Editor reflects upon becoming the walking dead

Shawn Havel

Editor's commentary

Shawn Havel


There are more than a few things that I find disagreeable about zombies and their ways.

Zombies offend common sense of decency

For starters, they are mindless drones primed to serve their zombie overlord…much like the tea party’s relationship to Glenn Beck. Maybe, that’s unfair. I’m assuming the zombies have an overlord. I’ll give the zombies the benefit of the doubt and say they are at least independent thinkers.

Anyway, zombies are messy like infants. Replace pureed cabbage, asparagus, carrots and apple goo with semi-masticated brain and blood.

The next disagreement I have—they eat people. They have no moral issue with this? They don’t see anything wrong with eating my loved ones? They don’t see that their actions are causing people great deals of distress? Sorry, zombies, you’re not above a tea party metaphor anymore.

Transformation into the undead not what editor expected

I had the opportunity to be a zombie for an afternoon for a photo shoot. I volunteered, probably because I was distracted or felt as if I needed to step up to gain prestige points with colleagues.

When I realized I would have to become a zombie, I began feeling kind of sad. Partially, for the reasons stated previously: They are messy and gross, lack moral issues with eating people who are irreplaceable to me, remind me of the tea party and so on.

The day of reckoning finally had come; it was time to be a zombie. When I arrived in the Wingspan office, my fellow editors had been preparing the atrocity that would be my outfit. A pair of torn jeans (OK, this is doable.) and a neon lime-green T-shirt (Why, God?) that had been covered in fake blood that would turn into a wet jelly.

They finished glopping the jelly onto the garments, and once they were finished, I timidly walked toward the restroom to change.

Upon donning the clothing, I discovered the blood had not dried at all, and the shirt was soaked with jelly blood. That is when I learned my first zombie lesson; zombies are probably uncomfortable because they are wearing wet clothes all day, and sometimes, those clothes are pretty strange colors, which might make them feel…whatever it is you feel when you wear a giant lime green T-shirt.

Next, came the makeup. This would one of the worst/best parts about the entire experience. Worst, because I had my face covered in an oil-based paint that felt gross. Best, because the two other editors who had to poke my face with their hands to apply the makeup after their sponges failed to work probably felt just as awkward as I did for at least for a brief moment.

Once the makeup was applied, I was ready to be photographed. This would be the first time anyone outside the Wingspan office would see me. I walked out into the hallway where a few passersby would see me and either smile, holding back laughs, or just disapprovingly look at me.

A zombie ventures out into the world

The photo shoot happened, and it was back into the hallway among the living. The same responses came from the new passersby. I felt embarrassed at first, but, eventually, as I was paraded around campus, my confidence as a zombie grew, and I became more comfortable.

I ignored the disapproving looks and learned my second zombie lesson: It doesn’t matter that you are uncomfortable in the awkward, wet T-shirt because zombies don’t care and have an unrivaled level of swagger.

I even had one human come up to me and try to befriend me. The human in me was embarrassed by the honesty of this act. A human approaching an undead being to befriend him; that’s beautiful. The zombie in me appreciated the act as well, because had I been a real zombie, that guy would have a zombie gnawing on his dome, and I would have a feast. So human lesson No. 1: Don’t approach a real zombie if and when they do exist.

Eventually, the parading came to an end, and I didn’t have to be a zombie anymore. Though, it wasn’t awful allowing myself to be a zombie and eventually becoming complacent with my grotesque appearance, I would much rather keep my mind busy thinking about more than just my own needs. The world is a big place, full of humans, so maybe there is a need to stop treating it as though we are zombies.