I had a dream last night that I was in a cemetery with my family – at night. It sounds like the beginning of a good nightmare – or at least a horror movie – and normally, being in a cemetery at night might be a bad thing. However, in this case, it was a good thing, because the cemetery was old, surrounded by a massive iron fence and it had a large main gate that was chained shut – and we were safe inside while hoards of zombies shook the gate and reached their decaying hands through the fence in a futile attempt to reach us.It seems like everywhere you turn these days there are movies or books about zombies. Television shows like Walking Dead and phone apps like “Zombie Run” are popular. Even the CDC has gotten into the act with a blog and graphic novella about how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. Real life “zombie ants” made the news after their discovery in tropical jungles – leading to speculation that humans might be vulnerable to infection as well. But to me, all of this is old hat – because I’ve had a long relationship with Zombies – well before they were “mainstream.”
Since my kids were small, we’ve joked about the “zombie apocalypse” and have discussed the best ways to protect our house, get around town, and survive the zombies once the shit hits the fan. We enjoy going to movies like “Zombieland” and “Warm Bodies” – considering them not only entertaining, but educational (quite frankly, the rules in “Zombieland” apply in all sorts of situations – not just a zombie apocalypse!) As a child of Mormons, I grew up with the concept that having a year’s supply of food and being prepared for emergencies were the norm – and even though I am not active in the Mormon faith, that particular believe rubbed off on me. I’m always more comfortable when the pantries and freezer are full.
When the economy took its tumble and the company Doc worked for went bankrupt, leaving us minus one very nice paycheck, I took stock of my emergency preparedness and found it lacking. If something were to happen to MY paycheck, how long would the food in the pantry actually last? We cut back on expenses and ramped up the coupon clipping, and we made it through the year my husband was unemployed – but once we had that second paycheck coming in again, I decided I needed to get my food storage in order. I did some research and decided to buy some #10 cans of some basic staples – you know, things like brownie mix, cake mix, and blueberry muffin mix – because while zombies might be into brains, I like my desserts! I also stocked up on cans of flour, sugar, rice, and assorted freeze-dried meats, veggies, and fruits – not a year’s supply, but enough to take up all of the room under the queen size bed in the guest bedroom, along with a couple of shelves in the closet.
My husband was a bit concerned by the strangeness my new endeavor, as well as the expense. I explained to him that not only was food storage a sound plan in case of a zombie apocalypse, but that these particular #10 cans had a shelf life of nearly 25 years! If we dodged the zombie bullet, we could always use the food storage when we were old, infirm, and poor – it was kind of like a supplemental retirement plan! He gave me “the look” – the one that indicates he thinks I’m acting a bit crazy, but didn’t say anything further…at the time.
A few months later, Doc and I were at the therapist’s office for a bit of marriage counseling – something we find is helpful from time to time. We were discussing my rather obsessive need to be prepared for and in control of any situation, whether in the present or some possible future event. Things got a bit heated and, in an effort to prove his point to the counselor, Doc blurted out, “She believes that there is going to be a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, for God’s sake!” There was a moment of total silence while the statement penetrated – and then I started to laugh, but at the same time, I was outraged. How could he think that I REALLY believed in ZOMBIES? How well did he even know me? Did he honestly think I was crazy? I explained to him (and the therapist) that I did NOT actually believe in Zombies – and that the “zombie apocalypse” was actually a metaphor for any disaster or hardship that might happen in the future.
I’m still not sure Doc buys my explanation, but he doesn’t roll his eyes when the kids and I joke about the zombie apocalypse. And who knows? We might be convincing him of the sensibility of our plans. Just last month he bought a gun and got his concealed carry permit – because you can never be too prepared for zombies.