Sunday, February 27, 2011
Zombies, Veal and other Sins That Eat Your Brain
In many pop-culture instances, the zombie is depicted as a horrific eater of human brains...brains, brains, they moan as they shamble along in search of their delicacy of choice.
But why brains?
Consider the example of veal:
Veal is raised in a tightly-controlled environment in which the animal is not allowed any range of movement or chance of exercise and it is fed a horrible sludge of chemicals, antibiotics, hormones and by-products. The calf is never allowed to develop past childhood. This is not done to benefit the calf, it is done to make the resulting flesh-product soft, tender and marketable to the consumer. The zombie, if you will.
The average American brain has a lot in common with veal. Open the skull of Mr. Couch Potato and you'll find a swollen, flabby mass of pinkish-grey matter floating in a viscous, sticky pool of high-fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated palm oil, brine, piss and cheap, watery draft beer; a flaccid muscle that has never been encouraged or permitted to step outside the confines of its assigned place and as a result it has a plump and soggy tenderloin where the frontal lobe should be.
Any flesh steeped in this foul and gooey mental marinade would be irresistible to a zombie that enjoyed a diet of Cheetos, Big Macs and unpronounceable preservatives in life. Which most zombies did, I opine, since I have a feeling that bad diet causes the onset of Early Undead Syndrome in the first place.
The true horror of zombies is not that they are the 'walking dead', the true horror is their cannibalism. They are what they eat and what they eat is you.
But zombies are a heavy topic for an early Sunday morning. Let's shuffle on.
I'm nursing a cup of tepid machine-dispensed coffee and looking out the window of the break room at the mirrored windows across the street. Is someone looking back?
A woman's voice startles me. A serious-looking but pretty woman introduces herself and asks if I'm new in the office. She has seen me walking around and wonders what department I'm in.
I explain that I'm from out-of-town and leaving in a day or two. I listen to myself tell her that I like the way her earring match her eyes. I do like it, but why did I say that? My silent question is answered with a serious-looking but pretty smile.
Later there is a moment of confession and it sounds true because I have heard it all before and it does add up, but the story pauses so that roles can shift and suddenly I'm listening as a mother lies to her child. Tell your father, she says.
There is a hidden edge to the way she says 'father' and I don't need a confession to understand why that is, I already know. I've heard that before too.
I imagine her reviewing a mental checklist as she says goodbye and snaps her phone shut.
How easy that seems, flipping a switch. On. Off. On. Off. I could use a switch like that instead of the 240mm fader that I seem to be stuck with.
Right now I'd settle for a Mute button.