Recently, I took my boys out for exercise in the neighborhood. They rode their bicycles, I ran next to them. They're 5 and 7 years old, so for now my legs and their wheels go about the same pace. I enjoy it while I can.
We bicycled home, twilight impending and the dew starting to settle on fields around us. My younger son, irritated with his bicycle as he tried to ride without training wheels, uttered a mewl of frustration as he came to a sudden stop. "Ugh!" he cried. "If I don't go faster on my bike, the zombies will get me!"
I stopped short. Zombies? How did my precious 5-year-old, carefully insulated from super-heroes, television, and video games know about zombies?
Perhaps it wasn't that big a surprise. My siblings and I share a certain zombie fixation that managed to survive having seen "Army of Darkness." Maybe an attraction to zombie lore is genetic and my son came by it honestly.
Without meaning to sound too full of myself, I believe my kids are pretty lucky. In the event of the zombie apocalypse, I am well-positioned to protect them from the undead as well as the just as frightening living scavengers and nightmarishly unprepared nincompoops that try to drag down those who actually have a chance of surviving.
Here's what I could've told my son to put his mind at ease:
Of course, there are the other assurances I could've shared but they are beyond my 5-year-old's current ken.
Honey, don't worry! We have supplies to wait out the zombies! In addition to a standard emergency preparation kit (which contains antiseptics, antibiotics, water purification tablets, flammables, anti-flammables, mylar blankets, and the like), my storeroom contains approximately six months of non-perishable food or ingredients specifically chosen for their shelf stability, nutrient content, and flexibility. I also have a supply of negotiables. No, not cash. Instead, I have alcohol, chocolate, tea, and coffee. Just call me Trader Tim.
Sweetie, we can get out of here before the zombies come! I have mapped out six different ways by car and three by foot to get out of the immediate area if the zombie swell requires we leave the homestead. We have backup fuel, extra tires, and stable vehicles to get us there.
Son, if the zombies come, we have a place to go! You didn't think I was going to share my proposed hide-outs, did you? Yet, rest assured, I have four identified -- all have basements, entry points that can be controlled, the potential to be on their own water and power supply, sufficient land for growing food, and good vantage points for hunting wildlife or picking off zombie predators.
* I have sufficient components and knowledge of technology to create rudimentary communications devices to find other survivors to facilitate the rebuilding of civilization.All of this went through my mind this recent chilly October evening when my son cried his fear that his fledgling bicycling skills would keep him from out-pacing the hungry hoard of zombies hot on his trail.
* With books on internal medicine, biology, and pharmacology, and a mother who is a chemist, I have at my disposal the information to cobble together basic medicines and treatments.
* I work well under pressure, am methodical and calm, and can make compromises to serve the greater good.
* My extended family has an extensive contact list and rudimentary emergency action plan; many are similarly well-equipped with supplies.
With confidence, I took a deep breath and crouched down to my son's level, enfolding him in a hug. "Sweetheart," I said, "don't worry. I won't let the zombies get you." He snuffled deeply with a phleghmmy shudder, his big blues staring tearfully into mine. "Besides," I continued, "there's no such thing as zombies."
His eyes grew wide. "Yes, there is Mommy! They're brown and yellow and they fly on flowers!" I look at him uncomprehendingly. He continued.
"They make honey and go zoom-zoom-zoom! Zoom-bees chase after people and sting you!"
And to think, I thought I was prepared.