The government-sponsored zombie apocalypse

(C) Julie R. Neidlinger

What did you think the zombie apocalypse would look like?

The Walking Dead?

Night of the Living Dead?

Resident Evil?

World War Z?

I bet you never expected it in your grocery store. 

Look around and see the people furtively shopping, not meeting anyone's eyes, hunched inward to themselves, careful to not get to close to anyone. They have less than half of a face, a disfigurement that should normally repulse us but, because of its nature, is accepted.

Where does this behavior come from? If masks and isolation is fine and normal and healthy, why is it changing the behavior of people? What causes this response?

Anger, maybe, directed at people like me who do not wear a mask. Perhaps scared. Maybe they envision a cloud of death droplets and wonder why I just can't be more caring and neighborly like me as they grab more toilet paper and shove it into their cart. 

Yes, toilet paper is starting to disappear again, folks.

There is a palpable dejectedness, an anger, a fear, some kind of cloud that has descended. The cheery holiday music and perky "mask up to be safe" announcements over the loudspeakers are like sandpaper to the bleeding soul right now. 

The television commercials are showing happy masked people out and about, behaving normally, or smiling behind a perfet Zoom meeting and we watch it and feel worse because we can't be the impossible.They're still selling to us as if we weren't broken and dispirited.

The longer mass populations wear masks, the more we lose our humanity. I'm going to say it that bluntly.

We must be around each other. We must talk to each other in person and not behind screens. We must see full faces to identify each other and read the expressions. We must gather with family.

But at the store, nearly everyone is safely buying their food, holding out hope for a questionable vaccine. I wonder if King Burgum and his Public Health Mamluks and Legions smile with pleasure at their success. "Look at us, saving the people!" they think, having never once mentioned anything, over nine months, that people could do to build their bodies up. Insted, they have pointed them on a "safe" path towards drugs and suicide and severe depression during a winter season when people are already prone to it. 

"We're saving lives!" they say as more and more kill themselves now, or set a date in the future as they turn to alcohol and drugs.

Perhaps they are envisioning their future, thinking that the actions they took now will ensure them a higher office or climbing the ladder. Won't it look good on a CV to say that you "managed" a pandemic? They thrill at the chance to go on CNN and blubber and cry so the world thinks they are working with an impossible people and the fault is all on them. They calculate their edicts for after the election, changing any that are unpopular and dare touch the god of high school sports just before a protest* so they can look like they care and let the people settle back into propaganda sedation.

"Our hearts go out to each person that has died," they say, but by now they are heartless.

Maybe, if brains are washed enough, they'll have no ability to think negative thoughts and believe each promise after spoon-fed promise. Every synapse is programmed for the group, for the safe, for the not-free.

Look around you.

Masked, dejected, medicated zombies everywhere, clamoring after the next promise of peace and safety, putting their trust in every broken thing that will eventually wound them. The favorite restaurant that makes people finally wear masks. The politician that promises one thing until it's safe to do what he or she really wanted to do all along. The extra-curricular activities that keep everyone distracted and busy so you don't have to think about two inevitable things: your own death, and where you go after you die.

Now is the time to start looking up and meeting the eyes of other people, full frontal naked face, because time is short.


*People who haven't gotten riled about much finally did about Burgum shutting down high school athletics with his recent mandate. They planned a large protest at the capitol. The day before, he relented some to allow them to practice sports. Because if it's reallly about being safe, we can make all kinds of exceptions when we realize we hit a true god of the people, and still maintain purity of purpose, right?


  1. I have never in my entire life struggled with depression. I'm a pretty optimistic, roll-with-the-punches kind of person.

    But this. This is killing me. Not just the ridiculous tyranny that we're seeing from our elected leaders--we expect tyranny; it's our job to keep it in check. But the spiritless mass of people just doing what they're told, shutting off their brains, masking up, being dutifully afraid--it's the most dispiriting, disheartening thing I've ever witnessed.

    Add to that businesses that suddenly think it's totally okay to be rude to their customers--like they don't need us anymore; we're just inconveniences and they're forced to serve us so we darn well better do what they say.

    And then there are the masks. Everywhere. I can barely drag myself out of my house anymore by the masks (especially on children?!) just cuts me to the quick. I dread interacting with others. I rage in my heart and feel powerless to change literally anything.

    I hate this. I HATE it.

    I should probably go back and have another little talk with Jesus now.

    1. I know you're not alone. I'm seeing it in others, and I'm seeing it in myself in how I'm sort of checking out. As in, I'm turning off news, skipping Facebook...nice thing about reading a book or working on a painting or just hanging around the houes and doing things is you don't have to listen to all the voices telling you how to be or what to fear. And I don't have to look at another stupid masked face. I'm so sick of wrapped faces I don't even want to look at them ever again.

    2. I don't ever want kids to think masks are normal. It makes my brain and heart hurt to think that in this era of digital media, we will have tons and tons and tons of images to look at in the future.


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