Episode 689: Foregone Conclusions

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Realism

Okay, before anyone comments about the subject of realism in a zombie story, let me say that I’m talking about people considering their situation realistically. I know zombies themselves aren’t realistic (or are they?), but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for the sake of the story. That out of the way, let’s discuss being realistic as a survival strategy, shall we?

I’ve said many times before that maintaining a positive attitude is incredibly important. That said, there are limits. People should be positive, but never to the point of ignoring the facts. Walking through life with rose colored glasses can get you into trouble, and if zombies are a part of life, it can get you killed. The takeaway? Stay positive, but make sure you’re looking at your situation realistically and taking everything into account. Missing a variable because it doesn’t fit your world view is a sure recipe for disaster.

About this Episode:

Tara’s dad might not be with it all the time, but it seems that he at least knows what’s going on with him and his health. He has, indeed, even come to terms with what that means and the time he has left. There were a few different ways I could have gone with this character, including one in which he didn’t understand his health situation, making things that much harder for Tara and, by extension, Sam. I’ll go into why I decided to go this way in future episodes.

Discussion Question: A Sick Relative

Let’s say that you’re like Tara, and have a loved one with a very serious chronic condition. That’s hard enough as is, but it becomes harder still in a zombie survival situation. In that situation, do you think it would make things easier or harder if they actually understood everything?

14 Comments

BrickVoid

I kind of wonder how well this fits Gramps’ character, he seemed a bit edgy when he first confronted Sam. 😀

Dave

He did indeed. He can be cantankerous and still aware of his situation.

Steqm powered spam

Sanity is realitive.

Its important to remember that when dealing with people who dont always act up to normal standards of sane.

The thing to remember with people who are suffering from a mental ailment is that their actions are logical…to them. Which isnt always logical to us, or practical. So even if they realize that there is a danger their solution to avoiding it may not be the best…

Dave

That’s a very good point, and something that can be very hard to remember when things get – ahem – crazy.

rattraveller

This can be true with cultural differences too. Whether from a different place or time we do not always understand the way people act unless we understand how they adopted those attitudes.

pi3rk

About today’s question, I think it’s all about who’s sick…

An elder might understand what’s going on, but what if it’s a child… Parents already trying to keep him safe, staying away of zombies, bad human beings, but also have to deal with sickness of their beloved child…

Someone ill before the ZA might very well know things won’t be easier, but once again, people will react in various way… I still think this is going to be easier.

Dave

Excellent point! That is a very big plot point in Night of the Living Dead, after all. Leads to several characters dying.

Ballinabricky

I have lost track of how much time has gone by since the ZA. I recall you saying how it was deceptively short (like several weeks, meaning we’re still in about February of 2010 in the story).

If that’s the case, people who have gotten around would certainly know the extent of the problem and the failure of emergency/government services, but not people who successfully hunkered down at home.

Even then, people like Sam could be excused for thinking (or hoping) that the problem, while dire, is localized (keeping fingers crossed that a quarantine has been set up and the National Guard/FEMA/CDC might yet arrive in the near future in force). People like Tara might still be thinking the danger could be past in a few more days and that refrigerated meds will again be available.

Of course, if the meds were insulin, her father will probably not survive even a few days without them, but if they are something dimentia-related (or something else), it could be possible that no great negative effects would linger. (“Dad, there’s no more of your heart meds. You’ll have to just take it easy until we can get more. It’s probably best if you stay in bed, we wouldn’t want you to overexert yourself.” — etc)

The thing that speaks against them being insulin is that the power has presumably been off for a long time, and he’s not dead yet.

If it really is February in a cool part of the country, though, maybe the meds are okay. The interior of the pharmacy would have been the same temperature as the outside (maybe a little cooler, as it received less sun), and the meds can safely be stored on the roof or something for the time being (again, if you can shade a nook).

Dave

You are correct that not a lot of time has passed, and a couple of weeks sounds about right. I’ve been trying to increase the speed of time in the comic lately, and am flirting with the idea of jumping ahead a little bit for exactly the reason you’re pointing out: people have too much of an excuse now to be hopeful.

Ballinabricky

Perhaps you could build toward the thing that takes away the hope. TWD did this when Rick finally made it to Atlanta (granted, they did that in the first or second episode). That said, it wasn’t until they actually made it to the CDC that hope was definitively taken away.

You know, there’s no reason why there shouldn’t be hope right now, but we (the readers) have a sense that there is not for two reasons
1) for us, years have passed
2) we have an expectation of a complete societal break-down based on movies and tv

Neither of those is necessarily the case for the people in the comic.

You could have Sam and the others catch wind of a National Guard/FEMA enclave or safe-zone. They make it there only to find it had been overrun and perhaps there is one soldier or scientist that can fill them in definitively on the rest of the country/world. It would be then that they found out that help had been planned and destroyed and no one is coming.

Conversely, they could get access to a short-wave radio and some power and find that there are people out there still trying to make contact. That might even prompt their next migration. Who should it be? A guy with a bunker? The government? An Alexandria (or Terminus) style community?

Honestly, at a few weeks, the government response probably *hasn’t* broken down yet. The president is likely holed up in an underground bunker making periodic short-wave or emergency channel addresses while a military response is being conducted in the field. I would imagine they would be avoiding cities but somewhat successfully guarding small sites like power stations, water treatment plants, small airports, and military installations (for the purpose of keeping them running).

rattraveller

Long term illnesses do not always have to be life threatening. I like I think many of us know more than a few people with varying degrees of Autism. Dealing with them in a regular everyday world can be trying but in a world where you have to watch your every action could result in your death makes you wonder what you might have to do.

There is also the medication they need to keep going. Are trips to the pharmacy needed if it is just to help keep an Autistic person calm.

Dave

Right you are. Depending on what is affecting Tara’s Dad, he could be just fine physically for quite a while. That said, I have been purposely vague about his condition, mostly because I don’t know a lot of about medical conditions and I don’t want to write myself into a corner.

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