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Why I Don’t Fear the Zombie Apocalypse and Neither Should You

June 14, 2013

The question recently came about as to whether or not zombies could read. The opinion was that zombies are illiterate, notoriously so, but I wonder. Why should a zombie, simply a reanimated corpse, lose the ability to read after reanimation? You probably say because they were dead and when they died they lost their humanity and everything that may have once connected them to the living. But that’s not necessarily true if we use George Romero, the father of modern zombies, as a guide.

In Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, the survivors of the zombie apocalypse made their way to a shopping mall. Inside the mall the survivors discover dozens, if not hundreds, of zombies stumbling around and it was thought the zombies had been drawn to a place that was familiar and comfortable to them when they were alive. Knowledge or instinct? A conscious decision by the zombies or nothing more than rote behavior and not indicative of any human act that would require the use of brainpower like reading? I might agree with that, the instinct part, but then I’d offer Romero’s Land of the Dead where there was no question that the zombies could think, reason and even display compassion.

Zombie Brains

Either way, whatever the movies tell us, we know that zombies retain their vision after reanimating so I’m thinking if they could read in their previous lives then it’s a pretty good possibility they can read as zombies. A good enough possibility that I’m willing to bet on it. And if I’m right then we don’t need to fear the zombies and we don’t need a stockpile of weapons and ammunition, we only need signs.

Nicely typed and well designed signs.

With proper letter spacing.

Warning signs for the zombies.

Imagine it with me. A swarm of zombies is slowly making its way toward your house and you only have one gun and six bullets and then you kiss your life goodbye and join the ranks of the living dead, but just as you’re saying your final prayers to the Great Maker, the zombies slow down and then suddenly – or as suddenly as zombies can do anything – they change direction and stagger off out of sight.

The herd is gone, you take a deep breath and gather your wits and you walk outside to see why they slowed down and went in another direction and you see a large sign that reads: “Zombies: This Way!”. You walk up the block and see the zombie army has made another turn so you follow and find another sign. “Free Brains Over Here”. You can’t believe what you’re seeing.

You look around and you see your neighbors, or what’s left of your neighbors, come out of their houses and you begin talking about these new signs. You hear a loud pop and feel something warm running down the back of your neck and turn around in time to see Judy Thompson crumble to the ground with three quarters of her head missing. Lucas Burling is holstering his Glock G17 and commenting to Mrs. Daly about young Judy not learning to read well and never being able to follow directions. You turn back to the conversation and a few of you, the daring few, follow the herd to see more signs that have led the zombies into an enormous barbed wire enclosed detainment camp where they’re all stumbling around happily, if not a little upset at the lack of promised brains upon arrival.

You can decide what happens to the zombies once they’re in the detainment camp. They could simply be disposed of and burned, or they could be experimented on and accidentally infect a scientist which creates a new plague of zombies who can’t read, or they could be retrained to learn simple tasks that we’re too lazy to do, like picking up litter and cleaning out the back seats of our cars, or they could be dressed in nice clothes, taught to speak in simple sentences and campaign for political office. Me, I don’t care what happens to them as long as they’re given plenty to read.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2013 4:47 pm

    But if zombies can read, would they also be able to write and therefore be able to make their own signs directing fellow zombies to human lunchables?


    • Michael Fishman permalink
      June 17, 2013 11:11 am

      That’s a great point and certainly puts a damper on my victory over the zombie hordes 🙂 I’ll have to think about this one. Maybe fine motor skills is something they lose in the reanimation process?


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