When I'm not pretending to be a writer, I spend my days reconciling debits and credits, reviewing financial information and talking to people about their tax returns. All in all, it's pretty boring work, and it has a tendency to paint me in a very conservative light. That's why I love the look of confusion and wonder on the faces of the people I interact with when I tell them that I'm on the board of the world's premiere non-stationary cadaver suppression force, Zombie Squad.
If you work, live or play in South City, then you've probably heard the organization's name, at least in passing. Maybe you've seen one of the fleet of post-apocalyptic-looking vehicles driving around. Maybe you've seen some of our members and friends sporting the ZS logo on their clothes or tattooed on their bodies. You may have just picked up a business card left behind in a restaurant. However you've heard of us, if you're like many people, you've probably wondered exactly what this organization is about.
Simply put, Zombie Squad believes that mankind must be ready for the day when the reanimated corpses of our friends and neighbors rise from their graves to feast on the flesh of the living. Should that day come, ZS members stand ready to fend off the zombie horde and survive in the post-apocalyptic world. Fortunately for humanity, there doesn't appear to be a zombocalypse in our near future. So, ZS members spend their time training and preparing for other types of disasters as well. Ultimately, as one of ZS's unofficial mottos proclaims, if you're ready for zombies, you're ready for anything.
There was once a time in the United States when people kept basic necessities on hand for emergency situations. People stored canned goods, bottled water, non-perishables, candles and other items necessary to survive when the conveniences of modern living weren't available. If they were snowed in for a week, they had enough food on hand to live comfortably until they could make it to the store. If the power went out, they had a supply of batteries and flashlights so they wouldn't have to stumble in the dark. The sound of emergency alert sirens was a sign to take out a battery-powered radio and head to the basement until weather conditions improved. Those days seem to be gone, though.
Nationally, we can look to the recent events in New Orleans, where millions of people were met unprepared with one of the largest natural disasters in our country's history. In the aftermath, many residents were forced to scrounge for supplies. News coverage of the April 2003 blackout that left nearly 40 million Americans without power showed how helpless some people were when restaurants and grocery stores were unavailable to meet their basic needs. Whenever our own city is faced with a major snowstorm, the news is flooded with images of citizens rushing to the store to purchase shovels, salt, food and other supplies.
Zombie Squad exists because of instances like these. The organization began with a conversation among friends in 2003 about how they could survive a disaster better than characters in the movie they'd just watched. As they discussed the strategies they'd use to survive a zombie apocalypse, the organization was born. Since then, that small group of zombie movie fans has grown into a nationwide network of individuals committed to helping each other improve themselves. Zombie Squad members come from every walk in life and every political affiliation. Our members teach each other what they know about subjects ranging from ham radio equipment to subsistence gardening to firearm safety. We constantly stress that planning and preparing today makes dealing with a disaster much simpler once it happens.
ZS also encourages its members to get involved in their communities. This past November, we held the first Zombie Squad Trivia Spectacular, which raised more than $1,300 for Youth In Need. In September, we held a national fundraising drive that raised more than $2,600 for Katrina relief. Members in Canada held a party that raised funds for multiple myeloma research, and members locally and nationally donate their time to charities in their areas. We believe that it is important to give back to the communities we live in. After all, if the zombies do attack, we only have each other to rely on. Mankind has to stand together, whether we're staring down a natural disaster or the masses of undead flesh eaters.
If you'd like to learn more about the organization, check out the website or show up to one of our monthly gatherings on the third Sunday of the month at City Diner. Find out about these and other upcoming events here.
Chris Cyr can write you a story, do your taxes and protect your family during a zombie apocalypse. Check out his blog at zombiekiller.blogspot.com.