all agreed to be pussies.
You’re going to hate yourself if you miss the entire apocalypse while you’re in a mall figuring out how to add lubricated holes to mannequins. If you’re one step more clever, you could try heading for a cruise ship. There is food, safety, no possible zomb- hold on a second. You want to spend the rest of your days dying slowly on a cruise ship? What are you, a ventriloquist? I’m starting to think you’re just using this zombie crisis as an excuse to sleep with puppets.
Let’s say your terribly unawesome plans work out and you’ve found a luxury liner where you can restart human society. Is that level of responsibility any less terrifying than fighting zombies? You have to create an entirely new government, judicial system and currency. And any scientist with a chimpanzee will tell you that the first thing any society does with currency is give it to the women for sex. So soon your precious safe place away from the kickass zombie war has turned into a never-ending boat party with whores and sex puppets. Actually, wait, I think I might have just talked myself into this one.