By Art Allen
Art Allen is a nonprofit community manager and freelance writer living Minneapolis.
In the past decade or so there has been an explosion of zombies in popular culture. Which is not to say zombies haven't been shambling around for centuries. Recently, though, films, books, and bar crawls have positioned us, as a society, to be prepared for the coming zombie apocalypse.
But the fact of the matter is: We have not actually experienced a zombie apocalypse. We have heaped so many of our fears — indeed, our own insecurities about the deliciousness of our own brains — onto zombies, yet we have not stopped to ask: What if Mr. Zombie is a nice guy?
This is the difference between the movie "Independence Day," where no sooner do the aliens arrive than they begin shooting and angering all of the 1990s' best film actors, and "Star Trek," where the aliens show up and start cooperating with everyone. This is the future I prefer to dream about and watch on television.
Any race of benevolent aliens will probably just pass us over — and that's fine; we've got a zombie apocalypse to worry about down here. But that's the thing: The benevolent zombies, no matter how uninterested in our planet they are, couldn't pass us over — because they are us.
I prefer to assume there will be less of a zombie apocalypse and more of a zombie rapture: a horrific virus or mutation unleashes kind zombie grandfathers handing out butterscotch candies; a zombie father coming home to zombie children playing with a deflated ball (not even their toys can escape life in death); a zombie mother in a filthy apron making of a fresh pot of grains. Yes, that's right, I said grains.
Research on zombies and their need to eat human brains is sketchy at best. How do we know they are not craving grains, or plantains, or sar-dains? It may very well be that in our zombie-filled future all they want to do is eat your grains, farmer. And they will pay you a zombie buck for it. (Also, in this future the zombies have their own currency.)
So do not heap your prejudices on the disgusting undead. We must use our brains — not for food, but for good. I see a bright, apocalyptic future where we are kind to our zombie cousins. I see a future where zombies and humans serve side by side on a starship, fighting hand in hand against the real enemy: werewolves.