The rebirth of zombie horror has largely faded, with The Walking Dead still popular but sputtering towards an end. But as we all know, zombies never stay dead for long. And since we all know the zombie apocalypse is inevitable, I wanted to share with you my thoughts on the kind of people you are likely to meet when it begins–assuming you aren’t dead yet.
The leader is the guy we all think we are going to be. He (or she) is the swashbuckling, charismatic, “come with me if you want to live” guy. The one who always goes into the “abandoned” house first. The guy who kills the kid after he’s been bit when everybody else is saying they should give him a chance, just to see if he is immune. The leader decides which mythical zombie-free land the rest of the group will seek out. Cause there’s always a mythical land. Amusement park. Farm. Island. Boat. Whatever. It’s there, somewhere just beyond the next rise, and the leader is going to find it.
Everybody wants to be the leader. Everybody wants to star in their own zombie flick. We all assume we are the important ones, the guy who is going to save humanity, get the girl, and repopulate the species. But here’s the thing, you probably aren’t, and you probably don’t want to be.
The thing about being a leader is somebody has to follow you. When you draw that line in the sand, somebody has to cross it. Otherwise, you’re just another loner. And besides, how long do you think you’re gonna last anyway? How many times can you kick down that door before somebody bites off your leg? How many times can you be the guy who stays back to hold off the horde while the others escape before you don’t make it out? The leader is living on borrowed time. Notice all those pictures? What do they have in common? They’re all leaders, and they’re all dead.*
*OK, technically Rick is still alive . . . for now.
The loner is, in many ways, the opposite of the leader. He has no interest in protecting the group or saving humanity. His priority is always numero uno. He probably has a military or survivalist background, is heavily armed, and either has a stash of food and supplies or is able to acquire them easily. In the movies, the loner is a leader in disguise, the gruff fighter with a heart of gold just waiting to find the reason to step forward. In reality, the loner may occasionally hook up with others, but only when it is beneficial to him. He will also drop them at the first opportunity, preferably when the zombies need something to distract them.
The problem with the loner is he has no one to rely on when things go wrong. The simple fact of the matter is that it’s hard to survive in a zombie apocalypse. You gotta sleep. Who’s going to keep watch? What if you injure yourself? What if there are more zombies than one gun can possible hold off? No, the loner might live longer than the leader, but at some point, he’s gonna slip up. And when he does, that’s the end.
You know the prophet. He’s the guy who has been preparing for the zombie apocalypse his entire life. He can’t wait till the day comes. It’s his one chance to do something great, to be something consequential. You are carrying a shotgun? He’ll have a Shaolin Spade because he knows that it represents the perfect combination of speed, stealth, killing prowess, and weight of any weapon out there when it comes to zombie destruction. The prophet already knows where he will hold up for the duration of the zombie apocalypse, and if that place is overrun, he has at least three back up plans. The prophet knows everything there is to know about zombies, has read the Zombie Survival Guide at least three times, and could teach a class on the subject, if only a school was awesome enough to offer it.
You would think that the prophet would be the most likely to survive, but you would be wrong. Yes he’s got all the info. Yes he’s got all the plans. But you know, he probably can’t follow through with them. First of all, prophets tend to be nerds. I mean seriously, how many star linebackers are sitting around thinking about what to do during the zombie apocalypse? And that’s another problem, he probably spends a lot more time thinking about what he would do in the case of a zombie invasion than actually preparing for it. I mean come on. Do you really think he has a Shaolin Spade?
Funny thing about the Prophet though. He never shows up in movies. In movies, nobody has ever heard of zombies.
*Sadly, I would probably be a prophet.