Zombies. Are. EVERYWHERE! Well, at least in pop culture they are. Ever since the 2004 remake of the George A. Romero classic Dawn Of The Dead brought zombies back into the forefront of pop culture, it has inspired the undead to spread like a virus across television, video games like Dead Island, books like World War Z, and movies like Zombieland and Shaun Of The Dead. And ever since the zombie invasion began, there have been constant arguments between fans of the undead genre about what it would take to truly survive. According to NBC, 65,000 people signed up for an online course that would train them in the art of outlasting the living dead.
Most zombie fans tend to think that they can plan and execute a successful endurance method in order to survive. But in reality, there's no way everyone can make it. If you disagree with me, do you realize that there are only five original members of Rick's group left in The Walking Dead? (And I won't spoil who has made it for those who haven't binge-watched it yet.) A zombie apocalypse in real life would be similar to freshman year of college: Everyone wants to survive, but a majority won't make it through with their humanity intact. Here are some of the biggest reasons why you wouldn't survive the zombie apocalypse.
1. Survival Of The Fittest — Literally
It's an obvious fact that zombies dominate pop culture. But you would think that with so many different kinds of media featuring the undead, everyone could come to a consensus on how fast a zombie would actually move. The Walking Dead TV show and the Dead Rising video game seem to agree that the rotting corpses of the undead would have a more leisurely pace (I mean, they're dead, that must clear up someone's appointment calendar). But the 2009 film Zombieland and the more recent Pride And Prejustice And Zombies seem to think that the undead would be more agile and run all over the countryside.
Either way, you better be physically ready to tackle the zombie apocalypse head-on. You've got to embrace both your fight and flight instincts. And I know I'm making a generalization about fans of the show, but most people who geek out and plan for the zombie apocalypse weren't the fastest kids in gym class (speaking from personal experience). So for most fans, that would only leave the ability to fight the horde of zombies, which could also prove difficult. You would have to fight a 160 pound, reanimated mass of flesh hellbent on eating your skin, either with your bare hands or using the weapons you have at your disposal. Personally, I know my lack of muscle mass and indoor-kid status would lead me to lose any hand-to-hand combat I'd face, apocalypse or not. Plus, the only experience I have using a "point and shoot" device is with a blow dryer.
All of that fighting isn't even factoring in the reality that you would constantly be running and walking across the countryside to avoid the undead masses. You would need to be strong enough to carry supplies and weapons to support everyone in your group. Basically, the zombie apocalypse seems to be more draining than a 24-hour CrossFit session. The physical demands of the zombie apocalypse would definitely thin the herd of survivors that are trying to avoid an untimely death.
2. Pulling The Plug
Let's start with a question that frequently plagues our generation: Could you survive without the Internet and your smartphone? Although most millennials would say they could with ease, the idea of functioning without having a plethora of information right at your fingertips on every single topic that could ever be thought of would be almost unheard of. According to Mashable.com, almost 38 percent of college students can't go more than 10 minutes without checking either a laptop, cellphone or tablet.
What's going to happen when the people working for Internet service providers decide to bolt for their own safety, or they get taken out by walkers? Anyone who is always online and constantly connected with all of their friends is about to become pretty lonely. If anything, the lack of "social interaction" through the World Wide Web will have those that are the most tech dependent going crazy, yours truly included. Snapchat would become just a person repeatedly scrolling through their own selfies for hours on end. In my opinion, the lack of technology would take out more people during the zombie apocalypse than anyone would care to admit.
3. Real-Time Decisions Are Harder Then You Think
We live a charmed life, with our day-to-day choices being as difficult as deciding what drink to order at Starbucks or whether or not to bring a jacket when you leave the house. In the undead apocalypse, survivors make multiple life-changing (possibly life-ending) choices even before the clock strikes noon. If a person were to make the wrong decision by taking a dangerous shortcut instead of taking the safe route, the group could end up making their touching memorial by sundown. If you say the wrong thing, anger the wrong person, even just stop to go to the bathroom at the wrong spot, you risk losing all of your supplies and literally getting bit in the ass for your screw up.
Telltale's The Walking Dead series is one of the best depictions of the stress of making decisions in the apocalypse. A majority of the gameplay is focused on having the player choose something to do or say, all on a timer, without the gratifying feeling of making a definitive correct choice. And even if the choice is as simple as responding to one of your group members about the weather, Telltale always reminds you that what you say carries weight by mockingly putting up in the corner of the screen that the character you're talking to "will remember that." You feel the stress that the characters feel and build attachments to or form opinions on everyone you meet, which helped to make Telltale one of the most emotionally authentic game developers on the market. But even the stress of the game wouldn't match what you would feel making the decisions in your own life.
The real struggle would be to make the kind of decisions about a person's death, like having to make the choice of whether or not to kill your sibling because they've turned into a walker. Everyone can make contingency plans, but you can never truly be prepared for the zombie apocalypse and the trials you would face. You can be physically prepared and have all of the escape plans in the world, but if you don't have the emotional resilience to make the necessary decisions and sacrifices, then there is no way you could survive and thrive in the apocalypse. Why else do you think Rick from The Walking Dead didn't shave until Season 6? He was making so many difficult decisions on a daily basis, he couldn't waste brain power on anything as trivial as facial hair maintenance.
Am I saying it's impossible to survive the zombie apocalypse? No. I am saying that people need to be more realistic when it comes to their apocalypse plans. You can have every piece of supply necessary to survive in a world with zombies, but if you aren't prepared physically or mentally, your time spend living in the apocalypse won't last too long.