I joyfully awoke this morning to the dulcet tones of a zombie chomping on human flesh.
Okay, it was just AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead, the unimaginatively titled spinoff of that network’s immensely popular The Walking Dead TV series. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry, because this post contains nothing in the way of a spoiler.
I know lots of people who refuse to have anything to do with the entire Walking Dead franchise. It’s a bit hard for me to understand, but I’ve come to grudgingly accept that some people just don’t want to see undead corpses shambling down a country road, or watch in horror as one of them has its head riven by a samurai sword.
What they might not understand is that when it comes to The Walking Dead, the zombies are the least important part of the show. The bigger picture is that the zombies are a stand-in for just about any cataclysm you could name, and for which you are likely unprepared.
History is littered with examples. The Holocaust was a Zombie Apocalypse. Pearl Harbor was a Zombie Apocalypse. Crashing two jetliners into the World Trade Center was a Zombie Apocalypse.
And what about the future? Could Global Warming become a Zombie Apocalypse? How about Donald Trump or Ted Cruz as president of the United States? See, we can’t know yet, but like the cast from Fear the Walking Dead, a few people are starting to take notice and say, “What the fuck?”
Although The Walking Dead has already been around for several seasons, last night’s debut of its younger sibling pressed home the question of how people cope with new situations that are utterly inexplicable, and require a mental shift from civilized to barbarian in the blink of an eye.
One real-life example occurred just last weekend when three Americans faced a Zombie Apocalypse and acted selflessly by attacking a gunman and thwarting a mass killing aboard a French passenger train. Could you do the same, or would you sit there, waiting to be slaughtered? See, that’s the thing, you can’t know for sure until it’s already too late.
Walking Dead’s undying lesson is to think about the unthinkable, and believe me, I have. I’d probably be zombie food before I’d ever run down a rampaging neighbor with my F-150 pickup truck, then calmly step out and cleave his undead head with a hatchet.
But am I ready to move across the Canada line if Donald Trump or Ted Cruz become president? You bet!