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Will You Survive a Zombie Apocalypse?

It's the least likely of scenarios. Impossible, really. We'll never actually have one. But everyone seems to be excited about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse.

When exactly did zombies become a thing?

I remember watching Dawn of the Dead when I was in high school, and it scared the bejeezus out of me. It was about a horde of zombies that had trapped a band of humans in a mall, but the Hot Sam stand was closed, so the zombies were forced to eat the people.

Or something like that. I covered my eyes with my hands for most of it.

I've never enjoyed monsters, zombies, vampires, or anything supernatural and undead that might try to kill me.

Which is why I hate that zombies are all the rage right now. The only people I know who shamble slowly, mouths agape, and groaning that they need brains are those who drive under the speed limit in the left lane.

For as long as I can remember, zombies have always been part of entertainment, but it's only in the last few years, with movies like World War Z and TV shows like Walking Dead, that zombies have shambled their way into our national consciousness.

Several years before that, it was teenage sparkle vampires who had captured the interest of America's teens and 20-somethings. And their moms.

Good news, the werewolves nearly defeated the vampires during the whole Team Edward/Team Jacob presidential campaign.

Bad news, the vampires fought back and eliminated the werewolves.

Good news, the zombies have eliminated the teenage sparkle vampires.

Bad news, the zombies don't appear to be leaving.

It's getting so bad, there's even an online tool to determine how long it will take for a zombie outbreak to cover your part of the world.

The Washington Post recently published an article about a zombie apocalypse computer model, created by statistician Alex Alemi, that can determine how long a zombie virus outbreak would take to spread.

Alemi determined that, depending on where you lived, you could go for weeks, months, or even years, before a zombie outbreak reached you. If you live in a large city, like New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, chances are you'll be dead — well, undead — within a week.

But if you lived in remote areas, like central Nevada or the Rocky Mountains, you could ride out the apocalypse for years, since it's not like zombies can hop a Greyhound bus.

So, if you want to avoid the zombie apocalypse, consider moving to a remote part of the country that's only serviceable by state highways and county roads.

If the idea of being chased by thousands of rotting flesh bags seems fun, you can visit Alemi's website (http://mattbierbaum.github.io/zombies-usa/) to see how long it would take the outbreak to reach your own town.

Fun fact: According to Alemi's model, if the outbreak began in Indianapolis, it would take seven full days to reach Chicago and Nashville, Tenn.

So, sleep well on that little tidbit.

But if that doesn't placate your fears (it certainly didn't help mine), a 2010 article on Cracked.com took a more serious, if cynical look, at why a zombie apocalypse would fail miserably.

Because if there's anyone who can outwit a statistician, it's a smartass satirist with plenty of time on their hands.

For one thing, says Cracked, zombies will not survive any place that has flies and bugs that normally eat dead flesh. If the zombie apocalypse happened in the middle of summer, it would be over in three or four days.

Zombies also can't handle the heat (think "bloating") or cold (think "freezer burn"). They don't know how to follow roads, so they would be blocked by natural barriers, like canyons, mountains, rapids, and cliffs, which they can't see at night. If you want to escape a zombie outbreak, just live on a mountain or an island.

Preferably a tropical island with cable and wifi. And a well-stocked bar. And a giant freezer filled with steaks. This thing will take a couple of months, so we might as well enjoy ourselves.

Finally, the Pew Research Center estimates there are anywhere between 270 million to 310 million guns in the U.S. Once the apocalypse began, we could literally crush the first zombies under the weigh of all the guns, without firing a single shot.

But my guess is everyone with a pop gun is going to want a piece of that action, so the zombies will die from severe lead poisoning.

In short, says Cracked, the worst thing that can happen to a zombie is that it's only food source is also its top predator. It would be like if we tried hunting sharks with a butter knife.

But if the zombie apocalypse ever does come, I'm throwing in the the pirate ninjas.

I just don't know how I'm going to sneak around with a peg leg and an eyepatch.



The second edition of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), and No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing are both available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million, or for the Kindle or Nook. My latest book, The Owned Media Doctrine is now available on Amazon.com
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