Friday, February 1, 2008

Great Minds Taste Alike

Dear Friends,

The Hard Taco song for February is called, "Rattle." Find out for yourself why everyone at the water cooler is talking about it in hushed voices.

: You look off-kilter today.
You: I took my allergy medicine this morning, and I've felt like a zombie all day.
Me: Yeah, I hate that. (Pause) So I guess that explains the bits of dried blood and scalp on your lips.
You: (Sinking your teeth into my ankle) I can never remember where you keep your brains. Are they in here?

I don't want to reinforce stereotypes, but I defy you dispute the following generalization: zombies are simply not very coordinated. You'll probably never see a zombie throw a lasso, make a lanyard bracelet, or return a ping pong serve. Despite billions of crime-funded dollars in research, modern evil science has failed to engineer a virus that can bring the dead back to life without severely compromising hand-eye coordination.

This has been a great source of disgruntlement for zombies. In fact, I believe that the anger and savagery that zombies frequently exhibit stem from a deep frustration with their inability to participate in group sports.

Zombies have not successfully competed in Olympic-level sports since 1924, when the triathlon officially became swimming, cycling, and running. Prior to that date, the standard triathlon consisted of moaning, dribbling and lurching like a drunk toddler. Inevitably, there would be three zombies shuffling onto the winner’s podium.

Since then, however, athletic events have placed more value on speed, dexterity, and grace. These are not common qualities in the zombie community. For example, no zombie has ever taken home an Olympic medal in ice dancing. The only zombie who tried spent the duration of the three-minute song hacking into her partner’s shins with the skates. The smell of blood on ice attracted a frenzy of other zombies and, of course, hockey players. The event deteriorated into a brawl of face-chewings and body checks. All told it was a real black eye for the Olympic committee.

Zombies fare no better in other events. As walking corpses, they cannot be trusted to steer a bobsled (although they occasionally stumble into an opponent’s sled to consume the opponent). The zombie running long jump record is only eight inches, which is about 30% longer than their standard stride length. Finally, their propensity to hold their arms straight in front of them severely limits the amount of inertia they can give to a shot put.

I am convinced that the inevitable undead uprising can be forestalled simply by instilling zombies with a greater sense of self-worth. We need to get them involved in sports they can play… sports that allow them to feel good about themselves. The more time zombies spend training, the less time they’ll have for swarming through malls and mutilating shoppers.

We can all help out. If you are a high school track coach and a zombie tries out for the team, don't cut him... put him in the relay race! If you space out four zombies on a 400m track, and give one of them a dismembered human foot, there is a very good chance the other three zombies will each take it from him sequentially. The trick is convincing them to do this with a baton instead of a severed limb, and to keep moving instead of stopping to gnaw on it.

What else do we know about zombies that can help us pick the right sports for them? Well, the undead travel in mobs, and innately tend to copy each other's movements. I’m not sure whether this has to do with peer pressure or team spirit, but in either case zombies are perfect for synchronized swimming! If you want to see the ultimate expression of coordinated motion, put eight zombies in a shallow pool and dangle a swinging teenager overhead.

Finally, zombies hordes are often described as "relentless" and "unstoppable." It is these very qualities that make them ideally suited for endurance sports, such as cross-country. This especially holds true when the event consists crossing an entire country. If the race is long enough, living athletes will eventually get fatigued or hungry. Zombies, however, can complete long races without stopping, provided they don't get sidetracked by 1) seeing a person or animal during the course of the race, or by 2) getting beheaded. Plus zombies can eat and eat and they never have to go to the bathroom.

Which probably explains why they walk like that.

With warmest regards,