The Internet is littered with how-to guides for surviving a zombie apocalypse by self-accredited zombie experts. You'll get tips on everything from shotgun maintenance to fortification repair to selecting a team of survivors who are all slower than you. But there's a lie underlying all these guides. The fallacy that we'll all be the survivors. But setting aside delusions of grandeur, zombie apocalypses are, by definition, really hard to survive. (Otherwise it's just one or two poor zombies milling about, while people take turns throwing things at them.) And if you take a long hard look at the Internet, you'll have to agree that in the event of a zombie outbreak, over 95 percent of Internet-users will be zombified before they can leave their padded chairs.
New and potential zombies are a demographic sorely underserved by today's Internet advice distributors. So, after consulting with the wildest-eyed experts we could find, Cracked has come up with the following guide for how to zombie to the best of your ability, and achieve full un-life self-realization.
Because finding or even reading this guide may pose difficult following the zombification process, we recommend you memorize all these steps now, before disaster strikes. Alternately, keep a copy close at hand, and should you suffer an infectious bite, staple a copy of this to your chest for ease of reference in your new undead state.
The first thing you'll notice after zombification is the Hunger. You will never not be hungry for the meat of the uninfected, and will want to spend every minute eating human flesh, or when possible, brains, the caviar of human flesh. This hunger can never be sated, but don't let that stop you from trying -- in truth, a lot of the fun of being a zombie is in the trying.
And the lurching. There's nothing quite like a good lurch.
The problem with your new diet is the lack of necessary nutrients in human flesh -- a dietary deficiency which will be the cause for much of your bodily decay. You can retard this decaying process with proper nutrition, which sounds simple until you remember that any food that isn't human flesh will look about as appetizing as a cat turd to you. Fortunately it should be possible to trick yourself into eating something nutritious, as your intelligence will have decreased remarkably during the zombification process. By dousing foods in ketchup, you should be able to make them palatable to your blood-seeking stomach -- we use a similar technique today with children, also presumably because of their hunger for blood.
With some pasta sauce on it, this looks basically like human brains.
A basic exercise regimen can also help minimize your natural decay, and allow you to keep up with your primary food source. At least three times a week you should be spending time working on your basic shuffle -- slowly increase the length of shuffle as you go, to help improve your necroticardio fitness. It's also not a bad idea to simply get good at shuffling -- you will be doing this a lot.
Weight training isn't usually important, as the zombification process will give you substantially increased strength, but if you wish, focus your efforts on shoulder exercises, as you will be spending hours of every day with your arms raised in front of you.
You'll want your fingers free for mauling. We recommend using your teeth to carry valuable personal items and organs.
Finally, if you're in an urban environment, consider some step training, to help when shuffling up and over all those curbs. Few zombie movies cover this point in detail -- evidently the sight of dozens of zombies trying to mount a 6" curb and collapsing one on top of the other like gristly dominos, ruins the tension these films are trying to capture.
For zombies, this is basically a war-crime.
#6. Social Networking
Science has proven that zombies work better in teams and you'll find your odds of making it in a dying world will be substantially improved if you form connections with your peers. Having friends around is useful for swarming, as well as for their ability to break your fall when you take a spill -- you'll be taking a lot of spills.
Zombified children have poor centers of balance and are an excellent way to bridge gaps in staircases or ford small bodies of water.
To find friends, attend places where there are likely to be other zombies -- malls, deserted gas stations, cemeteries -- and mingle. Don't worry if you're shy, or have confidence problems -- you will have similar interests as these unpeople. Simply start a conversation politely by saying "Blaaarrragh." Listen attentively and gauge the other zombie's response -- depending on whether they say, "Blaaaaaarrrgh," or shuffle a bit to the left, you'll be able to see whether this zombie wants to be a friend (both those actions indicate that yes, he does). Repeat as necessary until you are popular, or the hunger gets too much.
"Blaaaaaaaargh. (You guys want to do something, or just hang out?)"
#5. Self Defense
The natural enemy of the zombie is the human, and those little pink bastards haven't made it to the top of the food chain for nothing. In the early days of a zombie breakout, most humans will be pretty soft and doughy, and pose no particular challenge. But as time passes, only the toughest, stringiest humans will remain -- and they will be much more heavily armed. Not only will they be harder to chew, the more aggressive of them will begin fighting back.
Above: Considerably more difficult than Pizza Hut.
The most important tip is to travel in a group, as there is safety in numbers. When dealing with particularly ornery humans, try not to be the first zombie at the scene -- these over achievers rarely make it through feeding time with their heads intact. Hanging back like this is technically abusing your friends' trust in you, but it turns out that not having a soul makes this a lot easier to live with. Remember: a head is preferable to a soul.
That's another thing -- the head. For some sick, twisted reason, humans love attacking zombie heads, and you can expect them to take no end of perverse pleasure in aiming for yours. If at all possible, wear a helmet. Even something as simple as a colander can be enough to offer some protection -- perhaps against someone armed with a slingshot, or some uncooked pasta.
The holes will also allow any of your head fluids to drain through.
But don't get over-confident with a helmet in place, as humans are extremely adaptable, and will instead focus on your other weak spots. As noted zombie-defense experts the Wu-Tang Clan have observed, remember to protect ya' neck as well.
The longing to pair off with a kindred soul has lasted throughout human history, and there's no reason to think it won't survive the transition to inhuman history, even if the souls are no longer exactly present and everyone's a bit stickier.
With luck, your nose will be the first thing to rot off.
The biggest challenge with finding said soulless-mate will be the communication difficulties -- "Blaaaaaaaargh" can mean both "I am for you, always" and "I have tremendous gas pain." You're also going to be cut off from the technological advantages today's humans have, with their dating web sites and sexting and teledildonics. Instead, you're going to be meeting most of your potential mates the old fashioned way -- through social circles and peers. It will be more than a little bit like how they dated in pre-industrial days, so if you have the time prior to zombification, spend some time around Amish communities to get a feel for how that plays out. Don't tell them what you're there researching zombie life though -- the Amish already have a poor impression of outsiders. Also don't mention the teledildonics thing either -- same deal.
Finally, because you never know when you'll shuffle upon that special someone, make a point of keeping yourself presentable looking. Always try and keep some fresh blood on your shirtfront to make yourself look successful. Mind your posture, keeping it hunched and stiff looking. And tear your clothes strategically to reveal your most suggestively rotted bits.
Hot. Well, actually cold and clammy. But you get our meaning.
#3. Job Hunting
Even with civilization crumbling around you, remember that you are still part human. There is a deep and powerful selfishness built into your modified DNA, and it is probably inevitable that zombies will eventually get around to the business of business. In the later stages of a zombie apocalypse, you can expect the most dynamic and successful zombies will be gathering, hording and growing precious resources -- building human farms essentially. The rich zombies will get richer, and if you can't be one of them, you'll want to at least be working for one of them.
"ZombCorp has a great health plan -- your first two jaw replacements are free. And the glass eye copay is only half a frontal lobe."
The job application and interview process will be pretty informal, and will probably consist of a short conversation and a grappling contest. Bringing a resume is advisable -- but remember that the typical zombie resume will be very short, as your pre-zombie education and experience will be meaningless in this new world order. Focus on your quantifiable zombie-specific achievements -- number of humans eaten, barricades demolished, malls sacked, that sort of thing. It will of course be impossible to write any of this down, but taking the effort to smear a bloody stump of a finger on a piece of paper will show you have professionalism, in the exact same way that it doesn't currently do that at all in the human world.
Your sex drive will drop off considerably following zombification, primarily due to the lack of blood circulating in your nether regions.
"Blaaaaaargh. (I just kind of feel like cuddling right now actually, if that's OK with you.)"
It won't disappear entirely however, and you may find yourself feeling familiar and confusing urges again, perhaps when gazing at a gaping wound in the torso of a lovely zombie of your preferred gender.
Safe sex is critical, but not, interestingly, because of the risk of infectious disease (definitely there, but irrelevant). Remember that both of your bodies are slowly crumbling, so be gentle, and focus on pleasing only your sturdier appendages. You will also be substantially less flexible, so don't try anything too creative. Try a zombie-modified variant of the missionary position, which is like regular missionary position, but standing, arms outstretched so that the two of you are kind of grappling with your torsos still several feet apart. This is not in any way satisfying, but given the tremendous gas pain you're feeling at all times, that wasn't really an option anyways -- also note that this position will mitigate the chance of orgasm, which would be profoundly uncomfortable for all involved.
For an idea of what this sounds like, jam a sausage into a wheel of Camembert.
#1. Retirement Planning
The unnatural lifespan of a zombie will vary anywhere between six months to several years, depending on how well they take care of themselves -- assuming you trick yourself into eating enough vegetables, you'll probably slot in to the upper end of that range. And if that's the case, ask yourself whether you want to spend your golden months shuffling around, competing with younger, fitter zombies for food? Them just tripping you up, and laughing at you and the music that you like, and using new slang that you're unfamiliar with.
"Vlaaaaaaaargh. (OMG! LOL)"
That would suck like a gaping chest wound, so make sure to plan for your future and build up a nest egg. Capture and pen some humans in a safe place, being careful not to feed on them until you retire. Then, taking into account inflation and the reproduction rate for humans in captivity, you should be able to live off that supply for the rest of your unlife. If you don't want to go to that trouble, Zombie Mutual Funds are a sensible way to pool your resources with other investors. ZMFs are run by experienced professionals who manage humans in a collective fund, allowing their population to grow at sustainable rates. There is a cost to this of course, so be sure to do your own due diligence prior to joining a fund -- look for funds with a track record of steady human growth, and with low expense fees (ZMERs).
Being a zombie is not all fun and games. You'll be in constant pain, always hungry, usually disoriented and you will fall down -- a lot. Meanwhile your primary food source love, love, loves, shooting you in the face, and will even probably make up little games surrounding it. Finally there is a non-trivial chance your genitals will fall off.
"Blaaaaaaaargh. (Oh no. My beans.)"
With this guide ... well ... all those things will probably still happen to you. Sorry. But some of the time horrible things won't happen to you, and in those times you will be zombieing like hell, head intact and just killing it in all aspects of unlife.
Blaaaaaaaargh! You'll live like a zombie boss, or at least you will before the human military drops napalm on you and your friends and the little grave you buried your genitals in.