Episode 220: Don’t Be Stupid

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Zombie Cliché Lookout: Staying Behind

When it comes to surviving the zombie apocalypse, one of the most fundamental rules is to avoid zombies at all costs, but in most zombie movies I’ve seen, there’s always someone in a big hurry to go against convention. Yeah, that person is generally already bitten, or they’re making some big heroic sacrifice to help the group get to safety. Regardless, it happens with a good deal of frequency in zombie stories.

Sometimes, the person staying behind is doing so for quite another reason: they can’t hack survival. There are a lot of potential reasons for this. Perhaps they’ve lost too many people who are dear to them, maybe they are being forced into a group where they’ll be marginalized and abused, or perhaps their psychology simply won’t allow them to adapt to a changing world.

Whatever the reason, they’ve given up the fight. It’s better to break it off with them quickly and move along rather than trying to talk them out of it and potentially placing yourself in danger.

About this Episode:

Some of you have asked why I bothered introducing these new characters if they were just going to be cannon fodder. It’s a fair question. Lyle was always destined for a short life in the comic, but Karen wasn’t supposed to go quite so quickly. However, I accidentally named the character the same name as a character in Zombie Outbrick. Figuring that overlap would do neither of us any good – we’re already two LEGO® zombie comics – I decided to off the character and move on.

Discussion Question: Mental Preparedness

We talk a lot about survival around here. Weapons, food, vehicles. Where we’re going, how we’d fight the zeds. But how are we going to prepare mentally for the rigours of life in the zombie apocalypse?

I don’t know about you, but I work at a desk, in front of a computer all damn day. Going from that to running from zeds and scrounging for food is going to be quite an adjustment.

79 thoughts on “Episode 220: Don’t Be Stupid”

  1. That’s one of the few intelligent decisions I’ve seen in this webcomic! 😀 Murphy should stop being stubborn and go already! There’s already a horde of zombies around and with that many it’s not going to be long before they want fresh meat! 😉

    • Very true. Sticking around could be bad for his health.

      • I think you should have karen pull out a grenade or something, and just go suicide bomb that mini-hoard, JK, while that would be pretty epic, it wouldn’t be the best approach to this problem.

  2. I go to a school, study hard, and exercise regularly. I know I am not capable of killing someone, but I am capable of seeing blood. That is my biggest concern, you see the mental trauma of killing a person or being in the presence of such act is something that you will remember daily. You might think that because it is a zombie and you are prepared for it( you have been preparing with video games and movies) it might not seem so hard. But the reality is that it is very hard. You are killing a dead person, even cops and soldiers have a hard time around the dead, including all of the psychological programs they attend to to overcome it. When Zeds hit, there won’t be a psychiatrist next to you helping you out. You will have to do it by yourself. The least of worries at the start of an outbreak is shelter or food, it is to get convinced you have no other choice other than bashing your friends, workers, or even families brains in order to live on.

    • Very well said, Phantom.

  3. To play further with the topic – would you have an easier time adjusting to the basic survival-at-all-costs life of a zombie event or re-adjusting to life afterwards in the cleanup? It’s kind of like how (stereotypically) WWII GIs returned to take up life in the suburbs, mowing their lawns… or couldn’t deal and ended up either as noir detectives or Hell’s Angels.

    I know that re-adjusting would be harder. I spend my days as a substitute teacher – I’m already used to adjusting to the worst of possible situations with an eye to moment-by-moment survival. The only difference is that there’s fewer I deal with looking for brains… (ZING!)

    • Readjustment would be a hell of a challenge. Although I wonder if it would be mitigated by the fact that everyone would have similar experiences (varying by degree, of course).

      • I recall that my sixth grade teacher had once housed a veteran 2 years after ww2 and he would be screaming and thrashing in the night awaking with visions of the terror he saw around him. War is as much as a torture device as it is a weapon.

        • A prof of mine mentioned that he’d never been able to buy either German or Japanese goods after growing up during WWII. If the zombies end up selling things after the peace…

        • I had great uncles that were like that. Buying a Honda or a Volkwagen would get you shunned.

        • Thank goodness the Danes didn’t go utterly quisling on the allies, eh?

  4. Ahh sacrifice, a most noble deed indeed…

    For the discussion question, I believe a good game of chess, some storytelling, or giving of lessons is good enough to keep oneself mentally prepared. Of course, if you can’t run away from zombies, beign awesome at chess isn’t going to help you.

    • Hah, that strategic elements might help a bit.

      • but chances are you won’t have 8 people willing to be completely expendable, also having 2 people with jet packs would be very hard to come by.

        • Hah

        • I don’t get it.

        • pawns and knights, all this chess talk makes me feel like a sir!

        • ooooh 8 pawns! Hah! …I’m such an idiot…

  5. I guess to help cope with the loss of the internet, I’d have to take something sentimental. In a zombie apocalypse world, odds are my intentions to create a series would go unfulfilled, so my drawings would sadl be left behind, except for maybe a few of my favourites I will carry around.
    I think I’d also need to take two Yu-Gi-Oh decks so that in times of rest, I could play against someone in my group so we all get some fun playing games to take the tension off.

    • Having something sentimental seems like a great coping mechanism to me. Good thoughts here, Digihuman.

      On a related note, what sort of drawings do you do?

      • Well, I draw these people. Funny looking people. They don’t have crotches, shins (though they have metal substitute shins), shoulders or necks. They live in an artificial inteligence program called “the Digital Realm”, and are called Digihumans (hence my username now). My name is a URL link to my deviantart. I don’t upload all my stuff for the series but some of it’s there.

        • Interesting stuff (I never think to click people’s username) Digihuman. I dig some of these rougher pencil/charcoal sketches.

        • It’s pencil. I never use charcoal. And thanks. ^_^

        • when i click on your name, it just leads me to some strange site with daemon art at a person’s (~lugia61617) profile.

        • oohhh never mind. its your profile ok, i also found the gallery… sry for the misunderstanding.

  6. This is where I think I’d excel at beyond most others if anything. I’m great with the coping of a different life style, and over all changing my habits from a layed back life style to a very tension strict life style.

    Plus I’m a teenager, anarchy is perfect for angsty teenagers!

    • Though the teenagers of my generation will most likely be to skinny and langthy to do any harm or any good.. So they’ll be zombie fodder none the less.

      • That description – skinny and langthy – made me smile.

        • The problem is that, that’s absolutely true. It’s kinda like a de-evolution or something. Getting smaller and weaker and easier to break for some old raisin… I would also like to add that they aren’t getting any brighter either.

        • It’s a style. There’s plenty of counter examples with childhood obesity being so prevalent. Definitely not good.

          And it doesn’t get better as you get older. I’m 31 and I sit on my ass all day in front of a computer. Staying in shape is tough when you job demands that you spend most of your waking hours being so sedentary.

        • I pride myself as well as my friends as being big husky fellas that seem threatening as people, but once you know us you trust us beyond belief. It’s a system I’ve come to rely on. I think the anorexic shape, or the diabetes prone shapes are rather voluntary to be honest with you.

          I know it doesn’t get better as one gets older, but I’m going to try to stay in my husky/lumber jack/woodsman shape (Large, broad, and gruff) as long as possible. I’m looking forward to traveling and taking classes in self defense (fire fight self defense, there’s a professional class that teaches how to be a professional body guard that I want to get into a year or so after college if I’m not dying of starvation by then. Or being controlled by an angry over seeing hand, be it debt collectors or the government.)

          I do feel sorry for those of you that live in the city, and that’s what you do. I’m just starting up a job as a cashier at this one place, but I’m out helping moving cars and lifting stuff… Just don’t want to use my back.

  7. I’ve spent a few years studying Taekwondo. Building mental as well as physical toughness. A good portion of my childhood was spent being relatively poor. So I’m familiar with missing meals and doing without luxuries. I’ve also been involved in several automobile accidents (more than eight) a few of them rather violent. What do auto accidents have to do with mental toughness? Well, they are sudden and often violent (I once flipped a car four times). During those accidents I’ve never freaked out, panicked, or frozen. I will survive, or die trying.

    • Regarding the Taekwondo. I have no intention of trying to fight a zed hand to hand.

      • 1. I’d really like to take some martial arts classes here soon. I really want to do Krav Maga, but there’s no where nearby that does it.

        2. How the hell have you managed to be in so many car wrecks? That’s absolutely insane.

        • 1. I lucked into martial arts. One of my good friends is a 3rd degree black belt, and he wanted to open a school. I immediately volunteered to be one of his first students. It was an awesome couple of years. I got up to purple belt and then he blew out his knee the second time. The doctors told him to stop martial arts or stop walking. I still practice what I’ve learned with my brother in law.
          2. Not all of the accidents were my fault, but I was a horrible driver. Too easily distracted, and often sleep deprived. I’m better now. I actually avoid roller coasters because they bring back memories.

        • Pretty cool about the martial arts (not so much your buddy’s knee, yikes).

          The car thing. Yeah. I’m glad you’re a better driver now.

  8. There is no way to mentally prepare for death. I would look at the apocalypse as a game. It would probably be the most helpful thing to keep me straight.

    • Yeah, preparing for that sort of thing is tough to impossible, but I think building mental toughness and the ability to be flexible is going to help significantly.

      • On another possible answer to this topic. Staying busy has helped so many people through so much death and a change in life style. Keeping your mind off of it and making sure you are getting things done and learning things will help you both in all practical mentality, and the chemicals it all sets off will actually over all be healthier for you.

        • Did you watch/read Generation Kill, Calicade? There’s some really interesting things in there about distraction and keeping busy during stressful times.

        • No sir, I haven’t read that book yet.. Perhaps I should look about to getting me a copy and reading it?

          With in the last 3 years around 4 members of my family had died… My family just kept on working and kept ourselves busy. The house hold was only quiet for the day… The days following there was talk and keeping ourselves busy with different misc tasks.

        • I haven’t read the book, so I can’t speak to it’s quality, but the HBO miniseries was extremely well done.

    • “There is no way to mentally prepare for death. ”

      That’s not true at all. Acceptance.

      • Is it possible to accept it before it’s here? Something like this I mean, not something like a terminal cancer patient accepting their fate.

        Honest question here, not being snarky.

        • To accept death before it has happened? Yes I think it’s possible.

          In my situation I think the mass ending of the world population would be relatively easy for me. Not because I’m a hateful terrorist, or that I want everyone to die, but each human being has gone from being a human to being a drone. It’s sad really and individualism is frowned upon. Those who seek anti-conformity tend to over do it, and those who run to conformity just make me sick. There’s very few people that know the correct balance of individualism and independence sadly.. But those are the people that I will cry for when they die. No that does not involve political leaders, famous people, or family members. It involves actual people that are unique to themselves as a human.

          Now I spent around 30 minutes trying to find the exact quote from Ralph Emerson’s book “Self Reliance”, but I could not find it.. Would have finished this up rather nicely.

  9. I’m excited for the ZA to hit just so I wouldn’t have to pay bills anymore. I think the relief of that would keep me stable. lol

    • Hah. That is one big benefit.

    • That’s one thing that the Z-Poca will help with for sure. The fast life style some of you will go away and will slowly become a slow life style that is more about living day to day rather than the whole picture. Though with a slower life style a person can learn a lot more and become better versed in multiple skills.

      • I remember in a college anthropology class learning about subsistence hunters and gatherers and how their lives were, in a lot of ways, better than ours. Stress was negligible, not a ton of worry about social/professional ladder climbing, keeping up with the Joneses, etc. It was quite interesting.

        Of course throwing zombies into the mix is bound to raise the general stress level a bit.

        • I’ve read about that about subsistence hunters & gatherers as well. We are not really built to be sedintary but that’s what all these super awesome gadgets has done to us.

          I guess I can look forward to dropping a few pounds as well. Nothing motivates one to take up jogging like a rabid horde of zombies, right?

        • I’m trying to do more walking/jogging now. I hate running, so that’s the best I’m going to do. Imaging zeds are hobbling after me might be a good mental motivator.

        • I enjoy quick parkour like sprints, but that’s because I haven’t had the years put on my joints to wear them down just yet. I think walking will be the biggest thing to learn how to do.. Perhaps periodicly quick sprints for a few seconds to slowly gain a rather good lead on the undead.

          Yeah I’ve planned out my walking/sprinting for how far one would have to get before being safe for the time being.

          Now if they are running zombies? I’ll quickly start sneaking every where, or I would learn how to will through my need to breath from time to time as I’d be running like hell.

        • I don’t want to advertise a certain phone that I don’t even own myself but… have you heard of this?

        • @Yatkuu – That looks seriously cool. Anyone out there with an iPhone who has tried this?

        • Our friend Zombiemutts’ got one! 🙂

        • Tiff had done that!

        • @Tiff – How about a game review to mix things up? Could be cool.

        • “I enjoy quick parkour like sprints, but that’s because I haven’t had the years put on my joints to wear them down just yet.”

          Calicade – i just re-read your post. Are you calling us old? lol

        • My nephew loved Zombie Run. He has it for his Android phone.

        • >.>
          Yes.. But I'm trying to do it in the most respectful way possible. BY USING MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE!

          In all honesty I know that the abilities I have now won't be here forever, but attempting to maintain them is rather important and I will be aiming for that. Even when the elements are against me.

          They say you are only as old as you feel.. So perhaps being a gamer will help me in the long run?

    • Lol! Screw taxes! 😛

  10. Meditation…creative building…playing with my cats…hm, I feel relaxed already!

    • Sounds like good tactics. I never tried meditation, and I’m a dog person, so I guess it’s creative building for me.

    • Dead Coat, did you know that house cats would die without a certain chemical which is in their food? I would suggest that if cats are one of the things that help you relax/stay sane in a ZA, cat food should be one of the main things on the list.

      • l3m0nm4n – how do feral cats survive? Just wondering…

        • they eat other cats, also, many people leave bowls of cat food outside, also, many times, when they eat rodents, the rodents will have recently eaten something containing that, and I meant most cats.

      • I really didn’t know about that! I’ll need to carry some cat food around, then!

        • I’m not surprised you didn’t know it, since it’s not true. Honestly, who would believe something like that? What would cats have done before we were around, huh?

          …OK, technically it is true, but the same is true of every other animal on earth! Anyone can suffer from malnutrition if they don’t get enough of various different chemicals.

  11. Well I could probably get adjusted in a few weeks (3-4 weeks). I’ve always been able to adapt pretty quick.

    • Yeah, I think most of us would take a bit longer than that.

      Of course, those who took too long probably wouldn’t make it.

  12. You know, i’ve been watching this site for a looonnng time,as well as the comic,and i gotta say its going great dave.
    But, being at school and not exactly “sport fitness” i think i could adapt pretty quickly to this, being that i talk to my Z-day buddies about this whole scenario every day, and dont necessarily have zombie nightmares.

    • Thank you for your kind words.

  13. Well, I see we all have different methods for being mentally prepared for the apocalypse. I’m nit sure how well they would mix but….

  14. I’m going to revive the Zombie Survival Plans section with questions that will be different from what Dave asks every comic. Putting my own little twist to them to hopefully draw more traffic through the gravey– I mean Zombie Survival Plans page.

    • Dave should think of adding a tab to that in the top.

      • Easier said than done, believe it or not. I need to do some work behind the scenes here soon to address a couple items like that.

  15. You killed off a character for me? How touching. 😉

    I really like the depth you’ve been getting with your focus, with the zombies all out-of-focus in the background. The last panel, where even Murry is blurphy – er, I mean, Murphy is blurry – really places a great emphasis on Karen in what must be some of her final moments.

  16. Keep in mind, someone might stay behind because of rage. These zombies have most likely robbed a person of everything they love. Making one last stand to avenge the fallen and take down as many of these bastards as possible may be another motivation for staying behind while the others escape.

  17. If she really wanted to underline her point, she could have literally shoved her bite wound in his face.

    Mental preparation? Well, one of the biggest causes of mental stress is the unknown/unexpected. Simply considering the possibility will help. Having made physical preparations will both reduce just how bad things are for you, and will give you confidence. I seriously doubt that things would be as bad as fighting in the world wars, if you think that a group of zombies is more dangerous than a group of soldiers, there’s a bridge I’d like to sell you…

    Also, people are a lot tougher than a lot of people seem to think. For example, a lot of past comments have mentioned war veterans and suggest that anyone living through a zombie outbreak would be emotionally crippled. Well, setting aside that I don’t think an outbreak would be as bad as the front lines, I would point out to these people that only one in ten veterans suffer from PTSD. It isn’t an automatic thing by a long shot.