We’ve all heard the joke:
Today’s young people are better prepared for a zombie apocalypse than they are for “real life.”
Well, thank god for that.
As we have seen, are seeing, will see, the world is an increasingly baffling and hellacious place. Human sacrifice? Check. Dogs and cats living together? Check. Mass hysteria? …Oh, shit, you guys. It’s official.
Houston, we have apocalypse.
Of course, I jest. It’s my favorite coping mechanism. But let’s get real (ish) for a sec. No one can argue that this year has been like a dry run for Satan’s second coming. (Or is it the first? Seventh? I haven’t finished binge-watching every season of “Supernatural” yet, so please, no spoilers.) From the ongoing tire fire that is Brexit, to the abandoned Burning Man port-a-potty that is the alt-right movement, to the sudden peacing out of a metric f**kton of our favorite celebrities, to the actual–now literal; thank you Donald Trump and Steve Bannon–Shit Show that is this year’s election…2016 is the most apocalypse-adjacent reality I have had the pleasure of experiencing. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. (In fact, in the words of High School Musical, “We’re all in this together, you selfish motherf***ers.” Or something.)
For those of you who are still in denial that the world is ending (a popular life choice these days; #NoJudgement, Judy from Facebook), don’t worry. We, the Millennials, have got your back. Or, at the very least, we’ve got a comedically-timed bitch slap of reality with your name on it.
So here it is, future casualties and survivors. The truth bomb you’ve been dreading (and we’ve been preparing for) for as long as we can remember:
IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT.
Still struggling with that whole denial thing? Ah, it’s okay Judy. If it makes you feel better, you can keep pretending I’m talking about “The Walking Dead” on AMC 9/8c–#NotMyWinchester. Personally, I’m a big fan of that one line from the Bible (?) “…and the truth shall set you free.” So.
Here’s what’s true in the case of post-apocalyptic drama (and also–incidentally–true today):
- Sobbing hysterically, though an extremely tempting course of action, will only make things worse.
- Figuring out exactly which gas station sold the fateful tainted hamburger which was purchased and consumed by Patient Zero that caused him or her to begin eating other people’s faces off–while interesting from a scientific standpoint–isn’t really going to help us now. We’re in this thing. It’s started. Hamburgers of any kind are a luxury we can no longer afford.
- In other words: the blame game is just that–a GAME. Can be fun, but also super unproductive.
- Ain’t nobody got time for that. (Definitions of “that” include, but are not limited to: infighting, looting, self-pity, interior decorating, pride, kale, flattery, racism, sexism, xenophobia, self-importance, non-lethal arts and crafts, cruelty to animals and/or humans–hell, even cruelty to zombies is just tacky–hijacking the cause of survival for momentary enjoyment, sentimental knickknacks, light beer, revisionist history, and so forth.)
- POC and LGBTQIA people always end up in mortal peril first. It’s not fair, but that’s what happens in these situations. You can get mad about Hollywood tropes which are offensive and also metaphorically society-based, or bitch about how “technically all people have an equal opportunity to get our faces eaten off”–#NotAllFacelessPeople. OR you can realize that this is a thing that keeps happening (that’s what “trope” means, Judy), and everyone recognizes it on some level, and we should probably pay more attention to protecting those people from now on. Because without them, the zombie movie (and the world) is boring AF.
- There’s always at least one guy (traditionally, a straight white guy with some dubious claim to power, before everything went to shit) who WILL attempt to throw everyone else under the bus to save his own ass. That’s just horror and history 101. Your job, if you aren’t that guy, is to NOT TRUST THAT GUY and let him get eaten by the zombies he helped create.
Here’s what we know WILL help:
Cardio. Because, realistically, fatties will be the first to go. And I’m not just talking about physical fatness. If you were waiting on New Years, swimsuit season, 2020, or your next high school reunion to lose whatever is bogging you down in life and/or cramping your style…maybe stop waiting. Like, do it now. Right now. Today. Because here’s the thing about an oncoming apocalypse: it waits for no one. So lets write down our goals, schedule those appointments, double-knot our shoelaces, and get our asses in gear. Start doing every day what you want to be doing next week, next year, ten years from now. Start today, and do a little more each day than you think you can. This is not a drill. We’re training for the Shit Show Olympics.
Being All You Can Be. As an extension to above, the best hope you have in the world is to be your best self. Take a power nap. Get a snack. Stretch–physically, mentally, socially. But also be honest with yourself. Don’t allow yourself to believe that just because others aren’t doing as much, as well, as fast, etc. as you are, that means you can relax. With great power comes great responsibility. Sure, but power is obvious. IMO, with great potential comes an even greater responsibility. The thing is, only you know what you’re truly capable of. I believe in you, but I can’t tell you where your greatness truly lies. That’s your own damn job.
Working together, even when it seems like you could be better off going it alone. I mean, I get it. Making friends in an apocalypse is hard. Someone stole your favorite shoes and lit them on fire, for seemingly no reason. Your best friend called you racist. Suddenly, your wife gets more upset than she used to, when you treat her like a second-class citizen. Even though you personally may have done nothing to deserve this reaction. (Spoiler alert though: you probably did do something to deserve it, at some point.) Doesn’t matter. Getting butt hurt is pre-apocalypse. Come together over shared world goals and basic human survival, if you want to live.
Guns are a dumb weapon. They attract the zombies, and in the wrong hands, you could lose a finger. God forbid, more than a finger. Also, haven’t you always really wanted a sweet ass katana anyway? Yes, you have.
Zombies are not Nazis. Granted, due to some crazy off-the-book experiments, there may have actually been some zombie Nazis. And yes, that would make a totally kick ass movie. But let’s stop a) comparing modern times 100% to pre-Nazi Germany, or b) calling people we don’t agree with Nazis, or c) equating idiot orange Buff Puff headed bigots to historical landing strip mustached bigots. Because: a) it’s not the same–we have the internet now, which massively shakes up the global and geopolitical climate, not to mention speeding up the time table for potentially beneficial and/or catastrophic changes in world view, b) you really can’t fight hate with hate; also, a lot of people’s Bubbies are already FTFO right now–stop making it worse! Think of their blood pressure! c) Trump is a symptom of our time, our vices, our secret shame. We created him. If you try to destroy him, another Stay Puft hate mogul will just rise up in his place. Also, VIP: there is no equivalent to America (back then) that’s going to step in with a huge army of Elvis types to help us defeat him (even if Justin Trudeau looks a bit like Captain America, that’s just wishful thinking.) The only way to defeat Trump is to starve him out. The only way to do that is to stop feeding the zombies our time, talents, brains, etc. Take that brain and invent something instead, like a solution to save humanity.
The Cure Doesn’t Happen Overnight. Also, it won’t help us if we’re all dead, because we killed each other fighting over resources, petty slights, or the moral high ground. I firmly believe that every person–even people who were temporarily infected by zombie madness or human selfishness–can be saved, if we’re creative enough. And if we work on having more discussions (figuring out WHAT is right) vs. arguments (figuring out WHO is right).
Knowing When to Walk Away / Save Yourself. A cadaverous caveat to above: trying to save other people from being zombies should NOT come at the expense of your own safety. We’ve all seen the movies, the shows, and some of us have even read the books. There’s always that person (usually a woman-again, -f*** you and your cruelly accurate stereotypes again, Hollywood) who refuses to abandon a loved one that has gone full zombie, at her own peril. Inevitably, if she doesn’t create a safe distance between herself and the infected, that tender-hearted lady falls victim to its poison. Even though she had the best intentions, even though she was just trying to be a good wife/mother/sister/coworker/significant whatever. Kindness is important, yes, Jane Dogooder (not to be confused with Judy Facebook). But so is survival. You don’t have to hug a toxic person, or tell them it’s okay to be a zombie, even as they’re eating the faces of your friends.
Creating vs. Destroying. As I mentioned above, looting and/or razing shit to the ground for its own sake is not helpful. You may feel a momentary sense of godlike satisfaction after laying waste to a Bed, Bath & Beyond (because f*** that place)–but seriously, why? You’re just creating one less safe space for someone else to hide in when they need shelter from the zombies, or a quiet place to regroup between battles. Unless you need it for firewood or it’s actively blocking you from escaping the carnage, leave it standing for the future, why don’t you? What I’m saying is, DON’T knock other people’s coping mechanisms, or burn their comfortable little hovels to the ground, just because you think they need to feel just how bad things really are. DON’T just f*** the world up; f*** the world upward. (BTW: Judy, I’m sorry for using the f-word so much. You can block me if you want, because I’m not going to stop saying it for a while.) DO try to see things from another point of view, just to make sure you’re not guilty of the same mindset the zombies have. DO set a good example so they’ll see there’s a better way. DO try to shed light, instead of blood.
*Author’s note: I edited the word “fuck” out of this post, because for some reason Judy finds asterisks less offensive than the letters U-C-K. Fuck if I understand why.
And now, (at least for the moment) I feel fine.