First off, I just want to welcome the newer readers, and thank the returning readers who’ve hung around for this 3-year ride that has been “The Next Thirty Years” You guys are why I do this. You guys are actually the reason that I am where I am in my life, and damnit if that’s not kinda cool.
Anyhoo, back to the blog:
So I will be the first to admit that I jumped on The Walking Dead train a little late (2 weeks before the premier of season 5). Thanks to an internet connection that can handle bandwidth like a Japanese guy handles hotdog eating competitions, and a Netflix account, I was able to get caught up on the first 4 seasons with about 20 minutes to spare for the premier of seasons 5.
As I sat down for that premiere, I felt like I was part of a collective consciousness of people who were as excited as I was about the coming season, and it was kind of cool. Then Season 5 started off like molasses being poured through cold pipes in the winter in Alaska. Then there was the mid-season break that felt like losing a limb in a wood chopping accident that kept giving ghost pains.
But then…The Finale…
Oh. Em. Gee.
Never before in my life has a TV show episode been so good that I actually considered what I learned about life from it. I generally save “life lessons” for things like near-death experiences and hangovers. So without further ado:
The 6 Things The Walking Dead Taught Me About Life
1. Swords Don’t Run Out of Bullets
Seeing the group make the transitions from guns to swords/knives/machetes spoke to me on a level much deeper than just simple necessity. To me, it is a simplification built from experience. In life we understand that less can be more. Guns are complicated in that they require ammunition, which in the “zombpocalypse” is a finite resource. They also require maintenance and a degree of skill. I can give a monkey a machete and teach it to hack at the head of anything that smells funnier than an unwashed human. Simplify. Simplification (which I am shocked is actually a word) is essential in our lives. Too often are we putting a premium on the complicated things in our lives like bad relationships, toxic people, and unneeded baggage, instead of just pulling out our knife, and stabbing something in the brain.
2. Humanity Will be the End of Humans
The walking dead is not my first experience with the post-apocalyptic/zombie genre. Not to go all hipster here, but I was reading zombie books before it was cool. One common theme that you see is that humanity costs more people their lives than savagery does. Trust me, it creeps me out to even type me that, but it is true. When you are in a survival situation, that dark little caveman part of your brain activates in ways that you’ll never understand unless you’ve been in a “life or death” situation. Survival is hard-wired into our brains wayyyy more than the basic moral inputs of humanity are. Survival transcends race, religion, or creed. I hate to be the one to point this out to you, but our brains are way more animal that you think they are. You know what happens if you are a bad hunter in a pride of lions? You Starve. NOW…this is subjective because unless you are in a survival situation, where it truly is “live or die”, humanity is what bonds us. You know what happens if you’re a decent hunter, but socially inept in a pride of lions? You Starve. The difference is that the pride of lions is much quicker to weigh the social implications of your inability to either hunt or bond, much faster than we humans can.
3. Don’t Get Bitten
You’d think this would be rule #1, right? I mean being bitten is the essence of the “zombpocalypse”. Therefore, you need to be prepared for it. You need to know that life is doing its damnedest to bite you, every single day – right on the ass. You need to not only understand that, but stay one step ahead of that next incisor-clenching chomp. Because just like a zombie, life will tear at you with reckless abandon if you let it. And then again, as hard as you try, sometimes life does get ahold of you – no matter what you do. So what then? Either you get your leg hacked off like Herschel, and leave behind that piece of yourself to live on (even on a weird crutch), or do you just prepare some crazy long drawn-out speech like Tyreese, that takes an episode to deliver and die anyway?
4. Slow Down. Be Quiet.
Sometimes in life, just like the “zombpocalypse”, stealth is your best choice. Slowing down and slipping by the walkers is not only a way to reserve resources, it is a way to minimize risks. Life is all about minimizing risks. Slowing down takes focus. Being quiet take focus. Focus, again, minimizes risks.
But sometimes…you just need to:
5. Make a Whole Bunch of Noise!
So you’ve got a bunch of walkers surrounding your buddies. Make as much damn noise as you can to draw their attentions, and provide and escape route for your friends. Sure, you’re putting your ass on the line, but sometimes you just need to be heard. Life is the same way. Sometimes you just need to quit worrying about the fact that you are going to be heard, and say what you want to say for the sake of saying it. It is amazing how fulfilling a scream can be compared to a whisper. No matter how many walkers may show up. Again, it’s a matter of risk. What is a scream worth to you? You’d be surprised.
6. Be Who You Are/Have Become
This is the essence of season 5 in a nutshell. Going from being on the move, to being behind a wall is the crux of the season, and the development we see in the survivors. Sometimes in our lives we find ourselves having to be a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. Never forget that you got to where you are based on what you’ve been through. Instead of becoming a round peg, maybe that needs to be a square hole? (It’s totally okay if you needed to re-read that series of sentences a couple of times, I did too, and I wrote the damn things.) Experience is the only real teacher in this world, and you will always encounter less-experienced people who can’t appreciate YOUR experience because it is not their own. They will try to shape you, they will try to bend you, and eventually change you. What they don’t understand is that they will then be robbed of your experience, which ultimately cheapens your worth… And then you have to shoot #porchdick in the head to prove them wrong…
It’s funny how life inspires you, and I want to thank AMC for creating, running, and continuing The Walking Dead, not only because it is entertaining as hell, but because it inspires me in ways you’ll never understand.
I also want to thank the people that I’ve talked to about this topic for the last couple of days, because your input is invaluable. We will discuss nicknames for future references so that I can address you publicly, without addressing you too publicly. If you enjoyed this post, PLEASe share it.
AND Never forget…