How to trap a zombie: A dramatization.

(Photo by Maria Robertson)

My first year at university, my dorm neighbors Jessie and Maria were rather, shall we say, needy. Not a quiet evening of homework went by (are you really surprised I was nerdy?) without the sudden, muffled interruption of “KAAAAAAATE!” being yelled from next door. Dutifully, I would shuffle the 12 feet over to their room to see what tragedy required my attention.

Often, the problem was hairy with teeny tiny fangs and eight legs. Jessie and Maria decided early on that I was their on-call Spider Slayer. So one time, I came in to find Jessie, wearing high heels over her socks, screeching and teetering atop one of those obscenely colorful foot stools Target convinces every college freshman they neeeeeed, as Maria panicked and hopped on their couch, pointing at an itsy bitsy fellow meandering across their floor. Scary stuff, guys. Good thing I was there to save you.

Ridiculous as it may have been, you’d think this time of training, of routinely ridding our rooms of arachnids, would have prepared me for fighting zombies. Surely, I am now a king of killing, a master in murder.

Alas, dear reader, I am just as timid as always. Even now, as I write this at my house, a dead spider lurks on my floor, curled up under the cup I suffocated it in because, ewww, I didn’t want to actually smush it.

And how much worse will smushing a zombie skull be? Gross! I’m too delicate for this apocalypse nonsense.

But delicate or not, I want to live past Dec. 21, and I’m guessing you do, too.

When the undead are attacking, you’re gonna be in trouble if you can’t run even half a mile or hyperventilate at the first sight of blood. You need a foundation of basic physical and psychological fitness to build strategy and survival on. Identify your weaknesses now, and work on improving them the next few months.

You should also be developing a Scooby-Doo mentality. You know all those mind-numbingly repetitive episodes you watched as a kid? They could prove to have some value. Take that, mom.

Think about it — the gang was ever improvising new ways to trip, trick or trap the monsters that dogged them. They were aces of escape, evasion and a well-timed laugh track. (OK, so maybe that last one won’t be much help during the end of the world.) And if bumbling Shaggy and airheaded Daphne were resourceful enough to defeat all those greedy, bitter, costumed old men, you and I can certainly take on a few zombies.

Ultimately, creativity is your most powerful weapon. Even if you don’t have the tools, strength or resolve to actually kill a zombie, you can still keep it away from you by:

• Cutting off its leg(s) with a long-handled blade or chain saw.

• Mauling it with a big rock.

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• Pinning it under said rock or some other heavy object.

• Running it over with your vehicle. (The Mystery Machine made into a zombie-bulldozer? Zoinks!)

• Tangling or wrapping its legs with rope, cloth, scarves, a belt, duct tape, woven reeds, whatever.

• Trapping it in a net, hole, lockable closet, cellar or large laundry basket. (Just catch some nutria for bait. Those pond creatures are good for something after all.)

• Starting a stampede of large animals to crush or distract it.

• Dropping a box of dynamite, a piano or an anvil on it. (Cartoon violence is so helpful for the apocalypse!)

Among zombie aficionados, debates arise as to whether the undead can be hurt or killed with fire or acid. We just don’t know for sure, as the creatures don’t exist yet. But if you happen to be holding a tub of acid as one is approaching you to attack, you might as well fling it at him. Maybe he’ll melt like the Wicked Witch of the West.

Same with a torch. Light that baby up! You’ve got nothing to lose.

As my family always says, you can fix anything with a yardstick. (We say this because my grandma has single-handedly repaired everything from a vacuum to a television with one.) And to that great wisdom I would add, you can get away from any zombie with a little creativity.

Or a little ammunition.

Next week: Target practice.

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