Friday, February 13, 2015

Life with Fred & Lucy, Episode 38: Surviving Zombies

Zombies can be downright scary, but most people love watching movies and television shows that feature those pesky little shuffling bags of rot. Did you ever wonder why they are so popular? I’ve heard the theory that zombies seem to be most popular when the economy is bad and vampires are the big hit when the economy is good. I don’t know how accurate this theory is, but it does make sense in a way. We love to be frightened and nothing can get that adrenalin moving like a hungry zombie coming over your way for a snack and, you’re the snack.


Vampires are usually portrayed as sexy and financially well to do, for example, True Blood, Twilight and, even An Interview with a Vampire. So sexy and rich might represent good times. On the other side of the coin, zombies are not sexy, there is no prospect of them earning money and, the people running for their lives definitely have no time to make a buck. Zombies represent a civilization that has collapsed. There is nothing but hopelessness as seen in the series, “The Walking Dead” and World War Z. But besides giving people nightmares, how are zombies and the fear of a zombie apocalypse a positive thing?


To understand why my father and mother and other people living from their generation were so end of days ready, we need to see what life was like when they were born. Fred was born in 1014 and Lucy in 1923. My father was three years old when World War 1 broke out. He and my mother were youngsters when the Great Depression hit.


They would tell us stories of how families had to make the best of a horrid situation just to keep their families fed. If nothing else, the Great Depression left the people who lived through it with great survival skills. When you have nothing or you’ve lost everything, then you learn the real meaning of survival. You also get the full meaning of that old saying, “Only the strong survive.” Would we be able to do as well today?

Maybe, the people who are my age, yes I’m talking about us baby boomers, could survive a zombie apocalypse. After all, we had the better of two worlds. We picked up the survival tips from our parents and we benefitted from all the cool inventions that arrived on the scene due to the Space Program.

Fred always preached that people should take responsibility for their own survival. He was witness to a nonfunctioning Government with the crash of 29. Life was hard, there were no jobs and people were starving. That’s something that stays with you. Thankfully, Roosevelt came into office and to the rescue.

Fred taught all four of his kids to be “street smart”, which leads me to Fred and Lucy’s Helpful Survival Techniques. My parents wanted their offspring ready for any emergency whether a blown out apocalypse with zombies, or an invasion  of the United States by the Communist Army. Fred was a survivor and he was practicing bugging in and out before there was even a Zombie Squad

I grew up learning to always be prepared for a disaster, but sometimes, you find yourself getting lazy and you say “What could happen” or “I’m sure the government can handle any problem that comes down the road.” Then Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast and we saw for ourselves that we could not count on government to rescue us. Talk about an epiphany!  

How have zombies prepared us to survive? Shows like “The Walking Dead” and World War Z got us to think outside the box. The first thing that goes in any major crisis is communication. Do you have a CB radio in case the internet, television and radio are gone? Do you have enough fresh drinking water? What happens if there isn’t fresh water? Do you know how to make the water safe to drink? You can only last three days without water.

Do you have enough canned food in your pantry to last for a week, two weeks? How would you heat the food? What about heat? Do you own a gas powered generator? Do you know how to keep warm if you had no heat for a week or more? Do you have an extra supply of necessary medicines? You will still need that blood pressure pill even during an apocalypse. What if you’re injured? Do you have a medical kit? Do you have weapons? I mean legal, licensed weapons to protect you from marauders?


My father taught us as children how to survive. He made the four of his children street smart and, we in turn, taught our children and grandchildren the same lesson. I think my father could have served as an advisor for “The Walking Dead” in fact, he thought of things the producers of the show had not.


I think all these zombie shows have played an important part in preparing people for any kind of emergency. There are now television shows that teach viewers how to be bonafide preppers aka survivors. Would we have bothered to be so ready if it weren’t for the zombies? I doubt it. So next time you see a television show or movie featuring zombies be sure to thank those pesky little bags or rot. They just may have saved your life.