Okay, over the past week or so, my worst fears have started to be confirmed. It seems the world is starting to go to pot, and a possible zombie apocalypse could be upon us. Why do I think so, you ask? Well, just ask the Center for Disease Control.
Since last year, the CDC has been issuing fake tongue-in-cheek alerts on how to be prepared for a zombie outbreak, in order to generate more attention for the department and to get people, the younger generations in particular, thinking about what they would do in a natural or man-made disaster.
But if you haven’t heard about the f**ked-up stuff that has been occurring, well we can quickly go through them:
1. On May 26th, Miami resident Rudy Eugene stripped off his clothes in the middle of the day, wandered the side-streets, and then attacked a homeless man, ripping and eating off the poor man’s face before police arrived and shot the crazed attacker to death. The homeless man will survive, though his face is completely gone. Police say Eugene was incoherent and did not stop after being shot like a normal human being would. This was played off as drug-related, but you decide.
2. Only the next day, a New Jersey man repeatedly stabbed himself over 50 times, before cutting out his own intestines and throwing them at police. They tried to pepper-spray him, but he was not easily subdued.
3. In Texas, a mother is accused of killing her newborn, then eating part of his brain and biting off three of his toes.
4. In Maryland, a Morgan State University student killed his roommate before eating part of his brain and heart, then dismembered the body. The roommate had been missing for at least a week before police were informed of this grisly crime.
5. In Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, a 71-year-old man killed his wife and started eating her arm before he was discovered by the couple’s son, who came home to the carnage. The father was found sitting in a daze, claiming the woman he killed and started to eat “was not (the boy’s) mother.”
6. In Canada, authorities are hunting a gay porn star for allegedly killing his lover with an ice pick, then raping, dismembering and eating part of the corpse, all of which he recorded and posted on the internet. There’s a lot more to this last story (yes, it gets worse), but it is not for this post.
So with rumors abounding on the internet, the CDC found itself forced to comment in an email to the Huffington Post. “(The) CDC does not know of a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead,” agency spokesmen David Daigle told HuffPo, “or one that would present zombie-like symptoms.”
This could probably be counted as this Podwit’s worst nightmare. Ever since a very young age, I was aware of zombies and the walking dead (thanks Michael Jackson & John Landis!) and ironically have always lived in a house that gave me a view of a graveyard from my bedroom window. Then, one October night when I was probably 11 or 12, the original Night of the Living Dead was on the Late Late Show, and it changed my life for the worse. For the next two months, probably until almost Christmas of that year, I was convinced every night that the dead were going to rise and come to get me. Finally one night, I had the wherewithal to stand up to my fears and said, “Hell, if you’re going to come, come tonight!” Luckily they didn’t.
That abated my fears of an imminent attack, but it was still in the back of my brain. Some people have nightmares that they fear may come true: vampires, werewolves, or more logical ones in my mind, like ghosts, hauntings and possessions. Who knows what your deepest fear is—for some, like our Yorkshire Girl, it’s spiders. So William Shatner’s 1977 vehicle Kingdom of the Spiders is her worst fear. Mine is zombies.
Zombies have been with us since the crucifixion, cause let’s face it—Jesus came back as a zombie. The living dead have been in the modern culture since Mary Shelley penned her only novel in 1818, the classic Frankenstein. They were the topic in Hollywood since the early days with films like White Zombie, I Walked with a Zombie and Carnival of Souls, but it did not hit the main stream of America until George Romero’s break-out 1968 hit Night of the Living Dead. They’ve been wandering the horror genre in celluloid and print form ever since.
Hell, the crazy thing is that, under certain circumstances, zombies are possible in civilization. Down in Haiti, they’ve been dealing with zombis for centuries, which for them is a medically-induced kind of coma where signs of death, like the apparent stopping of the heart and respiratory functions, are visible and people are then buried, only to be dug up and given another drug which counteracts that but turns you into a mindless shell for the rest of your life, at which point you are then enslaved to work on some evil man’s plantation.
In nature, this phenomenon is visible too. One example: in the jungles of Costa Rica, a fungus from the genus Ophiocordyceps invades the mind of a poor little ant, drives it to climb to a high spot in the forest. You see, the fungus is sensitive to UV light and wants to get away from the rain forest floor where puddling rainwater could damage the fungus, so it finds the right position under a leaf so to limit sun exposure. Moments before the ant dies, the “zombie”-like soul is made to grasp a perch as the fungus within has reached maturity, erupts from the back of the head, to rain down spores on passersby, continuing the cycle.
This happens in Thailand with everything from butterflies to cockroaches so it can safely be said that zombies walk among us.
Look across America: you can purchase things called “bug-out bags“, which contain items ranging from food and water to tools to survive, just in case the apocalypse erupts. In Nebraska, there is a Ace Hardware store that has a “Zombie Preparedness Center” center, which has things like duct tape, bolt and fasteners, carpet cleaners, wagons, and air fresheners for a potential zombie fallout. Their motto is “Don’t be scared, be prepared.”
One of the most popular shows on television is AMC’s The Walking Dead, which is a post-apocalyptic zombie soap opera. You’ve got shows like Doomsday Preppers (which I love), that has affluent Americans getting ready for global catastrophe. I’m sure it doesn’t help that after chaotic events like 9/11 that led to fears of bio-terrorism, mixed with the images all over the world of riots like in Greece and Italy, bringing the world’s problems and crises right into the home to see every night. Even the University of Baltimore is getting into the act, offering a course this year where students will study the age of the zombie in culture, and watch 16 films and read zombie comicbooks. Huh.
So what does all this mean? The Lord only knows… I just know I’m getting ready and it won’t hurt you to get prepared either. It tells you something when complete strangers meet from two different countries and they both have one glaring thing in common: they both have zombie contingency plans (as happened to me when I met my fiance’s best friend’s husband a couple of years ago).
All i know is I hope it isn’t what it says in the bible, that when Hell is full, the dead will walk the earth. Until then, if people like THIS assh*le do pranks like this, in the words of Jim Davis’ Garfield, I believe “they should be drug out into the street and shot”.