Real Zombie Survival Guide
Tim Sunderman
Illustration by Monstersinsuits
Vhcle Magazine Issue 14, Life
life design music photography home us film art fashion global notes archive books
             terms & conditions               about us               contact us               search archive               write for us    terms%20%26%20conditions.htmlus.htmlcontact%20us.htmlarchive.htmleditorial%20information.htmlshapeimage_19_link_0shapeimage_19_link_1shapeimage_19_link_2shapeimage_19_link_3shapeimage_19_link_4
Tim Sunderman is a graphic designer in the San Francisco bay area who does most of his art without a computer, using traditional techniques in drawing, painting, photography, calligraphy, and even sculpture. He is a graduate of the Academy of Art in San Francisco. He eschews speaking of himself in the third person, as he is here, but doesn't mind too much for shameless self-promotion.
Read other articles by Tim Sunderman
Visit Tim’s website:
Illustration by: Monstersinsuits / Instagram: @monstersinsuits
/  life
You can be reckless and free. It’s not like you are going to die. But you may also become moody for no reason. You may become very aggressive, lashing out, and not knowing the reasons why. You will likely have a burning insatiable hunger in your stomach that seeks only living human brain matter to briefly allay its torment. You may become depressed or anxious. Many zombies might find it helpful to join a support group. You might find that you are not the only one struggling with these changes.
Aside from emotions, there are other more down-to-earth choices that will require some attention. In life, you might have enjoyed the benefits of fastidious personal hygiene and a certain freshness of countenance. But, as a zombie, modesty must prevail. Do not – I repeat – DO NOT shower. Do not brush your hair or teeth. You will be much more delicate. You do not want to dissolve large sloughs of flesh or pull out large patches of hair. You must try to always be aware that you will not be growing any new cells. You may need to limit your presentation to your clothing.
You may find your smell to be utterly repulsive, but do not try to mask it over with scented oils or colognes. Nobody wants to smell fetid necrotic tissue mixed with the smell of strawberry perfume, especially other zombies, with their heightened sense of smell. Don’t be embarrassed. Your new friends will be as malodorous as you.
Another challenge in adapting to your new zombie unlife will be finding food, and lots of it. You will have to adapt to a very narrow diet. Only living human flesh will suffice. Brains are great, but entrails will still do the trick. Obviously, you can’t eat dead people. You're not a vulture, for God’s sake. Nor will you want to eat other animals. It causes intense debilitating headaches and nausea beyond any discomfort you have known. It’s time to leave the critters alone.
So, where do you go to strap on the human feedbag? To the mall, of course. That’s where you will find every dim-witted, unimaginative, plodding, cow-like human who, because they have seen one zombie movie, think they know something no one else knows – that they will be safe at the mall. Everyone will be there. Talk about low hanging fruit. It will be a feast. They won’t be the cleverest of people, so that should help level the playing field a bit. Let’s face it – as a zombie, the old synapses won’t be firing as quickly as they used to. Tactics and cunning won’t be your strength, nor coordination and heroics. Rely on your sheer numbers to overwhelm the living. Walk shoulder to shoulder with your ilk in the dignity of the common man, who, by the misfortune of history, happen to be undead.
There is no shame in this, nor malice, nor misdeed. It is simply a new way. We have always prided ourselves on our adaptability. This will be no different. We will assess our situation, adjust to the new world, then move ahead consuming everything in our path, leaving behind a lifeless wasteland, just as we have always done.

You might be thinking that this is just another one of those articles about how to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse. But this is far more practical. Let’s face facts. There is only a very slim possibility that you will be one of the few lucky living people during that time — estimates place the likelihood below one percent. It is almost a certainty that you will be one of the unliving, a stumbling, cretinous minion of the dead. So it only makes sense to take some prudent precautions and prepare for what will, for most of us, become the inevitable future.
Let’s start by dispelling some myths about zombies. First of all, zombie is not a virus. There seems to be a lot of disinformation floating around out there about the transmission and epidemiology of zombification, as though it were simply a disease to be contracted and passed on. This is not an entirely unfounded misinterpretation: when people are bitten by zombies, they often become zombies themselves. But this is not because of some old wives tale about a zombie virus. It is because zombies’ mouths are a breeding ground absolutely filled with very toxic bacteria, not least Ebola, tetanus, and rabies. Without an immune system to counteract the proliferation of bacteria and diseases in the zombie body, it is no wonder that their bite can create a very serious infection in the living. So, the fever, chills, and swelling around the bite area are often mistaken for a specific zombie virus. In itself, it is not necessarily fatal, but in most cases you are going to die. And since hell will be full at that time, you will have to wander the earth aimlessly as a zombie.
Another myth about the coming zompocalypse is severing the head from a zombie will kill It. Look, they are already dead, but cutting off the head won’t stop it from moving around. Its cells will remain animate until each one is ruptured or incinerated. However, once the head is removed, it’s not like the head can tell the body what to do – putting you, as a zombie, in a difficult situation.
Finally, zombies can’t run. That’s just a bunch of Hollywood nonsense where they try to sensationalize the fear factor surrounding dead people walking around. It is a scientifically proven fact that zombies lack the coordination and focus to run.
Now that we have cleared up some of the misconceptions, it would be advisable to move on to some of the more practical considerations that the vast majority of us will have to face. I know what you are thinking. Believe me, I know. “Not me. Not me.” I can hear it now. Yes, none of us want to face the reality that statistically we are destined to joining the ranks of the morbidly deceased. May you be so blessed as not to. Hey, we all want to win the lottery too, but we need a back-up plan. So, in the case of having made “the turn,” let’s take a calm and sober look at what we can expect.
First of all, don’t panic. Sure, becoming a zombie can be a confusing awkward time where your body will be going through some new and strange feelings, but it can also be one of the most exciting times. It’s just that you will never feel excitement again. You will feel blood pool up in your extremities and coagulate. You will never have to sleep again, or work, or pay bills. Pain will be but a dull sensation.