Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How Zombies Will Save the World

You may be aware of the fact that I find zombies to be utterly, engrossingly terrifying. It's fair to say that I think about them at least once a day. Not only because Socrates stands guard on my desk, but because my imagination simply will not let fantastical creatures be. To the piece of my brain that processes fear, zombies are something I should fear approximately 17 times a day. 

There's a reason I can't run outdoors with music on, and it isn't because I'm afraid of being hit by a car or that I've watched way too many episodes of Criminal Minds or even that I've watched those episodes 5 or 6 times a piece (don't judge). It's because I need to be able to hear the zombies when they come up behind me. This isn't true for treadmill running. Because if a zombie sneaks up on me on my treadmill, then they deserve my brain. 

What I'm getting at is that my brain is powerful. For the sake of argument, let's just say there's no rational reason I should be afraid of zombies. Let's just pretend for a moment that I wasn't actually in danger of having to outrun the horde anytime soon. In the absence of Real Danger, my mind has done a fantastic job of believing in something that doesn't exist. So well, that probably 80% of my physical fitness is a direct result of that fear. 

You think I kid? 

There's only one other thing that could possibly motivate me to hang from my pull-up bar or hold plank pose for longer than the 5 seconds it takes for me to remember how HARD those things are, and that's cookie dough (or possibly Damon's eyebrows).

(I deny your accusation of gratuitous Salvator Brows).

I used to think I was alone in this strange reality of Zombie! Terror! But it turns out, I'm not. 

There's a professor at Michigan State University teaching a course called, "Surviving the Coming Zombie Apocalypse - Catastrophes and Human Behavior." The full story is behind that link (sent to me by my little brother), but basically, this prof is using zombies to make social science immediately intriguing to students. It's a perfect blending of imagination and scholarly pursuit! 

Another recent exercise of Zombie! Terror! as motivation is the Zombies, Run! game, which is basically like a real life video game. I suspect that the majority of people playing the game won't actually experience the sort of terror I do even without the aid of an app, but that doesn't negate the power this has to change someone's reality. 

Both of these are tapping into the idea of the Zombie to change the world in a positive way. I find that to be pretty amazing. So. Imagination is powerful stuff. It can make the mundane exciting and turn every single day into an adventure, which is pretty much what I've been trying to do my entire life.

When does your adventure start?

The second you imagine it.

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