Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

March 19, 2013

Why is everyone so fascinated with zombies?

By Mike Redmond

— There are advantages to getting older, and I'm not just talking about reduced prices on fried chicken when you eat supper at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Chief among these advantages, in my view, is no longer having to worry because you don't understand popular culture. In fact, you can freely admit it, which I do, often. This would have been the kiss of death, popularity-wise, when I was a young man:

Mike: You know, I just don't get Roller Disco.

Mike's friends: Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Roller Disco is the groovy expression of youthful exuberance combining the seductive beat of disco music and the sinewy turns of disco dancing with the athletic grace of roller skating. You are so out of touch, Mike Redmond. Ha ha ha ha ha ha some more. See you later, you jive turkey. Come on, gang - let's boogie!

Oh, how embarrassing it was. Although as you can see by the number of Roller Disco palaces around these days, I eventually came out ahead on that deal.

These days, I find myself puzzled by the popularity of zombies.

I'm an old-school monster kind of guy - love my Frankenstein, my Wolfman, my Dracula, my Mummy (because you should always love your Mummy). And I'm not talking remakes. I mean the creaky old original films from Universal Studios. Those monsters scared me when I was watching them on Sammy Terry's Nightmare Theater, and I still get a tiny thrill of terror seeing their hokey selves on DVDs.

But zombies? I just don't understand the fascination. They shuffle around with deplorable skin conditions mumbling about eating brains and destroying anyone who gets in their way.

So what? Take away the part about the brains and it's just another clearance sale.

They strike a chord with modern America, though. Maybe it's because we DO act that way at clearance sales - the old zombie metaphor for rampant consumerism. You remember. We all studied it back in junior high.

Whatever the reason, I think zombies are dumb and it doesn't bother me in the slightest to be out of step on this one.

Another good thing about getting older is you can say things that might have occurred to others who were too afraid to voice them. For example, on this whole recent horsemeat-in-the-hamburger-scandal: How come it's okay to eat Elsie the Cow and Arnold the Pig and Foghorn Leghorn, but nobody better lay a fork on Mister Ed?

Not that I'm advocating eating horsemeat. I wouldn't touch the stuff if it were the last burger on earth. I just wonder why horses get a pass while the other animals get passed around the table.

Maybe it's the cowboy thing. Maybe it's the "National Velvet'/"My Friend Flicka" thing. It does seem to be an American thing. I recall reading a study about comparing 1960s student protests in Europe with those in America. If a European policeman's mount were injured, the students didn't pay any attention. If it happened to an American police horse, however, the students became gravely concerned for the animal and the rioting calmed right down.

Oh well, like I said, I'm just asking. Which I can do, being older. And frankly, I find it way more satisfying than a leg and a thigh (chicken, not horse) with mashed potatoes in the middle of the afternoon.

Take that, you jive turkey zombies.

© 2013 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.