The Zen of Zombie
Inspired by our little zombie blog being called a “favorite” by Mr. Scott Kenemore, author of The Zen of Zombie, I decided to post a project I did two semesters ago in my Zombies in Popular Media class. It was a speech entitled The 24 Habits of Highly Effective Zombies, and it was based on Scott’s teachings. After I posted it originaily to Bake and Destroy, Scott was awesome enough to come by my class, talk about the best places to hide out during a zombie attack (Costco sounds good to me- pizza, iPods and trampolines) and autograph my copy of Zen of Zombie, which I now treasure more than almost anything. You can check out another class project here, and if you like, download the brochure that goes along with this speech at the bottom of this post.
As it says in the credits, the book is by Scott Kenemore and the Cultured Dead artwork is by Putrid (used with permission).
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Now, we’ve only known each other a little over a week, but our time together has been open and honest and today should be no different. So I ask you to look into your hearts, to ask yourselves a question and to answer that question honestly: Am I happy?
Now I’m assuming many of you thought to yourselves, “Yes, I am happy.” And why shouldn’t you be? You’re taking a fun class about zombies, you watch a movie every day and you get out early enough to have a nap or watch TV before work. You’re young, you’re in college…the world is yours.
But take yourself outside of this classroom, into the real world where you suffer the pressures of work, of love, of homework, possibly an internship or a budding career. Do you sometimes wish you had more control over your life?
I understand this desire, my friends. And Scott Kenemore understands too. You see, Mr. Kenemore was once like you, confused, lost, wanting something more. He sought the advice of all the world’s prominent religions, cults and motivational speakers to no avail. Then one day, Mr. Kenemore discovered was he refers to as “the singular thread of synchronicity linking enlightened, successful and attractive people.”
What do they have that you don’t have? What are they doing that you aren’t?
Well, my friends, the secret is this- those people are simply emulating a creature we’ve all come to be quite familiar with over the past few days. Zombies.
“Zombies?” you may ask. “But zombies are so slow, so stinky, so… so…dead!”
What you call slow, I call careful and observant. Depending on the particular breed of zombie, they do tend to get around a bit slower than you and I. But I ask you- has this ever stopped them from getting to their victim’s sweet, succulent brains? Of course not, and do you know why? Because slow and steady wins the race, ladies and gentlemen. Ask our friend the turtle. Better yet, ask a zombie. He’ll likely tell you, “Blehhh garg garg brains!” which we’ll talk about in a minute. But the point is, while we humans are running and screaming, thinking only of escape zombies shuffle along at their own pace, never taking their rotting, soulless eyes of the prize. (Your delicious flesh.) And so, you run, terrified and without any sort of plan, shutting yourself up in a bathroom with a flimsy wooden door. Before you know it, your eyeball is shish kabob* and your friends are screaming, “Noo! You bastards! Why????”
Why? Because zombies always take their time, which is one of the 24 habits of highly effective zombies. In Mr. Kenemore’s book you will learn all of these habits and simple, common sense ways to incorporate them into your daily life.
Let’s talk about another one, shall we?
Earlier I mentioned the sort of response one might expect when talking to a zombie. Mr. Kenemore discusses this brilliant practice in habit number seven, “Whereof One Cannot Speak…” “A zombie talks for a reason,” says Mr. Kenemore, “and so should you.” We humans get so caught up in chitchat and pleasantries, and in gossip and nonsense that we find ourselves drowning in a sea of B.S. What’s worse, no one hears a thing we say because we never shut up. “When a zombie talks,” explains Mr. Kenemore, “people listen.” So maybe it’s little more than “brains” or even just a guttural growl, but the bottom line is, no one ever second-guesses a zombie’s intentions or asks for clarification.
I understand that much of this sounds counter-intuitive. How can the living benefit from being more like the undead? Does it involve smelling bad?
Not necessarily, and you can read more about how you should or should not smell in order to be more successful when you buy The Zen of Zombie, but for now, ponder this:
How much of your time- say, in one day- is spent in active pursuit of your personal goals, regardless of what those goals are? An hour? A few minutes? No time at all outside of staring out the window and wishing that fancy German sports car in the parking lot was yours instead belonging to that jock a-hole in the cubicle next to you?
It’s true, we want it all but instead of committing ourselves to one goal at a time, we mess around on the Internet, go to the mall to buy things we don’t really need and we chase around members of the opposite sex. We’re so obsessed with things and TV and romance we just run around in circles, never really achieving true happiness. We don’t bother to get our masters degrees. That novel we always wanted to write goes unwritten. And all that talk about moving to Portugal** turns out to be nothing more, in fact, than just talk.
Do you see zombies wasting their time watching Rock of Love Season Two or spending all their money on bumper stickers and fancy coffees? No! First of all, zombies don’t need money; they’re above our materialistic human nature. They’ve seen the effects of commodity fetishism- they were there in the mall when the bikers looted the joint, and they ate those bikers.***
No, zombies never lose focus. If they see a flashy sports car, they roll it over and eat the driver. When a zombie encounters a beautiful woman, he eats her face and keeps moving forward. Zombies don’t covet expensive shoes; they don’t even always have two feet, so what use is a pair of sexy Gucci pumps?
Yes, like you I’m only human. But I’m an enlightened human. I’ve let go of my want for things and things and more things and embraced my zombie nature. I got straight A’s last semester, I own my own small business. I just sold my first story to a real magazine (not Echo.)**** I don’t get caught up in gossip, I don’t get distracted or discouraged by anyone or anything. I have gone through Mr. Kenemore’s 90 Day Zombification process and it’s gotten me to where I am today, talking to you, urging you to do the same.
Eat, or be eaten.
As I leave you, ladies and gentleman, consider this:
“By focusing on perfection, humans make their lives imperfect. By never worrying about doing things perfectly, zombies experience perfect happiness.”
***Dawn of the Dead
**** Columbia joke, Echo is our in-school magazine produced by students.
Download the brochure…for whatever reason. I don’t know why you would. The Zen of Zombie