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It’s not Halloween, but …

Katherine Khorey | Thursday, November 6, 2008

That doesn’t mean we’re safe.

There is a potentially (un)deadly crisis for which, despite our readiness for every other conceivable emergency, we have not yet prepared.

The crisis of zombies.

Yes, zombies. As in the flesh-eating undead, not the misspelled drunk streaking kind.

We’d all like to think we’ll never have to face an uprising. Some of us say we can’t even be sure if zombies exist.

Then again, according to others, we couldn’t be sure about unicorns, either.

So what if?

Just to be on the safe side, let’s run through our campus zombie outbreak survival plan. We’ll call this system the Five Be’s.

1. Be Calm. If you’ve read any reports of local zombie activity before now, then you may already be somewhat prepared to face it yourself. Those of us who always skip to The Observer crossword, however, may be taken aback when everyone’s phone goes off in the middle of philosophy.

Don’t lose your head when you read your text message. Don’t lose your head when you discover the nature of the emergency. And don’t lose your head when your TA wants to eat your brain.

Take a breath.

After the alarm, you’ll probably find out more details about the hungry undead as you gripe around the DeBartolo lobby with a few equally disgruntled friends. You’ll look out the window and see someone you may know shuffle menacingly past, sans left arm. And I mean shuffle.

Again, don’t lose your head. These next few days, you’re going to need your brain.

2. Be Brave. Find your courage.

Breathe deeply. Say a prayer. Kiss that hottie from Econ. Crack a joke, however weak (“Hey, who moved that statue of Torso Guy from outside O’Shag?”), and make someone else try to smile. You’ll both feel better.

Or think of that one thing that really, really terrifies you. Like Furbies. Or quesataters. Or Torso Guy. Ask yourself if, in comparison, zombies are really so bad. My roommate would be quick to tell you that she’d rather tolerate zombies than spiders, though you can’t kill a zombie with your copy of The Red Queen. Maybe if Matt Ridley had cited enough concrete evidence…

Anyway, deal with the outbreak just as you’d deal with your Chemistry midterm. Don’t be overwhelmed. Just focus on living through it.

Because unless you’re some breed of copy editor who can live indefinitely off day-old donuts in the South Dining Hall basement, you will have to take steps to defend yourself and Our Lady.

3. Be Ready.

You won’t know how long the outbreak will last. Bolting out of O’Shag may not be an immediate option. You may be stuck with a Theology professor who holds it as an article of faith that his class is at least as vital to your salvation, and as obligatory, as Mass.

But you will have to leave at some point: the chicken fries in Waddick’s just won’t hold out forever.

Be prepared to fight when you step outside. Arm yourself. You don’t have to violate DuLac: to quote Ludo, “anything can be a weapon if you’re holding it right.” If you don’t have access to an appropriate piece of sporting equipment (after all, I’ve never seen a non-plastic cricket bat in the United States), then put your Calculus textbook or Norton Anthology to good use. Tie the book up in a jacket or pillowcase, and take a few practice swings before going outside. Remember to aim for the head.

4. Be Smart. Or, better put, be “special.”

Remember what you’re doing at Notre Dame, and do it to the best of your ability. Design and build barricades for the stairs (zombies won’t know how to use the elevator). Or better yet, design and build a trebuchet. Ration and distribute food. Sing Vespers. Put together attractive living spaces. Take your Russian or Chinese or Arabic and check up on the other side of the world. Practice whatever skill you’ve been honing for the past however many years. As for those of us without practical skills…well, we’ll read Paradise Lost aloud to everyone in the evenings after the cable goes out.

But for this system to work, everyone must participate with the right attitude.

5. Be Nice. Or, be “human.”

Be generous and helpful to those in need. If you have five unopened jars of peanut butter sitting around, run one up to those Classics enthusiasts camping out on the eleventh floor of Hesburgh or those film majors huddled in the DPAC basement, where the vending machines only take exact change. If you live on the second floor or above, let a refugee from the ground floor crash on your futon (unless she appears unable to use the elevator). Have patience with everyone who’s stuck with you.

In short, keep your Catholic character, or its functional equivalent, as intact as you can. We can have faith that the outbreak will pass.

But in the meantime, keep an eye on Torso Guy.

Katherine Khorey, a junior studying English and Russian abroad in Dublin, submitted this column before the election was resolved. She trusts, however, in both candidates’ zombie

survival policies.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.