Monday, June 8, 2009

My Contingency Plan

It takes a lifetime of planning to survive what life throws at us long enough to lose our wits, move to Florida, and drive with the left turn signal blinking for miles at a time. Life offers a seemingly indefatigable repertoire of obstacles for which we tend to preemptively plan our oblivious selves around. We budget ourselves through the month- so that we may see the next month- we check road maps before long trips- or entrust ourselves fully in Mapquest results- and we (might) put aside a little money here and there, just in case a flying hubcap severs one of our limbs and we have to live on Disability for ever and ever. Planning is just a part of human nature; the cowardly, unadventurous part which has allowed us to ascend from a hunter/gatherer civilization, to the American Idol generation.

The male lion represents planning.

But what about the things that we "never" see coming, despite all of the indisputable evidence revealed in cheap films? There are Life Situations for which very few people plan- and these are the people who are always dead before the opening credits roll.

Pictured: Not Planning.

I'm talking, of course, about the ridiculous, yet scientifically possible, Zombie Apocalypse. Or, to continue explaining things with something worth a thousand words, this:

The following contingency plan is of a "broad spectrum," as I prefer to leave a little bit open for improvisation. I react well with spontaneity, anyway. And, of course, it is assuming that the outbreak occurs while I am at home (the hero's journey always begins at home). To begin with, I will divulge the fact that I live in a second floor apartment- which is always perfectly safe, considering that the restless dead are not known for their jumping and climbing abilities. However, stairways are not beyond them, so my first act would be to barricade the door as best as I can with my furniture. A positive note here is that I do have a plethora of heavy and bulky furniture and my precariously stacked method of defense should prove to be a formidable one against the undead hordes.

Now, this is where the alpha male (i.e., me) breaks off from the more pragmatic (weak) of planners. Mr. Practical is going to make the decision to remain at home, snap on the local news, and help himself to the superfluous stores of canned food in the pantry.

Mr. Practical

Mr. Practical after 36 hours alone at home with zombies beating on the doors.

I'm no Mr. Practical. I don't want to stay at home, slowly starving and going crazy with cabin fever and talking to bloodied up volleyballs. I want to head 'for the hills' and prove myself worthy of continued existence. After all, a zombie apocalypse is still an apocalypse; and Armageddon is about dividing the worthy from the waste. I'm gonna go outside and do some work on the moaning scumbags, but I'm not stupid. First, I need to observe them. Are they The Night of the Living Dead's nearly useless, leg-dragging, and sadly pathetic recently-deceased, or are they the fast and furious, infected, superhumans from 28 Days Later? Do I need a crowbar to fend them off- or an armored helicopter?

In order to answer these questions and more, I will need to step out onto my balcony to watch them. Remember that I am on the second floor- out of harm's way- but I will be seen and heard and smelled by the ravenous roamers. I'll have to learn fast, before they find a way inside. Not trying to keep my presence a secret, I throw all of my canned goods down at the enemy so that I can assess their reactions and measure up what I'm going to be meeting face to face within the hour. Mr. Practical would have carefully rationed those canned goods so that he could find sustenance for months to come, but I have found a better purpose for them. Mr. Practical never wins in the end.

Now that I know what kind of creatures I'm facing, I need to suit up and arm myself for a short, but important trip downtown. First things first, I change my clothes into my Neoprene diving suit, so that I will trap in body heat- and scent- while I'm out and about among them. The outside of this suit, I will have to slick down with Vaseline, lotion, laundry detergent, anything which will make it harder for them to get a grip on me, in the event of a mob situation. They can't bite what they can't grab.

Defense carefully seen to, I need to move to offensive measures. The first being my katana. I really love my katana and I would hate to think that I could possibly damage it while fighting off the zombies, but let's face it: Katanas were made to cut people in half.

This is what a Katana is made to do.

Now, I'm pretty well-armed with just my katana, but there is always a chance for shit to happen. Just in case of fecal occurrences, I will have to bring along my daisho wakizashi (think of a katana that is shorter) and a couple of daggers for in close. Since I can't expect sharp objects to do all of my work for me, I'll also bring along a hammer. But honestly, I just want to know what a full-on hammer strike sounds like.

Because I have thrown all of my canned goods at the hordes below, I will pack up my perishables in a bag to get me through the first couple of days. And after no more than ten minutes, I'm ready to go. I leave through my bedroom window, opposite the balcony below which they are gathered, and I take "the back yard route" toward the center of town. For those of you who don't know, the center of Sycamore is home to this:

Staircase to the Sycamore Military Armory.

And in case you didn't know, the Sycamore Armory has lots of these:

Interesting Factoid: You don't need a key to start a tank.

Because of the on-site fueling station and the chain-link fence keeping the zombies at a safe distance, I have all the time I need to ensure I have lots of gas- and even backups in reserve containers. I don't think I need to tell you my next move. Okay, I will. I'm gonna run those fuckers down for hours- and probably blow up a hell of a lot of buildings along the way. When I've had enough fun, I might have a spot of lunch within my tempered steel shell, then head out to the countryside, where there will be much less chance of running into teeming masses of the sleepless dead. I will probably find a nice, humble country house to fortify and live out the worst of the outbreak until it has been beaten back by the real military.

A nice, humble country house.

But I will probably be lonely in the months to come, while I farm the land for resources to sustain my life. I suppose that, every now and then, I will venture out in my tank to more populated areas, so that I may rescue a few healthy companions to keep me company.

A few healthy companions.

I don't know about you, but I can't wait for the zombies to come.

-Grady Richards.