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.
Mark Marek Photography
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.