Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Zombie FAQ

1. What is a Zombie?
Loosely speaking, a Zombie is anyone who woke up after dying. Basically Zombies are animated corpses of formerly living people, who now have the whole of their Death awaiting them.

2. Where do Zombies come from?
There are many ways to become a Zombie, from being poisoned by a Voodoo priest (more on that elsewhere), to being infected with a deadly disease by some secret government plot, or just being too stubborn to let a little thing like death get in the way. In the end though, there's only one question that's important: What are you going to do with the rest of your Death?

3. How many Zombies are there?
More than you think. As of this writing, every second there are five people being born and two dying. In a 24 hour period that means 172,800 Deathstyle Choices every day!

4. Are Zombies dangerous?
No, no, no, no, no! Well, maybe. If vexed. Are the living dangerous?

5. Do Zombies eat brains?
Rarely, and then only on special occasions and some holidays. (Dia de Los Muertos and Ascension Thursday).

6. Are Zombies fast or slow?
The answer to this seemingly simple question is actually at the heart of Zombieness. Zombies vary in speed by individual and the level of concentration that is being devoted to activity. Generally, Zombies start off slow, but become faster and more natural with their movements as they practice. Unlike living muscles, Zombie muscles are moved entirely by conscious thought as the automated sections of the Zombie brains (and bodies) are dead. Note: This contradicts many common vitalist misrepresentations of Zombies as possessing only the primitive reptile functions of their brains. In fact the opposite is true, and the automatic functions of Zombie bodies have shut down (they are dead after all) and are only maintained by the willpower of the Newly Dead.

7. What's the difference between a Zombie and a Skeleton or Mummy?
Skeletons are usually older Zombies that have decided to "shuffle off the mortal coil" in a more literal sense. This is not always the case, as there seems to be a movement among some younger Zombies to "let it all hang out" - More traditional Zombies are reported to be "incensed" by this behavior and often refer to this younger breed as "sluffies." Mummies are people who made a deathstyle choice before dying, and prepared for it by attempting to prevent many of the natural consequences of Zombriety. Zombies and Mummies do share a certain number of physical similarities, however their culture and habits are radically different. Zombies tend to travel in packs, and are very social, and Mummies are generally solitary and try to avoid contact with others, living or dead.

8. What is a "deathstyle crisis?"
It is the moment of waking up after death and wondering what next? For some, the answer is to move on to a spiritual plane, or "Heaven" and for others, the answer is a bit more practical. Many Zombies report that at the moment of their death they were involved in what they felt to be very important task that couldn't be left to anyone else (at least that's how it seemed at the time). The question is rarely religious in nature (Zombies appear to come from all faiths equally), but may arise due to one's own sense of spiritual development.

9. What is a "deathstyle choice?"
How one chooses to face the rest of his or her death. "Will I become a mindless brain eating machine, or a productive member of society? How will I do this? Who will love me?" Zombies initially tend to wrestle with the opportunities available, and in more vitalist communities are often forced to eek a meager living haunting abandoned buildings, sewers and the like. It is to be hoped that as Zombie Awareness grows that fewer and fewer communities will force their Zombie populations underground, and will instead lend support.

10. What is Vitalism?
Vitalism is the prejudiced belief that life accounts for differences in character or ability based on living, and that a living state is superior to other states. It is discrimination or prejudice based on life. Misrepresenting the superiority of life to un-life has been so ingrained in societies around the world that most are totally unaware that this is a shameful condition, and blithely go about their daily routines unthinkingly insulting and oppressing the dead.

11. Do I know any Zombies?
Do you? You may! Many Zombies have found refuge in Police forces and other thankless but essential jobs. Postmen, Garbage men, delivery services, gas station clerks, all night coffee shop servers, lawyers, and script-writers often find themselves in the company of Zombie coworkers, though they may not realize it. There are Zombie doctors, nurses, and other staff members on call at many of the major hospitals around the nation. Much of the nation's overland freight is hauled by Zombies.

12. How can I tell if someone is a Zombie?
Some Zombies will of course be very simple to identify by their rotting grayish flesh. Do not confuse with health food store workers. Sometimes the identifiers are a bit more subtle, especially among the Newly Dead. Look for things like slurred speech, eyes like giblets, or a tendency to walk with arms outstretched in front (it seems natural, apparently). Signs do vary though, and the arms may be held stiffly at the side. Sometimes there may be a strong "earthy" odor, thinly disguised by some kind of natural sweet smelling perfume. Do not confuse with hippies.

13. What upsets Zombies?
Zombies are easily upset, but slow to really piss off. Zombies are sensitive about things like weight and skin conditions, but this kind of neurosis is often the result of constant haranguing by vitalists (Some Zombies have made brief careers as "super models" where the "dead" look comes in out of vogue, but they usually do not last, as they tend to push the envelope of vitalist acceptance). Pissing off a Zombie usually entails knocking off a limb. Never do this. Ever. We mean it.

14. When having a Zombie over for tea, is there anything I can serve to make him / her feel more at home?
Considering how rarely Zombies actually get invited anywhere, let alone someone's house, we feel that you should congratulate yourself on overcoming vitalism! Topics of conversations should steer away from obviously vitalist interests and beauty products. Sports is always safe, as long as you avoid saying things like "The Celtics really killed the Knicks last night!" Blame any smell on the cat. It may do well to have a spare brain tucked discretely away.

15. If I date a Zombie, are there any extra precautions I should take?
Flowers are appreciated, but Lilies are right out, unless your lover has a good sense of humor. A very good sense of humor. Despite what some films may have led you to expect, pregnancy is not an issue, but a condom is suggested on principle. You may want to gently suggest a little "role play" to your lover, and propose the use of a ball gag. Avoid oral.