I used to love post-apocalyptic stories. I, like all people should, have spent time debating the finer points of weapon choices in lieu of a zombie infestation. (I still choose aluminum bat) Lying in bed at night, I have dreamed of pitting myself against hordes of undead, or testing my mettle against the desolation of a worldwide catastrophe. Of course, This all ended, like so many other dreams, when I had kids.
When my wife gave birth to my first child, I quickly assumed night feeding duties in order to connect with my son on an emotional level that would bond us forever. (Honestly, my wife makes the milk and the money, so I do what I can) Together, my newborn and I began an odyssey. An odyssey of midnight Netflix that rivaled any insomniac or college kid. It was the weapon of choice in my own personal battle of survival. That little whimper from the crib, which quickly turns to a wail, would strike at my will to live. But hey, at least I can finish up Casino Royale for the third time.
Around two weeks A.C. (after child), I decided to catch up on “The Walking Dead”, which, at the time, had brought zombies back into the mainstream. The first few seasons were solid: the perfect amount of suspense, violence, moral and ethical questions of survival vs humanity. The primal need to survive captivated my imagination. Where would I go? Would my house stand up, or would I need to take over that two story down the street? Which friends would be helpful, and who could be left behind? What would I do in order to stay alive in the most desperate situations? About ten minutes into the first episode with my tiny new human in hand I realized what I would do… I would fucking die.
Babies are loud, needy, and can’t fight zombies. They’re dead weight. My one year old is currently banging on my keyboard right now. How is that helpful? My three and five year olds sounds like alien cats fighting outside my bedroom window. Not too convenient when hiding from looters. Suddenly, the thought of surviving any sort of disaster, let alone one that’s zombie related, was no longer filled with the thrill of a challenge, but the dread of impending failure and death. I no longer lay awake at night mentally mapping my exit from the city. Actually, I never lay awake at night anymore period; kids are exhausting. I definitely don’t daydream about what store is likely to have the best survival gear if everyone mysteriously disappeared overnight. (Definitely Academy for Sports and Outdoors) I guess I have more important things to think about; like which grocery store has the best race-car carts.
So when my friend recently asked me what to expect when his baby was born, I looked him in the eye, put my hand on his shoulder and told him cancel any plans for building a survival shelter. He might as well build an extra closet for all the fucking toys you’re about to collect. And forget about enjoying “The Walking Dead”. However, he’s going to appreciate “Taken” on an entirely new level!