Monday, March 19, 2012

Could DC residents survive the Zombie Apocalypse?

Last night was the season finale of The Walking Dead on AMC. This is an exceptional show that I wish more people in my social circle watched, because sometimes I really need to talk to someone after an episode, but there is no one to be found. So, I must go to the discussion forums on imdb.

The problem with the imdb forums is that a lot of people have already read the comic book, which is much farther ahead than what we have seen on the television show. From what I understand the tv show has made some deviations and character changes, but for the most part it follows the comic. This is problematic because I avoid the comics to stay away from spoilers, but reading an imdb forum where contributors have read them, I’m very likely to accidentally come across a spoiler. So, I try to read conversations that focus on a certain episode or seem spoiler-averse. Today someone posed the question to fans, “With where you currently live, do you think you could survive [The Zombie Apocalypse]?”

This is an interesting question for this forum because the contributors to the message boards are from all around the world, so everyone would have a different perspective. It has crossed my mind to question what I would do in this situation, but only long enough to realize I would be zombie bait. I don’t think any asthmatics would fare well in this environment. I would probably be very ironically killed by running for my life and having an asthma attack and dying. But, removing my asthma and general lack of cajones from the equation, I never considered the geographic pros and cons of being in Washington, DC. So, without further ado, here they are.

Pro #1) Government buildings. The District is considered to be vulnerable for terrorist activity, so while I don’t know the statistics, I would venture to guess that the city holds more panic rooms and bomb shelters per capita than anywhere else in the United States. The President lives here, members of congress, Supreme Court justices… Chris Matthews, Tony Kornheiser… What I’m saying is there are a lot of high profile people who live here, and there are buildings created with hypothetical pandemic and/or apocalyptic survival situations in mind.

Con #1) I am not the President, a member of congress, a Supreme Court justice, Tony Kornheiser or Chris Matthews. The likelihood that I would have access to one of these shelters could be slim.

Con #2) No guns. The strict gun control laws in the district would leave us extremely ill-equipped for defending ourselves from a zombie attack. We would need access to a lot of weapons, which brings me to…

Pro #2) Proximity to Virginia. Virginia has the right to keep and bear arms written into their state constitution. If I can make my way to Virginia, that is where my looting will begin.

Con #3) My apartment building. I live in a 12-story apartment building and it is very well populated. If the majority of the world population becomes zombies, the majority of my building would be full of people shuffling around and trying to eat my brain. There are a few residents I already suspect of being zombies, but they have never done anything to me, so live-and-let-live. Or, live-and-let-living-dead, as the case may be.

Pro #3) My apartment building. On second thought, there are a lot of 20-and-30-something professionals in my building, so we may just fare better than say, a frat house. Or a hospital. Or a retirement community. Although thanks to rent-control laws, there are quite a few retired people who opt to spend their twilight years in the same apartment where they have lived for decades. I am not judging. I am well on my way to becoming one of those people. But they would very likely contract that zombie virus long before I run out of inhalers & join their ranks.

Conclusion: The likelihood of the average citizen surviving in Washington, DC [edit: as compared to other geographical areas] = 50/50.

It may seem like I am over thinking this question, but I think it’s been a healthy exercise. It's always good to be prepared for any situation. Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention think so. My thoughtful consideration has taught me that it’s probably in my best interest to become friendly with a few more Virginians. And important government officials. I currently have a disproportional number of friends who are attorneys, which might serve me well if the zombies were just stealing my property or sexually harassing me, but fairly worthless for battling the average brain-eating variety of zombies. I don’t know that their extensive knowledge of the United States Code or their exceptional wardrobes will be much good in that situation. Unless they are from Virginia, of course. If they are from Virginia, they may have just moved to the top of my dance card.

Friday, March 16, 2012

FMLA for blogs (BMLA?)

Last summer I challenged myself to find something to blog about at least once a week. For the most part, I accomplished that and found something to prattle on about at length. Since December, it may appear that this blog has been abandoned, but I think it’s more accurate to say it’s on Medical Leave.

In November of last year, I wrote about my back pain, which I learned was due to herniated discs and mild spinal stenosis. You may have noticed how infrequently the blog has been updated since then. It is not a coincidence. The way that my herniated discs are situated, being seated is the most painful position for me. Unfortunately, I sit down at work all day long. During an average week, I find myself in several social occasions where it is not possible to stand up – attending concerts, hockey games, basketball games, or plays. I have been seeing fewer movies in the theater lately, but I still go to the movies a few times a month. Even if I was in the very back row, it would be weird to stand up through an entire movie while my friends are all seated next to me. Same goes for having lunch or dinner with someone. Playing board games (unless it’s Twister), getting pizza and a movie at someone’s home… pretty much anything you do socially is going to involve sitting down.

So, while sitting down is most uncomfortable, my back is not strong enough that I can do something really active, either. For example, going bowling with friends wouldn’t involve sitting, but I can’t even imagine what kind of damage I would do to myself if I attempted to bowl with my back as messed up as it is. Man I feel old.

Anyway, you get the picture. Sitting sucks. Standing is overrated. Walking is great, and laying down is usually fine. Sitting is the worst. Unfortunately I have not figured out a way to update this blog while walking or laying down. As a result, you have probably missed out on tons of mindless rambling that I may have otherwise put into my blog, if the thought of coming home and sitting down at my desk was not completely unbearable. We are now in the 11th week of 2012. Here is a list of things that I could have blogged about, were my back not hindering me from sitting down to write them…

More random pictures of underwear or advertisements that I make fun of;
The Republican presidential candidates;
The disgraceful mess that Tim Burton seems to be making in the name of Dark Shadows;
The Van Halen concert in Chicago;
The homeless man I went to breakfast with after the Van Halen concert in Chicago (that one actually could have been pretty interesting reading);
A thoughtful analysis of how much less time I have spent with friends since I added HBO and TiVo to my cable package;
More complaining about Barnes & Noble;
My disaster preparedness for the zombie apocalypse;
How much Leap Year sucked this year;
Lots and lots of complaining about how much my back hurts;

As I write this, I’m actually on break at work and typing into a word document that I will copy & paste when I get home. This is beginning to feel like a mistake because I usually get up and walk around while taking a break at work. This already feels like too much sitting. Of course, if I could find a way to make my points more succinctly, I could update the blog more often and it wouldn’t take so long without rattling on for hours. I need to learn to rattle on for minutes and then let it go. I’m not sure that I’m capable of such brevity.

Okay, break is over and I need to get back to other sitting-down related work things. Since November I have also been attending physical therapy on a regular basis and it has been helpful with alleviating the pressure on my nerves and spine. I have also had two epidural steroid injections. They may or may not have been helpful. The most recent was two days ago, so their success or failure is TBD. It is also directly related to the success or failure of updating this blog, so the good news is, if I start to update more frequently and at length, that means I must be feeling better. But for now. Ouch.

Thanks for reading. I'll be back! (No pun intended.)