Are you prepared?
No, seriously. I am being completely serious about the zombie apocalypse. Yes, absolutely. No tongues in cheeks, over here.
Actually, while my tongue is firmly in my cheek, it’s true that I have been watching a lot of Doomsday Preppers recently, which could easily have been called the Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Show, and no one would have argued. There is a lot to be said for preparedness, though – not that I’m stocking up on canned food and machetes, or anything, but it is a good idea to have an emergency plan outside of the fun “First Five People on Your Friends List are Your Survival Team” meme.
Now, my specialty is vampires, but it seems to me that zombies pose no lesser threat, since they tend to come in hordes. Obviously, your plan of action is going to depend on the kind of zombies you’re dealing with, but there are a few things that occurred to me as potentially useful, that no one ever seems to mention.
1. Tree houses
Seriously, there are slow zombies, and there are fast zombies, but I have never seen a flying zombie. Get the high ground, and you stand a fighting chance. Of course, lugging all of your canned food and ammo up into a tree poses a bit of a logistical problem, which is why you need to start early. Get into your tree, cut a trap door, and scrape those suckers off as they try to climb up. Deal with the corpses immediately, though, because you don’t want them building a zombie staircase.
Mountaintops are another alternative and provide the added benefit of freezing cold temperatures. Not only will your food not spoil, but you’ll be able to go hack up frozen zombies from time to time.
I don’t know whether zombies can smell blood or not, but it’s never a good idea to sit and bleed in a survival situation. That should go without saying. Interestingly enough, cayenne pepper is an excellent styptic, and it’s also darn good for covering the taste of questionable meat – because we’re totally not fooling ourselves about the availability of good steak, in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse.
So pull a Sam Gamgee and tote your spices. They are useful.
Pretty much just for posterity. If there are survivors, you can bet their descendants will be interested in an eyewitness account of the cataclysm. I know you’ll have more important things to be doing, but trust me: boredom kills. Plus, if you do get out of this alive, and the world’s infrastructure isn’t too badly damaged, you’ve pretty much got a guaranteed book deal. This will also require pens.
Plus, one should always have something sensational to read on the train.
4. Crock Sticks
This is what you use to sharpen your machete. Everyone is always carrying blades around, but blades get dull, and a dull machete is slightly less useful than a heavy tree branch. Trust me, I’ve done this. The weeds laughed at me.
If you don’t like crock sticks, you can try that whole sharpening-blades-with-a-rock thing they do in movies, but I’ve never been able to get that to work. (If it does work, and there are tutorials, SHOW ME, because it’s so darn awesome.)
You will be eating things you would ordinarily never have considered eating. You will be eating things that, truly, are not food. Fuzzy bunnies, at first, and then grubs, and then tree bark and pond scum. When pursued by zombies, it is not advisable to stay in one place long enough to deal with a bout of dysentery.
Everyone knows you should be good with a shotgun and be in good physical shape and know which mushrooms will kill you, but it’s amazing how many people are unable to pee in a bush. As you flee through the wilderness, pursued by hordes of the undead, I can guarantee there will not be a rest station handy. No matter how many of those anti-diarrheals you take, you will eventually have to go. There will not be porcelain. There will not be paper. You do your thing, leave it there, and keep moving. This is especially important for women, who don’t have it quite so easy in the peeing department and may require some practice.
It’s also good to know how to whistle REALLY loudly. I don’t know how smart these zombies will be, but they might not recognize a whistle as a sound attached to brains, so you can signal to your fellow survivors without bringing the horde down upon yourselves.
Storytelling. Or harmonica-playing. Or something else that can entertain you and your survival team during the long, dark hours of the night and doesn’t require hauling anything large. I mean, that journal will only last so long, though it’ll last longer than reading a book, and your friends will be more likely to stick with you if you’re useful and entertaining. Like me!