While everyone is dressing up and playing pretend for Halloween, what many people might not realize about the Day of the Dead is that some folks live it every day. There are no support groups, no disability programs, no social tolerance initiatives. Monsters are on their own out there, and “it ain’t easy,” as one zombie puts it in a recent letter to Cityview. Here is what he had to say.
An open letter to the human race
Let’s start by confronting the elephant in the room and explore the word you all seem so fond of throwing around: zombie. I must say it’s completely overused, it’s rude and it’s just plain offensive. The dictionary describes zombie as “a soulless corpse.” Kindly ask yourselves how you’d feel being put in the same category as a fish — food that stares up at you while you eat it. Only because it holds such a universal appeal for your kind will I proceed with the term zombie.
That being said, we “zombies” thank you for finally recognizing us as the master horror creatures we are. A world that, for the longest time, seemed to hold vampires, werewolves and even Frankenstein’s mindless, half-baked creation as the holy trinity of monsters has finally come around to embracing us as the true kings. Look at the facts.
Do you have any idea how irritating and vain vampires can be? It’s always all about them. “I can live forever, I can fly, I balled Snookie.” Yeah, nice. And those “Twilight” movies. Need I say more? You would never spot a zombie weeping over his emotions.
And Wolfman? He’s extremely needy. There are too many rules with this guy. In order to become a werewolf, he has to be bitten but not killed. He can be killed by a bullet, but it’s got to be made of silver. And, he can only change when the moon is full — his moods swing according to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Hanging out with him is like road-tripping with a wooly version of Rainman miles away from the nearest K-mart.
Then there’s Frankenstein’s monster. A disgrace to the undead, Frankenstein’s slack-jawed monster is basically a zombie who claims he’s alive while never admitting to his true zombie heritage: “Grrr, I’m still alive.” This is what psychiatrists identify as delusional. I, for one, would love the chance to grab him by his bulbous head, drag him in front of a mirror and proclaim, “How many people do you see walking around with green skin and DieHard Battery posts protruding out of their necks?” What a poser.
Could you be any more high maintenance? He’s like the Paris Hilton of monsters — tall, dumb and nothing without Daddy.
Frankenstein’s monster aside, there are many types of zombies walking this planet. And, just like you, we pride ourselves in our own individuality. Sadly, though, society has chosen to ignore our diversity.
The most well known members of the undead are the flesh-eating zombies. In the United States, you may know them by the more politically correct term “cannibal Americans.”
Then there are the made-by-science-and-accidentally-released-onto-the-world-to-cause-the-fall-of-mankind-zombies. (Ahem, thanks, Dr. Fankenstein. Thanks a lot.)
Another infamous troupe would be the brain-eaters (not to be confused with the flesh-eaters or fans of reality TV).
Next up, the everyday, run-of-the-mill, “I’m just going to chase your ass forever and kill you for fun because, well, I’m kind of good at it, and it’s basically all I know how to do” moaning, groaning, snarling, primal zombies — the ones often seen misrepresenting the rest of us in movies and on TV. They are to zombies what Honey Boo Boo is to the south.
But do you even know one zombie from another? Can you honestly say that you’ve never invited a zombie into your house to meet your family? When your friends sit around exchanging zombie jokes, do you join in, or do you just sit there, without conviction, on your laurels and do nothing? I’m sure you claim you have a few zombie friends, but who are you trying to convince?
America, we still have so far to go.
I believe education is the answer to this societal division. As with any fear of the unknown, the best way to learn tolerance is through understanding. I have come to find that many citizens have unanswered questions regarding us. So here are a few dos and don’ts relating to the zombie community.
Do not — I repeat, do not — scream in our faces. Holy shit, it’s annoying. Are you serious? Screaming and flaying around like an injured animal? I’ve even had people on various occasions urinate on me. Disgusting, not to mention, rude. All these primitive reactions do is: 1. Annoy the shit out of us, and 2. Bring your friends running whom we’re also going to now eat. Thank you.
Instead, just come to terms with the fact that it’s over. If we’re holding onto you with our heads tilted back, mouths gaping, eyeballing your frontal lobe and salivating, it’s a pretty good bet that it’s over for you. There is no reset button; no control-z; no time-out. In a world becoming more devoid of manners, we just ask that you grant us the same peace and quiet you would expect while enjoying your own dinner. Come on, people, these are things you should have learned in kindergarten.
Also, we understand that it’s the whole “flight or fight” response kicking in. We get the whole “Aughh, he’s trying to kill me!” We’ve been there. Hell, how do you think we became the living dead? It’s not like we took classes — Fleshing Eating 101, Brain Stem Slurping and Bone Crunching seminars or a Ripping Limbs capstone course. We weren’t recruited. We didn’t respond to an ad in the Craigslist casual encounters section.
The fact is that when prey chooses to run, the hunter will pursue. It’s all we know. So if you choose “flight,” just know we will chase you. That’s how this shit works. We’re not going to let you run away, and then say to ourselves, “Well, looks like that one got away. I’m depressed now. I think I’ll eat some carbs or maybe graze for honeysuckle in this lush meadow.”
If you decide to fight instead, understand that scratching the face is frowned upon and a complete waste of time. We have few cosmetic concerns left when it comes to our own outer beauty. A zombie’s sex life is pretty much non-existent. If you think your social life sucks, try being dead. Not too many people cruise e-Harmony typing the words “tall, dark and dead” into its preference search.
Forget dating. Try getting a job when you’re a walking, rotting corpse. A well-known, but often ignored, fact is that job discrimination and unemployment in the zombie world is at an all-time high. The biggest obstacle in our way lately is that more potential employers are now performing background checks. You think a bad credit score or a pot bust from 1992 will come back to haunt you? How would you like to stress over a long forgotten death certificate or a cannibalism conviction?
It would be nice if more employers considered the advantages that come with offering us jobs. Just think, it keeps us off the streets, we’re contributing to the economy and we can’t file for workers’ comp. Everybody wins! Even if we did, say, fall down a flight of stairs, lift something the wrong way or get mowed down by an out-of-control forklift, it doesn’t matter. We’re dead. No biggie. We just brush ourselves off and go right back to work. We’re basically cartoon characters with an odor. Tell me that’s not a perk, OSHA.
Our job choices are limited, too. Another small but important piece of information that’s often overlooked is the fact that most of us don’t drive. (Try using a clutch with 24-7 restless leg syndrome.) But, hey, at least we don’t leave a carbon footprint. Beat that, Natalie Portman.
It ain’t easy being dead, people. We’re not looking for sympathy, but everyone needs to start focusing on the positives that we, the undead, have done for this world. I know what you’re thinking: “Positives? What’s he talking about? A zombie just ate my neighbor. How is that positive?” Well, perhaps your neighbor was a dick. Did you ever consider that? Let me ask you something. Does he inconvenience you before bed blaring his X-box and loud home theatre system anymore? No. Does he still inadvertently grab your personal mail and forget to return it? No, how could he? Does he still corner you in the hall rambling on and on about his uneventful life while completely disregarding the fact that you’re late for work? No, you’ll be to work on time from now on. No need to thank us. You’re welcome.
So in the spirit of tolerance and understanding, let’s quickly touch on zombie etiquette. Almost everybody, at some point, has been ridiculed for a personal inadequacy, but lately people from all walks of life have gotten into the routine of dismissing zombies. They mistakenly equate being dead to possessing no feelings. But, just because we’re a little different — sure, we have an odor, we walk funny and we moan a lot — doesn’t mean we’re not also similar in some ways. In reality, we’re actually not that different than the average hipster. (Although in some circles, we might smell better.) This mounting phenomenon of harassment is even more distressing when it comes from the mouths of children who likely cultivated this prejudice at home. Nobody grows up hating the undead. It’s learned. So parents, please, think before you speak.
I’d like to address a few of these harsh remarks that we hear snickered behind our backs day in and day out:
We walk this way because of rigor mortis. Simply put, we’re kind of screwed when it comes to flexibility. That’s probably why you don’t see too many of us enrolling in yoga classes. “Upward dog downward — snap — son of a bitch!” It’s a disability, people. Do you make fun of guys in wheelchairs, too?
Another trait we’ve heard you complaining about is our non-stop moaning. Like you’ve never heard moaning before? Anybody who’s ever lived in a coed college dorm but complains about us is a complete hypocrite.
I think the biggest grumble I’ve heard lately from your side is that we sometimes have a tendency to lose body parts. This is just a fact of death people. It’s called decay. What you apparently don’t realize is, when a zombie drops a body part, it’s not just inconvenient, it’s also very embarrassing. Nothing is more disheartening than looking in the mirror and discovering that you’ve lost an ear over night, leaving you with a now unsymmetrical face. Sneezing is also a dilemma. No matter how you handle it, launching your nose 80 yards across the local eatery into someone’s pasta salad always results in an awkward situation for all parties involved. I’ve picked up more restaurant tabs in my day than I care to admit (which doubly sucks, seeing how it’s really hard for me to find a decent-paying job). And don’t even get me started on my new detachable penis and the ninja-like reflexes I’ve had to foster over the years in order to retrieve it from these new, automatic-flusher toilets (among other places).
Another thing, please don’t ask us how we died. It’s personal. If we want you to know, we’ll tell you. Please don’t keep prodding. I’m a zombie, man. Obviously, I didn’t get hit by a bus.
Which brings me to the odor criticism. We know we carry the aroma of death, so why make us feel even more self-conscious than we are already do? Do you have any idea how much deodorant it takes to cover up the smell of death? Try dropping 30 percent of your income on Right Guard.
I also don’t love it when you want to know what we “did” when we were human, but when we tell you, and it’s not as interesting as you had hoped, you gaze at us all doe-eyed like we just gave away the end of “Titanic.” Six billion people inhabit this planet, and most of them are pretty dull, probably including you. We’re really no exception.
I worked at Office Max, OK? I was in charge of the copier department. How’s that for exciting? Basically, all I did day in and day out was abhor the human race, mumble to myself and direct idiots seeking out Xerox machines. I should have written a book: “Chapter 1, My Shitty Job.” The only difference between that job and what I do now is that I’m no longer required to wear a name tag on my little, red vest.
And the No. 1 question that gets our coagulated blood boiling is how we became zombies. So you really want to know? Are you ready? Are you really ready? OK, here goes. Here’s the answer to the question that you’re so excited about. How did I become a member of the walking dead? Drum roll, please… Hold on to your chairs people. Here it comes…
I was playing Truth or Dare.
That’s it. That’s my amazing journey into the land of the dead. I’m an idiot. I was playing Truth or Dare with a zombie, and she dared me to let her bite me. That was her dare! Do you have any idea how shitty of a dare that was? So, I let her bite me because I don’t welsh on a bet, and God forbid people think I’m a pansy liberal. Oh, and she was hot — even for a zombie. She still had most of her hair, and the fact that she lost all four eyelids only brought out the green in her wet, glossy eyes. I basically became a monster in the stupidest way ever. So, now I’m cursed to spend infinity roving the planet preying on mankind because I decided to play a stupid drinking game with an open mind while thinking with my dick… which has been missing for six days. CV
12 ways to thwart a zombie attack
1. Run uphill. The undead have notoriously shitty calf muscles.
2. Direct them to the wrong classroom on their first day of class.
3. Report them for not recycling.
4. Introduce them to mangy, feral cats.
5. Line the perimeter of your fence with treadmills.
6. Ask them to cosign for a car loan.
7. Blend in with mall walkers.
8. Welcome them to scientology.
9. Ask them for gas money. (This also works on friends, relatives and that creepy old guy at work with too many D.U.I.’s who now rides a bike.)
10. Teach them transcendental meditation, and when they begin to find nirvana, run like hell.
11. Play them anything from Justin Bieber.
12. Tell them you’re pro-life.