Day 58: Decide what skills to pass on in your family.

There is only one skill that it is absolutely essential I pass on to my children: zombie hunting.

“But,” you might wish to retort, “zombies aren’t real!” To which I answer: “Just because you never see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”

There are zombies among us, don’t doubt it. They don’t exist in apocalypse-inducing numbers, but they’re out there, little packs of brain-eating, foot-shuffling, texting-all-the-time undead pests. Why don’t people know about them? Because I hunt them down and kill them, that’s fucking why.

I’m not the only zombie hunter, of course – this is more a Men in Black thing than a Buffy the Vampire Slayer thing. Except, obviously, that extraterrestrials and vampires aren’t real, and zombies are.

When the time comes, I’ll teach my children how to kill zombies, so that they can carry on after me. Really, though, it’s not that hard. You just remove the head or destroy the brain. Simple.

In the movies, you always see people shooting at zombies. It works, I guess, but it’s only fun the first few times. The best tool for the job, in my opinion – and no less an authority than Max Brooks agrees – is the monk shovel. You can get a nice workout dispatching zombies with one of those; it’s a hell of a lot more fun than going to the gym.

True, the monk shovel might not be the best choice for dealing with a horde of zombies, but those are pretty rare (thanks, in large part, to the efforts of zombie hunters such as myself). Most of the time, zombies roam in packs of ten or a dozen – a good number for the kind of close-quarters combat to which the monk shovel is suited.

There aren’t many places, anymore, where zombie hunting is a full-time job – Siberia, the Amazon, parts of southern California. Most of us are unpaid volunteers, like a neighborhood watch or a volunteer fire department: we have day jobs, we have families, we go to the grocery store and the park and the local pub. We also happen to kill zombies.

Well, sometimes – as I mentioned above, the zombie population is really quite small. I only run across a cluster of zed-heads every six months or so; most of the job is just patrolling, keeping an eye out for evidence that there are zombies about. I won’t lie: it’s not as glamourous as it sounds.

It has its moments, though. Last spring, I was out on patrol in the early morning, and came out of a wooded area, on the top of a small hill, with an open meadow stretching for miles in front of me. And there, a few hundred yards away, the morning sun shining brightly on them, were a dozen beautiful zombies. They still had most of their limbs, and they looked like they’d been construction workers or farm hands – strapping lads, the sort that still have some fight in them. I took a deep breath, channeled William Wallace, and charged.

It was glorious, and I can’t wait to share those moments with my children.


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