Episode 311: Skipping School

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Going Home

When the zombie apocalypse strikes, a lot of people are going to find themselves at work, out shopping, or even out of town (especially if it strikes during core business hours). With maybe a few exceptions, every single one of those people will want to drop what they’re doing and get home (with obvious side-trips to collect their family, as applicable).

That’s a problem, of course. When everyone tried to get home at the same time, and everyone is in a big hurry, the infrastructure is going to grind to an absolute halt. The worse it gets, the more desperate and stupid people are going to be about it. Expect car accidents, fights, abandoned vehicles, road rage, and all sorts of other drama.

About This Episode:

I’m fairly certain that I’ve gone on record in the past for hating panel pieces. Of course, I must admit they come in handy from time to time. Today, for instance, I needed a quick hallway set that would get used once, maybe twice. I could brick-build it, but for what you see (almost nothing) and how much use I’ll get out of it, it’s tough to beat those panels.

That said, I still don’t like the big, prefabricated rock pieces and the like. Not only do they look bad, but building rocks is fun. Fun I say!

Discussion Question: Breakdown

How quickly do you think services would break down in a zombie-like disaster; that is to say, not a natural disaster like a tornado or a hurricane? Think of something like a sudden economic collapse, where people could potentially still be going to work for a couple days, but many will abandon their jobs once they realize they aren’t getting paid. How long will the power stay on? How long will the grocery stores stay stocked?

46 thoughts on “Episode 311: Skipping School”

  1. yolo, thats what i’d say to the meeting thing.

    • You only live once, so don’t miss any meetings?

      • no, don’t go to the meeting because you only live once. and how do you know about yolo?

        • He has this thing called “Google”. Maybe you saw it on Reddit?

        • Take a look at today’s LEGO Zombie Creation, AK-C4U

          Also, I may be an old man, but I’m not completely out of touch.

  2. Grocery stores would be one of the first casualties of a societal collapse as nearly everyone Zerg-rushes them to get supplies.
    Assuming they’re properly maintained and outside forces don’t interfere (i.e. power lines stay up, water pipes don’t get broken, etc.) power, water, phones and internet would stay running for a while, couple of days to maybe a few weeks tops, depending on how well – and recently – they received regular maintenance.
    Cities, suburbs and other major population centers would become war zones, though, as people fight over dwindling supplies. At least, the people who stay; we would see some pretty major exoduses of people beating feet for remote areas to either get away from the chaos and danger or seeking supplies like food, water or fuel.

    • This seems pretty reasonable to me. One thing I would add is that you would likely see a lot of localized problems, especially if people are getting crazy. A car taking out an electric pole would knock out power in a small area, for instance.

  3. I think Sam’s actions speak to the denial that many will face in the advent of a SHTF event. “Oh, it’s not that bad.” “Oh, it’s not what it looks like.” “I’m sure it will all blow over soon.”

    The first responsibility we have in the beginning is to recognize and accept what is going on. Don’t stay at your desk or job. Sure as hell don’t listen to your boss or have a meeting. Calmly and quickly gather your gear. Get into your car and beat it for your rally point. Don’t gawk. Don’t dawdle. Think. Observe and orient to the situation. Decide what you’re going to do. This is where your prior planning and gaming the situation comes into play. If you’ve considered what you would do in an event like this you can make a quick, deliberate, and coordinated decision. You know what you would do; now do it. Act. Put your plan into motion.

    I have discussed this with a colleague, a clinical psychologist. He notes that many peoples’ denial could be of a benefit to more prepared individuals. There will be a time, and I mean twelve to forty-eight hours, when folks will be sitting around ignoring the gravity of the situation, barring an instantaneous and violent event, like an earthquake. If you recognize the signs of the event, you’ll have almost a whole day to prepare for it. In that case, pack your BOV. Gas up. Get to your BOL.

    My wife and I have s plan. In any breakdown event, whether global, national, or local, we meet at my youngest boy’s school. Then we get the older one on the way home. Then we decide whether to stay of go.

    As for the stores getting cleaned out, and how quickly, I have made some observations. First, folks tend to run on autopilot. I have read that before hurricanes that there are often runs on eggs, milk, and bread. Think about that. Men, especially, tend to run on their conditioning. How many times do wives call their husbands at work and tell them to pick up these things on the way home. “Oh, I am at the grocery store. I must need eggs, bread, and milk.”

    We really try to keep enough staples at here to not have to go to the grocery store at least through a short-term event (e.g. a winter storm). In the long term, we spent years putting up long term items. Now that I am through school, we can work on filling the gaps that we ate through while I was studying instead of working.

    My advice is to avoid stores, and crowds in general, in any breakdown event, from the aftermath of an earthquake to an economic collapse. It’s too easy to get caught up in a riot and trampled underfoot, or shot by a zealous shopkeeper or police officer.

    • I really like how you describe it as “gaming the situation”. I think that’s a beautiful descriptor and a really solid mindset. Focus on figuring out how things work, what the problems are, and the most efficient way to overcome them to get to your objective.

      • And do it now. Don’t wait until you’re in the situation. Compare it to the old chestnut muscle memory. Make up your mind now. When the time comes, you’ve already made the decision. We do it every day with other decisions. I will not gamble today. I will not cheat on my wife today, etc.

        Why not apply the same mindset to preparedness. For example, if there is another September 11-style attack, I am activating my plan. I don’t care if the attack was across the country. I am activating my plan. I am getting my kids out of school and hunkering down or bugging out as needed. Same thing for an earthquake. Same thing for a chemical spill.

        Make up your mind now. When the time comes, you will be able to act with deliberate conviction.

        • He who hesitates is lost.

        • He who hesitates, meditates in a horizontal position.
          -Ed Parker

        • I’m curious what signs you would suggest to look out for? I think it’s better to bug out too soon rather than too late – worst case for too soon, you get fired for skipping work, worst case for too late you get stuck in the middle of whatever shit is going down. I don’t know if I’d consider a terrorist attack or chemical spill justification unless they were on my doorstep though – Sept. 11 and the oil spill in the Gulf didn’t really affect the majority of people’s day-to-day lives, after all.

  4. I agree that most of your heavily automated infrastructure, the electrical grid, gas, water, cellular, and sewage will continue on for a few day or maybe even a week or 2 in areas until stuff breaks and there is no-one around to fix it. Of course there will be some large localized loss of service due to zed activity like planes crashing and train derailments. As much as I liked “Zombileand” it was kind of annoying that the power was still on months after the outbreak.

    • “Of course there will be some large localized loss of service due to zed activity like planes crashing and train derailments. ”

      Ah, you beat me to the same point. Well said, Damage.

      • And so, how will Dave handle these things? That is, what will the collapse look like in his world? How long will the collapse actually take, in the back story?

        I’ve never read World War Z, because I thought Max Brooks’s “survival guide” was a douchey mess; but I wonder how a slow motion zombie takeover would be. Could the zombies take over before the survivors ran out of resources? Could the humans rally and put down the outbreak? Could a zombie outbreak work if they didn’t have the element of surprise?

        I’ve expressed my doubts about this before. I’ve yet to read a plausible scenario that didn’t involve zombies taking over in a hurry; and I don’t believe an outbreak would work with only one locus of origin. That is, if it started in Eastern Europe or Africa, and the CDC noticed it, it would not make it to the States. The fedcoats would seal the borders, close the ports and airports, and deploy the Air Force and Navy to make sure that nothing got through. That’s why it’s always a rapid outbreak already in the US. Once it’s within the borders, it’s harder to contain; but riddle me this, in zombie movies, why does the military never deploy air assets to eliminate the zombies? A couple of Longbow Apaches could take out a whole city full of zombies.

        • As far as my outbreak goes, I like the approach of localized failures at first, and then everything falling apart kind of slowly. I’m not revealing too much back story just yet, but we’ll see a bit more of this soon.

          As far as World War Z goes, I like the way the outbreak works.


          The outbreak starts in rural China, and the government tries to cover it up once they get wind of it. There’s a chapter on human smuggling to show how to travels. I think it’s fairly well done.

  5. I think a lot of people will stay plugged in and watch the world unravel. When disastrous events happen TV ratings spike and usually won’t subside until some type of conclusion occurs. Look at 911 – Desert Shield and the last War. People want to know what is going on but when the news is controlled by the government or worse no signal at all that is when the real panic will happens.

    • Good call here. I was glue to the TV and internet during 9/11, and I was working two jobs at the time. I couldn’t walk away. Katrina was similar.

  6. And looks like cubicle walls to me

  7. Perhaps I am hormonal but if we see her get eaten I will kill you Dave. =(

    • Well it looks like she better get eaten.. Then turned into a zombie, then a womb baby zombie.

      • Well I guess it would have to be further into the pregnancy wouldn’t it?

        Eaten only it is!

        • Yeah, right now it’s about the size of a small bean.

    • Dave will likely kill her “off screen”.

      It would be extra dramatic if there was a cutaway to Fatty’s face and look of helplessness and abject terror as the zombies tear her to shreds.

      Maybe a little blood spatter across the panel, between Fatty’s face and his girlfriend.


      • Man, did you find me book of tricks somewhere? I need to stop leaving that thing lying around.

        • There are only so many ways to skin a cat.

      • Bo that is so dramatic! Love it. lol

    • You’d come all the way to Michigan to kill little ol’ me? I’m flattered!

      • I have some free time this weekend so watch your back!

        • Hah!

  8. Are they in an elevator right now???

    • It’s a hallway; I should have tossed in a wide shot.

  9. In case Dave was wondering, real life keeps giving me interruptions that I have to deal with. This occasionally keeps me from commenting on the webcomics, hence no comment for this one as yet. I have no control over things like thunderstorms, etc. so will comment if I am able to get enough free time to find something to comment on. 😉 Until then, play well, everyone, and I’ll see you at the next comic comments, hopefully! 😀

    • I was wondering. Damn real life.

  10. Fatty’s a real company man. The world is falling apart; but he’s determined to go to the meeting.

    Our problem, for the most part, is that society has trained us not to trust our instincts. When that little voice in your head says “Something here’s not right”, listen to it. When the only other door inthe room says “Employees Only”, go through it. Point is, society’s mores are less important than our lives.

  11. Guys guess what

    • I got nothing.

  12. Anyone else want to guess?

  13. Today’s my Birthday!

    • Happy birthday

    • If you get any LEGO, post pics in the forum.

      • ^ This

      • I’ll try

  14. Thanks Dave!

  15. Fear The Walking Dead is such a good example of how a zombie outbreak should start out like. First you have all these little hints and small stories about people going missing and random acts of violence. They give you all these tiny little clues that something is not right but in a very subtle way and then It just goes downhill when the zombies get shot in front of a crowd of angry people providing a catalyst for the mass hysteria that soon follows. I personally liked that they chose Los Angeles as the show’s setting because it seems like a city that would be very unprepared for an apocalyptic event such as a zombie outbreak.