BY Nic Olig
Musings about zombies used to entail more of a commitment to a niche, and that niche could be found at places such as widely ignored lunch tables. What was once a cultish fascination has gradually trended into the mainstream, so much so that one of the most popular shows on television takes place in a world overrun by walking corpses. Years ago, zombie-chats were for pale introverts with little interest in locker rooms or hunting shacks, but with the success of The Walking Dead, popularity is quite shockingly starting to work in the favor of nerds.
However, when it comes to withstanding the violence of a zombie uprising, being a nerd is a serious drawback. Unlike Resident Evil, I never got into rugged pursuits like hunting and fishing. My stance is that I can buy meat from a store or restaurant without going to all the trouble of killing and gutting some animal. It makes sense to me, but I have to admit, should tomorrow be fraught with mayhem, anarchy, and zombies, I have almost NO survival skills. I’d be screwed.
I have friends who hunt, fish, and most importantly, own guns, and they tend to lack strong feelings about The Walking Dead. (It’s a limited sample size, but I think it represents a greater truth.) They usually have better things to do than game plan strategies regarding a hypothetical event involving monsters. When I was out playing laser tag in high school, they were shooting holes in the guts of bucks. I’m at peace with that, but the moment I spot the mailman being eaten by a data entry clerk, I know I’ll have to call up a friend with a gun collection.
I’ll have to beg to be a part of a group with firearms. But I will have a lot of tactical ideas to offer that group. Far too much thought on the matter of zombies has culminated in me realizing the best place to survive such a hellish ordeal. And I’ll soon tell you what I’d do and where I’d go, as long as you promise to keep it a secret.
Once I got a pal to break down and agree to let me be a part of their gun-wielding posse, I’d grab my aluminum bat and head straight for my car, using my quick feet to avoid trouble, only swinging when necessary. Home runs are exciting, sure, but it’s much easier to hit a single to ensure you’ll be safe. At my friend’s house, I’d probably get the lowdown on hunter safety, everything from “don’t point this at me” to “blah-blah-blah.” Then I’d cock my loaner shotgun just ‘cause it looks and sounds cool and declare to my team of survivors:
“We’re going to Miller Park.”
Completed in 2001, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers stands as the closest, most rational save haven from those dreaded z-words. Some reasons for occupying a stadium are more obvious than others, so allow me to endorse Miller Park’s resume as a doomsday sanctuary. For protective purposes, the facility contains fences at every major entrance. Its barriers against predators are plentiful, and its ascending bleachers provide easy access to higher ground, too. In emergencies, even higher ground can be taken by snipers on catwalks as well as Bernie’s Dugout atop that winding yellow slide. (Dibs!)
Sanitation and living conditions are made suitable by the ballpark’s expansive locker rooms, which include showers and fancy bathrooms. Who wouldn’t want to store their stuff in the old locker of the once-living Ryan Braun, or bathe away all that splattered blood in a hot tub powered by a generator?! Additionally, a number of luxury boxes and offices permit the kind of comfort most humans wouldn’t dare dream of during an onslaught of dumb, psychotic cadavers.
The food horde is astounding, and the generator also proves its worth in the kitchens. Miller Park’s stadium guide cites over two-dozen restaurants and bars. Whether you prefer to gorge on a stockpile of hot dogs, bratwursts, Polish Sausages (there are FOUR Brat Boys, mind you), hamburgers, nachos, pizzas, soft pretzels, grilled cheese sandwiches, waffled and cheese fries, or that make-shifted hamburger/grilled cheese double-decker the snobby vendor never agrees to cook, you’ll soon be so pleasantly plump the zombies on the other side of the gates will ogle you the way I ogle Lauren Cohan. As a more dangerous and fun alternative, ballpark survivors are free to determine once and for all how long they could last on a diet composed strictly of beer and peanuts.
You can stuff your face with those ordinarily overpriced brats and nachos for a while, but for a renewable source of food, the outfield has to offer over three acres of natural grass for farming. As an important aside, remember to raid a small town’s Walmart en route to Milwaukee for a plethora of supplies, including fertilizer, seeds, and gardening equipment. Granted, as we all know, vegetables are not as tasty as burgers and cultivating crops seems a bit dull, but renewable food is a must, and on the bright side: broccoli can be dipped in nacho cheese, and if you find yourself in a bind, a boring-old rake can be used for exciting things like impaling rotted skulls. To further enhance farming, the towering planes of glass that outline the stadium facilitate sunlight and therefore natural grass even when the roof is closed.
That retractable roof will be useful throughout inclement weather and, of course, the long winters, and get this: the seating area is warmed by up to 30 degrees when Miller Park transforms into its cocoon-state. Meanwhile, zombie-Braun and all the other staggering groaners outside the structure will have their bad intentions impeded by snowfalls and icy sidewalks.
Other Miller Park-perks to consider when the walkers come to devour us all include security guard weapons such as nightsticks and pepper spray, handcuffs and holding cells, dozens of baseball bats (if there’s one signed by Henry Aaron in a display case somewhere, I call dibs), sprinklers and plenty of relatively safe (all things considered) outdoor fun, escalators to mess with the zombies, and in the announcer’s booth: a joke-gift of the Major League trilogy on DVD that Bob Uecker never bothered to unwrap.
Perhaps the best thing of all is a footnote. Imagine having to go on a rescue mission to save a loved one, or, if your fantasy prefers, Hank the Dog, and advancing with four friends across the parking lot in a blaze of bullets and head-bashing, only to be swarmed by the undead. Imagine their savage teeth chomping at your throat. And imagine overcoming that carnage with your rescued teammate in tow, retreating safely into the stadium, where everyone would remove their protective costumes: Brat, Hot Dog, Italian, Polish, and Chorizo.
I can think of no better way to survive.