Episode 690: Denial

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Hard Truths

Carl Sagan once said “Better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy.” There’s a lot of wisdom in this. After all, Sagan was a pretty smart guy. I’ve seen this phrase quoted or nearly quoted in a variety of places, often via the token “smart” character in fiction. Tyrion Lannister of A Song of Ice and Fire (AKA Game of Thrones) says it almost exactly, for instance. The take away: this is a smart idea that smart people have.

Now you can (and should) apply this maxim to your everyday life, but we’re here to talk about zombies, so let’s stay on task. I mentioned last episode that, while a positive attitude is essential, it’s important that it’s well seasoned with realism. Thinking positively will help keep you moving and motivated to continue doing the things that are necessary for survival. Taking this too far, however, might just cause you to take things for granted. Positive assumptions like this can be deadly mistakes when there are zombies lurking about.

About this Episode:

You’ll notice that Sam doesn’t get a line in today’s episode (this will be a trend for a little bit). This is intentional for a couple reasons. Foremost, because this little story arc isn’t about Sam; it’s about Tara and her dad. He’s there but only as a minor participant. Second, because I think it’s kind of funny that they’re arguing about Tara going with him without him actually agreeing to anything.

Discussion Question: Leaving Someone

Here’s a tough one: what would it take for you to leave a loved one? In this case, you can be reasonably sure that you won’t see them again, nor will they survive long on their own. That said, you can also be fairly certain that staying with them won’t do much for either of your survival chances. Stay together, and you’ll both likely die.

24 thoughts on “Episode 690: Denial”

  1. I get it: He wants Tara to be safe, and the problems he’s got with his medications means he’ll become a zombie sooner or later, and a liability to Tara. He can very likely see that coming, and doesn’t want her to be suffering if he becomes a zombie and puts her at risk of getting bitten. 😀

    • That’s a lot of it. He’s also worried about her missing chances to save herself because she’s worried about him and he’s too weak to do anything about it.

  2. What I don’t get, though, is how Gramps knows Sam has friends: “You should go with them”, not “You should go with him” – Sam hasn’t mentioned the fact that he’s reunited with his friends to either Tara or Gramps, yet. 😀

    I reckon Gramps saw something, but either doesn’t want them to know, or just is slow to tell them how he knows things. For an old guy he sure is turning out to be smarter than one would give him credit for! 😀

    • Sam mentioned them to Tara before; Tara likely talked to her dad about it.

      • Hmm. If this is true, I need for you to see if you can work out the archives, and arrange them so that the Guest Comics appear in a separate set of entries for them, so I can more easily track down this story. It gets time-consuming to have to use the “back” button all of the time.

        And yes, I know this will likely require you to find some free time to do this, take all that you need! 😉

  3. There are no typo alerts for today’s episode! 😀

    • Wow, two in a row?

      • When you’re on a roll, watch out for the speed bumps! 😉

  4. I have a Discussion Question: Unexpected badass: Which type of person will be more likely to surprise everyone in a zombie apocalypse and come out on top of a heap of dead zombies that have been taken out mostly by their actions. Who do you think will make it through a zombie apocalypse, and why? 😀

    • Nice one!

  5. @Brick Void

    I would like to believe that the heavy set nerdy people will stand up and be counted among the zombie survival elite…for completely biased reasons >.>

    • You have to save it for monday!

      • Not sure the Nerds would be the new elite!
        There is one TV show that addressed this nicely – “Revolution” (look it up on Wikipedia). It is not a Zombie show but it is set in a post-apoc future world where electricity is gone. One of the main characters is this slightly overweight geek/nerd guy. He used to run an IT company, he was rich, had a beautiful wife and pretty much everything he ever dreamed of… unfortunately for him the new rules don’t suit him all that well (but he is not doing too bad either).

  6. “…permitte me premum ire et sepelire patrem meum.”
    “…sequere [eum] et dimitte mortos sepelire mortos suas.”

    • This is an English comments section. What’re you jabbering about? 😀

      • It’s from the Vulgate (slightly modified), and it was the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the subtext of today’s update.

        “…suffer me first to go and bury my father.”
        “…follow [him], and let the dead bury their dead.”

        I can just imagine her not wanting to leave her father, but after he died of whatever it is that ails him, she would be more than willing to go with Sam. Her father is the anchor keeping her in danger, but the only thing he wants is for his daughter to be safe (especially since it seems like he’s a goner soon anyway).

        I wonder if he won’t do something that ends his own life (directly or indirectly) in order to remove the obvious obstacle to her leaving.

        • I don’t get, from that interpretation, how the dead would bury their dead? What’s a corpse going to do in order to bury another corpse?

          It takes hands to lift a spade, a brain to move it in the direction needed, and a heart and lungs to pump blood around your body to power muscles that do this. Where do they get all of this nonsensical text from anyway?

          Sorry if i don’t seem like I understand much of this, but I really don’t understand. 😀

        • The idea is that the person who was looking to do a thing he thought was important before doing the thing that was TRULY important had misplaced priorities.

          In this context, if Tara waited with her father to stand by his side as he entered his inevitable decline and soon died, she’d miss her opportunity for safety and life, but for what? No, the people who are worried about such things are already dead, they just don’t realize it yet. Their death is coming for them soon because the priorities with which they guide their actions will put them in grave danger and/or waste their resources. In this case the “dead” that wait around to bury their dead are figuratively so, but will soon be literally so. A less poetic statement would be “let the soon-to-be dead bury their dead.”

          This is precisely the metaphor behind The Walking Dead’s title. Yes, the zombies are literally “the walking dead,” but so are the characters. Everyone breathing in that show is “as good as dead,” they’re just waiting for time to bring that one mistake or slip that makes it literal for them, too.

          In the original context, it was a man asking to follow Jesus. Jesus says, “come along” and the man says “Oh, but I have to do this thing that I think is important first.” In that way, the message was “let the spiritually dead bury their physically dead” or “let those not getting eternal life in the next world [i.e. going to be dead] worry about the things of this world.” It was still about misplaced priorities (putting the “important” over the “really important”), just a different sort.

        • Thanks, now I get it. 😀 Sometimes I just don’t quite get some concept and need it explained to me, I must be getting old! 😀

  7. Once again, depends of the loved one himself… Not sure I’d try to convince an elder (parent, grand parent) to leave. Not sure I’d even try to convince my wife to leave.

    But I’d certainly, if absolutely necessary of course, try to entrust my daughter to someone I know can protect her. Now I guess a person of trust here is kind of luxury… It would have to be a situation where I’ll have to reasonably feel I can’t do anything more to save her. I mean she is the only person on Earth I’d give my life for in a second.

  8. Well everyone avoided the question of the day so let me jump in on that with just one word: Civilians

    Military and to an extant police and other first responders have to leave loved ones behind all the time with the expectation they will not see them again. This does not only apply to the deploying member but the ones staying behind. I have seen more than once where the deployed person has come back to a death in the family or to the family having abandoned them while they were gone.

    What does it take to leave a loved one behind knowing you may not see them again. A hard look at reality and a commitment to doing what is right no matter what your personal feelings are.

  9. Hey guys, there have been a few comments here lately about the theory of evolution. By accident I stumbled upon an internet gem called the Darwin Awards and I thought I would share it here:
    The site appears to be dead as there have been no updates since 2014 but there is still a ton of fascinating stories to browse.

    • This link is actually better:

  10. I use to read this comic back in 2011 and forgot about it for awhile but i recently found it again and today I had the time to catch up on years of content and I’m glad I did, love this comic.