Last night was the mid-season premiere of the AMC hit television series “The Walking Dead” and boy, was it awesome. I will avoid the usual spoilers since some of you may not have seen the episode yet, but suffice it to say that the rest of the season should be pretty entertaining and eventful. I can hardly wait!
For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it focuses primarily on a small group of survivors struggling to live in a world populated by zombies. The apocalypse stems from a virus that infects everyone and causes those who die (or get bitten) to become reanimated corpses with a taste for flesh. It’s not unlike most zombie productions with two notable exceptions: this is a weekly series—which means zombie lovers like me can get a regular fix—and it is largely character-driven—which used to be the norm until computer-generated effects came along.
If you haven’t seen “The Walking Dead,” then I strongly suggest you take a look. Just be sure to tuck the kids into their beds first because it can get a little graphic at times.
As I was watching last night, I started thinking about the challenges we would face if the zombie apocalypse actually occurred. We all know the dead won’t start rising from the grave—at least I hope they won’t—but it is possible for a virus to produce the effects normally associated with zombie behavior. Heck, I even think some scientist proved it could happen, even if the chances are remote.
And last year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its website with tips on “Zombie Preparedness”—check it out here. Granted, it was meant to be humorous and to appeal to zombie lovers everywhere, but is it possible there could be more to it?
In the past, my answer would be a resounding “no,” but these days I’m not so sure. I’ve always had this theory that the government knows more than they tell the public—which I’m sure most of us have felt at one time or another—but release only enough to prevent panic and chaos. For instance, there is no doubt in my mind that an alien spacecraft has been recovered, perhaps in Roswell, New Mexico. At the very least, I believe our government has proof that aliens exist. They just can’t release that information because doing so could make “War of the Worlds” seem like a love-in.
People will simply freak out.
My theory also involves popular culture and the media since I feel these are the vehicles our government uses to condition us to the unknown and to prepare us for what lies ahead. Where a film like ET: The Extra-Terrestrial softens us up so we will be nice to any kind aliens who land here, one like Independence Day prepares us for aliens who are intent on humankind’s destruction.
So when the CDC offers tips on preparing for the zombie apocalypse, I take notice. And I hope to be ready once the dead walk the earth.
Of course, surviving the zombie apocalypse won’t be easy. You will have to be alert, resilient and, most importantly, resourceful. Basic necessities like food and shelter won’t be easy to come by. And other luxuries—like power, for instance—may disappear altogether. We simply won’t know until it happens.
The good news is that while I was watching last night’s episode of “The Walking Dead” and thinking about my own chances of survival during a zombie apocalypse, I believe I found a solution to the question of power. And while it may seem a little far-fetched, don’t forget that we’re talking about zombies here. They’re pretty far-fetched themselves.
The idea came to me as I was brainstorming ways of producing power once the grid went down. My first thought was an obvious one: hydroelectric power. I’m sure we’ve all seen those old water wheels that were once used to generate electricity. Okay, some of us may have only seen pictures of them, but I’m sure most of you know they existed.
Keep this in mind for a second and I promise to put all the pieces together soon.
I also started thinking about those fake rabbits they use in dog racing to keep the competitors moving around the track. The dogs focus on chasing the rabbit—ignoring the other canines also in hot pursuit—and eventually finish the race. This little tidbit helped bring my whole idea together.
If the zombie apocalypse does occur, then there will be one very hot commodity humans struggling for survival might overlook: the zombies themselves! Here you have an endless supply of undead energy, all of it focused on hunting down and eating humans. Why not channel this energy into something useful? And what could be more useful than power?
Check it out.
My idea is to build some kind of basic power station that includes a fenced-in area where zombies can be safely contained. Within this enclosure would be bars connected to a turbine, each of which could be pushed by “walkers” to generate kinetic energy and, therefore, electricity. Dangled in front of the walkers could be a delicious human—protected from attack by some kind of barrier—or even a bucket full of fresh meat to tantalize the them and keep them moving forward. The energy they produce could be fed into a battery array, providing almost endless power and likely enough to sustain a small community.
And if your zombies ever decompose or decay enough to prevent further use, all you have to do is round up some more. The world should be full of them by then.
So there you have it: one very specific way to keep the lights on once zombies populate the earth. It may never happen, of course, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t prepare for the worst, right?
And I don’t know about you, but life without television—even one that only plays DVDs—would be more of an apocalypse than even zombies could cause!