Surviving the Apocalypse? Fuck that Shit!

The following is a reprint from Unwinnable Weekly Issue Forty-Four. If you enjoy what you read, please consider purchasing the issue or subscribing

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UW44-smallWhat an exciting time we’re living in! Our entertainment industry possesses the technology and imagination to create terrifyingly realistic depictions of people struggling to survive after the world as we know it is completely destroyed. And what a happy coincidence that humanity seems determined to bring about these conditions as soon as possible, whether through senseless warfare, the inability to deal with outbreaks of deadly infections, or our total indifference to a rapidly changing climate! I mean, does art imitate life or does life imitate art, am I right? When you get down to it, the real answer is, “Who gives a shit? We’re all going to die.”

It’s time to face facts everybody, the apocalypse is coming.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen tomorrow, but if Hollywood has taught me anything, it’s that it is entirely plausible that it could happen tomorrow. Why wouldn’t the world blow up just because the Mayans couldn’t conceive of a date beyond December 21, 2012? I mean, statistically speaking, at some point the apocalypse just has to happen, which probably helps to explain our cultural obsession with the concept. We love watching entertainment about the aftermath of alien attacks, or ape/robot uprisings or the zombie-fication of everyone. I guess it’s fun to imagine what will happen the day after everything is completely fucked – or 28 days after everything is fucked, as it were. But this genre of entertainment always forces me to face a hard fact about myself.

If the apocalypse arrives, I have absolutely no interest in participating in humanity’s survival.

Maybe you enjoy watching the heroes in these films bravely facing impossible odds and barely avoiding death. Maybe you imagine yourself in that role. Chances are you’re an idiot who would die in ten minutes, but I understand picturing yourself as the determined hero. You know who I picture myself as? I’m the dude the hero finds hanging lifelessly in a closet as he walks through a deserted house, causing the movie-going audience to jump when he opens that closet door. I’m the corpse at the bottom of the murky, blood-red tub because I drew a warm bath, calmly slid into the welcoming water and slit my wrists to end my life. Sorry, I guess that’s a bit grim. I promised Stu this would be light hearted. I’m just trying to be honest.

The point is, you guys are all on your own. I guess it would be nice if some of you maniacs decide to spend the rest of your (probably short and miserable) lives trying to extend the clock on the human race, but I am letting you all know right now you can count me out.

You can imagine how surprised I was when a friend recently told me that if the shit hit the fan and the world descended into a chaotic and violent hellscape, that she would seek me out. I guess that means she thinks I’m smart and resourceful and dependable and a natural born leader and super charismatic and a great person to spend the end of the world with. I don’t disagree. But when facing a future filled with murderers or monsters or people pretending to be postal carriers, I say: Fuck that shit.

Here are some facts about my personality to consider:

I’m Sort of a Neat Freak
I’m not a germaphobe, but I prefer not to be dirty. I don’t have any real OCD traits, but I like my stuff to be where it belongs. I recently started living by myself for the first time in my entire life (yay, divorce!) and I find myself spending a lot of time doing things like swiffering the entire apartment because I noticed a single dust bunny under the credenza. When I reach into my bag and my keys are not in the pocket they’re supposed to be in, I have a mini panic attack.

This is not the kind of person you want watching your back when we’re low on ammunition and there is a shamble of undead coming through the door. I’ll be too busy trying to figure out where I left the last flare because it’s not in my fanny pack while you’re being attacked, screaming in pain, eaten alive.

Yes, I would wear a fanny pack in the apocalypse. It seems like it would be useful. I wish I could wear one now, but that’s an accessory that requires 90% of the world to be dead before you can pull it off. In my defense, I did just decide that a group of zombies should be called a shamble. If that’s not already a thing, it should be.

I’m a Creature of Habit
I love routine. There is nothing I enjoy more than doing the same thing, every day, over and over. I wake up, walk my dogs, shower, walk the same way to work, get the same thing for breakfast, drink the same number of cups of coffee, etc., etc., until someday, I’ll die. And that is comforting to me.

Here’s an illustrative example of my love of routine that is truly embarrassing. When I order in, I get the same thing from whatever restaurant I’m ordering from. Every time. I lived in downtown Jersey City for 10 years. There was a Chinese food place that eventually only needed to ask my address to know everything I wanted to order. Then I moved away for over two years before moving back to the same neighborhood. The first time I ordered from that Chinese food place, I gave them my address and placed my order. When I told the guy what I wanted, he literally said, “You used to live at 708 Jersey Ave., right?” This man not only knew it was me by my order, but two years later he still remembered my old address.

Is that the kind of person who should be living in a world where every moment presents a new, unique way of ending your life? Some people say they like being spontaneous. To me, those people are crazy and potentially dangerous. But when the apocalypse arrives, they’ll surely love the opportunity to leave everything behind at a moment’s notice because a band of psychopathic cannibals happened upon your camp. Not me. I’d just give up and become dinner because I couldn’t bear to abandon the lean-to that I finally got set up the way I like it.

I’m a Pacifist
This trait is probably my worst for attempting to live through the apocalypse. I always try to appreciate the other person’s point of view in an argument. I always strive to de-escalate tense situations. I cringe at violent scenes in movies and I just want to give everyone a hug. That crap is not going to fly when people are murdering their own mothers for scraps of food because the planet has become an unforgiving desert or water world or whatever the hell winds up happening on July 14, 2028. Oops, ignore that date. It means nothing and I have no foreknowledge of any terrifying hypothetical events that may occur on or about that date. I am not a member of the Illuminati and I do not have a ticket for a seat on a spacecraft currently being built by NASA to ditch this shithole when it becomes unlivable.

Anyway.

I just want people to get along. In the face of the apocalypse, I’d be the guy saying, “Hey, let’s just give him all the gasoline. He said he’d let us live. Why would he lie? Sure he and his friends dress weird, but they’re probably just a close-knit group of former leather fetishists who banded together for comfort and security. What’s that? You’re put off by his metal hockey mask? You may have a point, but again, I’d just as soon avoid all the drama of a confrontation. Let’s just grab whatever we can fit in our fanny packs and split.”

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The bottom line here is that I don’t want to be involved in surviving when the apocalypse happens, and I’m pretty sure after reading this you don’t want me involved either. If you do feel so inclined as to come looking for me when the apocalypse occurs, you’ll find me lying serenely in my bed with empty bottles of Tito’s vodka and the valium my dentist prescribed me when I got my tooth pulled.

But I wish you the best of luck in all your horrifying endeavors! I sincerely hope you manage to survive long enough to reflect on the choices you’ve made and realize that I was right.

I trust that when that moment comes, you’ll say to yourself, “Fuck this shit!”

And I would say I told you so, but I will, happily, be long dead.

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Ed Coleman has a B.F.A. in film and worked for nine years as a professional video editor before losing his mind and becoming an attorney. Ed is the Official Unofficial General Counsel of Unwinnable and a fair weather contributor to the site. If you are so inclined, Ed can be followed on Twitter @edcoleman78.

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