Zombies and Their Functions; Finally, an Exploration.

I consider zombies quite often. Even more so now that I’ve started watching a certain zombie-based drama whose title I won’t mention due to my ignorance of the intricacies of copyright law. Anyway, I realize that zombies are somewhat overdone. The idea of reanimated carrion feeding on the living has been the basis for horror, drama, comedy…even romance. They’ve been anthropomorphized. Their plight has been explored in various shows, books and movies. Find the human behind the monster. There are zombie stories to play to any sort of mood or rationale a human might have. The idea of shooting humans with no repercussions is tantalizing to some, I’m sure. As is the idea that society crumbles due to mankind’s stupidity. As overdone as zombies are, I’d like to sort a few things out in my own head regarding the “living dead”. Seeing as how you can just stop reading if you’d like, I’ll proceed without begging your leave.

Fant’sying myself a storyteller, I’m intrigued by what I see as the “evolution” of the zombie story. When I was younger my father regaled me with a tale of witch doctors in some far off place. I can’t remember where he said it was anymore. Somewhere that voodoo is practiced regularly, I remember he said that much at least. His statement was that the voodoo priest would pronounce a curse on someone. Then he’d bide his time. When the moment was right he’d place a bit of some special powder somewhere in the Cursed’s home and again, bide his time. Eventually the victim would touch the powder, which would be transmitted to the blood by way of the skin, and appear to die. The person would be buried for a time and then, when the priest finished a third bout of biding his time, he’d order an exhumation. The victim would, according to dad, be alive but basically brain dead, capable of carrying out simple tasks but not much else. I imagine that at some point someone ordered one of these “zombies” to gnaw on someone and tear out his guts and the story made it around the world and now people fantasize about such an horrid occurrence. I suppose many surmise the premise is a way to make a lot of money. This seems to be true. No matter how many iterations emerge, the same basic tale is told to audiences who could themselves be deemed zombies. Only these moan the word “chaaaaoooosss” instead of “braaaaiiinnnsss”.

Don’t misunderstand. I do not deride or ridicule these people without deriding and ridiculing myself. I spent a year in a combat zone and it was the closest I’ve come to a “zombie apocalypse” in my life. Surprisingly, despite the ever-present threat of death that came from all directions in all types of ways, I wasn’t ever stressed. Scared, perhaps, on occasion, and I suppose that’s a type of stress, but the solution was always simple. If things are exploding, hide. If someone shoots at us, shoot back. Follow the truck in front of you and trust the man behind you. There was never a thought about paying the electric bill or where the grocery money would come from. I didn’t have to mow the lawn. I just had to survive. And for some reason this was less stressful to me than are the daily social interactions required in the peaceful world. This, I think, is why the zombie apocalypse appeals to me so much. The stress of being chased by monsters is less to me than the stress of paying the bills or having the car fixed or finding a suitable civilian barber that understands that a military style “high and tight” haircut doesn’t include a bit of spikeable fluff just above the forehead. I yearn for zombies because their arrival signals the return of the peace of just surviving. Plus all that looting…I’d find a fortress and stock it with the most amazing things I could find, all free for the taking. So. I’m ready. Bring on the zombies.

And now we come to the problems of zombies. Just a couple of things I’ve noticed and so far I’ve never come across an explanation in book, TV or movie form. Neither have I ever discussed this with anyone. We all know zombies eat. They have to for some reason. They must fuel their rotting stomachs which somehow have the capability to process whatever they ingest and burn the calories contained within. I can accept this. If a virus can reanimate dead brains I suppose it can cause stomachs to contract. But, the human body, so I hear, is mostly water. This water must be replenished regularly to keep the blood flowing and the body moving. I’ve never seen a zombie drink. I’ve seen zombies walk through water. Maybe those drank a bit. They probably did. I’ll give them that. Maybe nobody cares enough to address the issue. And they really don’t have to. Zombies drinking isn’t dramatic enough to be any sort of movie scene. I’ll leave that one alone. What I can’t ignore, however, is the defecation problem. Unless the virus is so efficient that it uses every bit of detritus zombies consume, we must conclude that defecation is a fact of life (or death?) even for the recently reanimated. Where do they do this? Why have I never seen a zombie story character complaining because he just stepped in undead doo doo? Why have I never seen a zombie stop mid shuffle, drop his drawers and drop a deuce? Logically, they probably don’t go to that much trouble. They’re already rotting and filthy. They probably have every bloodborne disease known to man due to their lack of discrimination in dining. They haven’t, to my knowledge, formed an undead FDA. The living wouldn’t submit to any sort of fitness for zombie consumption testing and stamping even if they did. So most likely, if they defecate (which I maintain they must), they do it like cattle. They go when they have to go. This doesn’t provide a problem with the urination question. Their clothes are as nasty as their rotting flesh. Any stain could be a urine stain. The defecation, however, presents a more pressing dilemma. If they don’t drop their pants to do it, if they have to do it as often as a living person (I admit that I don’t have any theory about how often they poop, but let’s just say they have to “go” at least once a day), then within a week there should be a sizeable clumpy stain on the seat and legs of at least some of their pants. Granted it would be ever changing. Clumps would dry in stages and fall off. Some would be jolted loose by their shambling walk. But these facts just contribute to the problem. Where there are zombies, there should be piles of poop. Some day someone should address this idea in much more detail than I really care to.

And so, while this is fresh in your mind, I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…consider whether reading this was really worth the time it took you.

A don’t…dwell on the time you’ve wasted. You’ll never get it back. No sense wasting more.

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Author: macbick

I am a writer who takes joy in presenting ideas that I find funny or strange. In addition to blogging I write children's books that, I hope, will bring families together for a few minutes while inspiring laughter, questions, conversations and introducing a few new words. Visit my Facebook page @williamennisauthor for more on my philosophy and to preview my book. Only one is out so far. Many more to come soon.

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