Television and movies have created the ideal fantasy for people who wildly overestimate how tough they are: a world riddled with shambling, decaying people bumbling around biting anything that doesn’t move faster than a light stroll. In this apocalyptic setting live relentlessly competent paragons of badassery shooting and sword-ing their way through legions of the undead. Of course everyone loves to imagine they’d be one of those heroic figures smashing through the the rotten skulls of thousands of guilt-free outlets for aggression. Maybe I’m a little more realistic (or more of a downer) than most people, and I’m definitely way less cool (I own zero leather jackets ) than any survivor of a zombie apocalypse so I have a good idea of what my role in the world post-zombies would be like. If I did survive, I think I’d be:
I imagine the zombie apocalypse would have a lot of practical uses for a quivering mass of fear and suddenly useless skills: luring the shuffling hordes away from the important people or toward traps or getting the attention of rival survivors so my group can murder them and (maybe) rescue me. I have a degree in English, am amazing at certain video games, and can make a mean cup of tea, and if you’ve ever watched anything with zombies ever, then you know none of those skills would help anyone carve a swath through thousands of mindless reanimated corpses. I can’t even run that fast which is actually perfect for bait because you don’t want your zombie horde to lose sight of their totally out of shape target.
The zombie apocalypse is probably a dreary place what with all the dead friends and family shambling around reminding the survivors of all the times they didn’t return a call, or fought about something trivial, or really phoned it in while singing happy birthday. That’s where I’d come in. The second the necrotic mug of a zombie popped into view, I’d be ready with a “reminds me of my ex wife!” to bolster the spirits of the stalwart, morally ambiguous ruffians around me. It doesn’t matter that the zombie doesn’t actually remind me of anyone other than the constant parade of tragedy that my life has become because I would live to make my companions smile–even if I’ve seen them murder someone for half a can of beans and a sock with only 2 holes in it.
I can’t fight, or run very fast, or hunt, or track, or make difficult decisions about morality, but I can carry the hell out of a backpack. My team needs some water, you bet I got a jug of that sweet, slightly sewage-tainted nectar. Does my buddy Slaughtertooth Chad need a crowbar to teach a lesson to some wanderer who dared be caught in their own campsite, then boy howdy I got what he needs in one of my bags I’m lucky enough to carry on my S-shaped spine. I’d really be an asset to the team, totally irreplaceable, definitely not someone they’d trade to cannibals in exchange for gas or clean underwear.
Thinking about the end of the world really puts into perspective how useful you are in a really practical sense. I am now certain that most of my skills would either be laughed at, get me killed, or just make me a part of the mindless horde all the cool people get to use to vent the aggression that built up in their old, domestic lives.