Eat Brains, Get Money: What Zombies Have Taught Me

by: Mar Curran

Internet, I am a citizen of the world. I try to learn wherever and whenever I can. As I spend more and more time on my best friend’s couch analyzing this season of The Walking Dead, I am realizing that zombies have a lot to teach us for godless and brainless murderers! Here are some life lessons I’m gaining from these angry corpses.

Everyone is either a Rick or a Shane (Walking Dead).

There are essentially two different styles of management in life. You can either be the nice guy or the guy who doesn’t give a shit. Rick always tries to talk things out, searches for a lost little girl in the woods for days even though another group member becomes injured doing so, and thinks “reasoning” works. Shane once shot a guy named Otis in the leg so he could out-limp some zombies while they ate Otis. I am clearly a Shane.

My family used to watch episodes of 24 together when I was a kid, so this should be no surprise. I understand the “kill or be killed” mentality, to a much lesser degree than on the show because my life is not actually on the line in most cases where I need to be a tough guy. But by golly, if someone doesn’t get their paperwork into me on time, I will surely make one angry face and lecture them! I think this is the non-zombie equivalent of Shane’s daily activities. Realizing this can make it easier to relate to people based on which character they’re more like. I can sweet talk the Ricks of the world, and know to watch my ass around the other Shanes.

For your health!

I loved how realistic 28 Days Later was. People are out of shape and can barely survive on junk food. Being a college student can sometimes be like trying to escape zombies; you’re going on little sleep, freaking out about failing (at classes or not being eaten), and have to work with jerks sometimes. Being in good shape and knowing how to eat right become critically important in both scenarios. Plus, I refuse to be that guy who the other group members vote out of our survival camp because I am the gassiest from eating bad food.

All the skills should belong to me.

In every good zombie movie, someone has a useful skill and thus becomes indispensable. Me? I can write articles, sew moderately well, and know all the words to the Fresh Prince theme. Okay, maybe they’re not the most marketable skills. But whether in zombie world or real world, you have to make yourself stand out and be useful to the group. That’s why I plan to put “excellent marksman with arrows” on my job applications someday. I’m sure any boss would love having a good archer around the office.

Learn who’s healthy in your life.

So many zombie media characters struggle to deal with their loved ones being zombified. They just cannot shoot them, or may even try to save them. Some people also have trouble recognizing the toxic people in their lives, whether it’s a lying, unsupportive parent or a friend whose bad habits negatively impact their life. You have to learn when to say, “Hey, you are not allowed to eat my brain!” and remove that person from your life. Note: if they are a zombie it may be okay to kill them; if they’re a human it’s not.

Mar Curran is a trans/queer rights activist and community organizer; he is on the boards of Video Action league, Advocate Loyola, the Queer intercollegiate Alliance, and works with GetEQUAL. As spoken word artist, he has read at each All The Writers I Know event. He studies Communications and Women’s Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Curran likes beer and cats.

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One response to “Eat Brains, Get Money: What Zombies Have Taught Me

  1. “You have to learn when to say, ‘Hey, you are not allowed to eat my brain!'” Hahaha, true, true. Solid advice.

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