The deeper I get into both the television show and the graphic novel series, the more I think about just how ill prepared I would be if some kind of worldwide catastrophe were to occur. Of course, we all know rotting, flesh-eating zombies belong strictly to works of fiction, but I thought it would be a fun change of pace to imagine that weren’t the case. Suspend reality with me for a few minutes and take this personal inventory quiz:
Are you an efficient camper?
If not, chances are you wouldn’t last long. Throughout the seasons, the protagonists of The Walking Dead found themselves on the move and at the mercy of the elements. Matches and lighters only last so long, shelter doesn’t build itself, and good, dry firewood isn’t always easy to find. Moreover, if you require a soft bed and a hot shower in order to keep your sanity, you might succumb to a psychological collapse before the zombies have a chance to tear you apart.
Do you possess and know how to use a firearm, crossbow, or katana?
This one seems like a no-brainer, but how much of the population actually has weapons and enough ammunition to hold off hoards of hungry zombies? Our protagonists have been fortunate enough to come across enough caches to allow them the luxury even of target practice—and, at just about any given time, they’ve had at least a couple of good enough marksmen to teach even the worst of shots how to aim and keep a steady hand under pressure. How far do you think any local gun retailer’s store of weapons and ammo would last in a real-world zombie apocalypse? How many good marksmen do you know?
Do you live on or near a securely enclosed farm?
There are only so many canned goods, and even if you came across a warehouse filled with them, most canned goods only have a shelf life of two or three years. Without the vitamin C you normally get from citrus fruits or tomatoes, you’re looking at a painful death resulting from scurvy. Without the protein from meat or specific combinations of beans and grains, you’ll lack the building blocks necessary to keep your body functioning. We’ve watched our protagonists become so desperately hungry, they’ve considered eating dog food and rodents. What assets and/or farming skills do you personally possess? Without sustainable resources, you might as well give yourself up to the zombies.
Do you have any health issues?
Diabetes. High blood pressure. Autoimmune disease. This list goes on. If you have any chronic health issues that require an ongoing supply of medication, you’re not going to last very long in an apocalypse. Like canned goods, even if you found a miraculously plentiful stash, medications only have so long of a shelf life, and there’s no working industry to replenish those meds once they’re gone. Even more, unless you’re fortunate enough to team up with someone with a medical background, you’re out of luck if you happen to fall victim to any kind of serious injury (like Carl and a few others) or illness (like Andrea).
Play along with me. What other factors would make the difference between life and death in a real zombie apocalypse? How long do you think you would survive?
Leigh M. Lane is a speculative fiction author whose works span from sci-fi to horror. Her most recent full-length works are The Hidden Valley Horror, Finding Poe, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods. For more about her work, go to her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.