Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Zombies, End of the World, New Year

First there was the threat of Y2K, where the world as we knew it was going to end because all computers, which controlled the planet, weren’t going to rollover from ’99 to ’00. Then there was Dec. 21, 2012, the last day of the Mayan calendar and thus, doomsday. And finally, there was the Zombie Apocalypse on Dec. 22, 2012, the doomsayers’ way of killing us off if we survived the end.

Well, it’s 2013. We made it.

It all came upon us so quickly. When the end is that near, life seems so short. I had put the End of the World in my calendar. I didn’t want to miss it. I wasn’t sure, though, if I should categorize it as “personal,” “home” or “work” since the end of the world really applies to all categories.

I set it as an “all-day” event. My 9-year-old son asked me to skip work that day so he could be with his parents for the End of the World. As luck would have it, I had no more sick leave or vacation days.

On the day, I hoped the End of the World would at least hit before I had to go to work so I wouldn’t have to work another shift. A friend told me the world would most likely end right as I clocked out. That made sense.

My son kept his mom and me close that Friday morning of Dec. 21. It was a somber time.

But the end of the world came and went. Life continued.

Next up -- the Zombie Apocalypse, and this, unlike the End of the World, wasn’t going to be as easy to dodge. That Saturday morning, my son informed me that no one was out front. Apocalypse!

“No one is ever out front,” I reminded him. “They’re in front of a computer or TV screen.”

Then I announced that the kid and I had Christmas shopping to finish. My son was against going out among the zombies but assured me, with a st- st- stutter, that he wasn’t af-f-f-fraid. He said it was better if we stayed in. He repeated that he wasn’t sc-c-cared. It was just too cold outside, he said.

And then he put on his Davy Crockett hat.

“Alright, Daddy,” he gave in, “let’s go do some zombie battle.”

Zombies were everywhere.

I was wrong: Those people were just mindlessly glued to their iPhones like me.

But as the day wore on, those mindless people looked more and more mindless. And they were asking for our minds. Rather, they chased us, repeating “Brains!” I just assumed we were near Comic-Con.

I’d taught my kid all about Davy Crockett, how he killed a bear when he was only 3, how he and his rifle, Ol’ Bess, never backed down from a fight. And while the kid had his own Davy Crockett coonskin cap, he didn’t have any sort of Ol’ Bess to take on brain eaters. The best we could do was . . . “Run for it!” I yelled.

We took cover at, what my son called the World Famous Diane Camper Christmas Party. For those who haven’t yet experienced a Diane Camper Christmas party, they are, according to my kid, “more world famous than our parties because more people fit in Diane’s house than in ours.”

It was the perfect place and time to live life like it was 1999. Diane and her husband, Bones -- a doctor, not a magician -- offered food, activities, “Star Trek” impersonations and occasional medical attention if injured in a party game. Zombie-bite treatment, however, was questionable, according to Bones.

The place was so packed my son thought the world was actually all there in Diane’s living room. Someone opened the back door to let in some fresh air. They let in some zombies instead. Diane got bit.

“Bones!” I yelled.

“Brains!” he yelled back. He became one of Them. And They were everywhere.

The problem with trying to live life to the fullest when you’re being pursued by zombies is that it’s hard to have fun when you’re on the run, ducking tons of clawing bloody hands and teeth. In hindsight, I suppose we could’ve had a little more fun with the chase. But when isn’t there regret in hindsight?

Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays. And hearing the song with those words reminded my son and me that Mommy was home alone. It’s amazing what I boy will do to save his Mommy -- my son got us home in one piece, with our brains and all. And Mommy was fine.

When I woke the next morning, I realized, No, it wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t a scary story either.

No, according to my son’s journal, we’d actually lived this crazy adventure. We apparently fought off the zombies using “potty words,” a 9-year-old’s defense in every tight spot. And now we can finally live every moment like we’re at a World Famous Diane Camper Christmas Party, and enjoy it this time.

Wouldn’t you know it? A new end of the world is already upon us. The Big Asteroid deflected off some space junk and is headed our way within the year. This time it’s all doom and gloom.

-January 2013

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