Ten reasons I’m glad I’m not a zombie

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(…even if I sometimes feel like one)

This is an Easter inspired post, no really, you know, the whole rising from the dead thing that Jesus had mastered, as reinterpreted through popular media into the whole living dead franchise! (Definitely less tenuous a link than comparing the eclipse and Bonnie Tyler)

1. It’s possible Zombies aren’t a real thing, and that if I were dead that would actually be it.

2. I’m not convinced that human flesh and braaiiinnnsss in particular are all that tasty. It seems sad to lose my carefully developed appreciation of fine culinary experiences like melted cheese and potatoes (here’s to you Swiss cuisine), fiancé-made ginger Mojitos and best of all warm salty popcorn and Galaxy Minstrels combined (do not knock it until you’ve tried it)!

3. It sounds pretty frustrating, we all know Zombies tend to lose much in the way of brain function when they come back to life. Some might say that’s a fair trade off, chance to live again versus decreased intelligence, and there’s definitely truth to the old saying ‘ignorance is bliss’. However, it’s got to be a bit annoying that when there is a nice tasty human hiding in a nearby room, you can’t get at them by just simply using the handle to open the door but instead are forced to smash a window and potentially hurt yourself just for a bite.

4. It seems a shame that rather than loved ones being all excited to see me again after my untimely demise, they instead rush to bash my head in with old records, cricket bats and tubes of metal piping (where do people find those anyway?).

5. If you were one of the first Zombies it’d be cool and novel and trendsetting but then as everyone starts copying you, you’d move from minority to majority and then be less unique and special and no-one would know whether you were one of the originals or a copycat and would continue to try to destroy your brains without giving you any credit for originality.

6. Communication will be so much more difficult when your vocabulary is limited to a range of moans and groans. Future blog posts would be limited to things like ‘grooaann GRRooaaaaaannnnnnn, groan, groANnnn’ and that’d probably be a bit tedious and lose me readers.

7. Personal hygiene really goes out the window. I’ll admit I like the odd day where I don’t have a shower and might bum around in PJs for an entire day every now and then but I really don’t want the whole rotten flesh stench following me around all the time. I’m not sure that even Febreeze could hide that.

8. It sounds quite exhausting, constantly on the move searching for food, having to tear open people to get at their yummy intestines. You never see Zombies sleeping or going out to a nice restaurant where people just bring the food to you, do you?

9. You are constantly being judged negatively. With very few exceptions (not discounting Nicholas Hoult winner ‘Warm Bodies’) zombies are generally cast as the bad guy and no-one living is prepared to give them the time of day (except psychopathic children in The Walking Dead but they aren’t the best endorsers).

10. I’m afraid I might try to eat my cats, which would make me feel bad. Eating the fiancé and other friends and family would be quite bad but trying to munch on the four-legged fluff monsters would be a travesty!

For more Zombie related blogging you can check out my post ‘The zombie wedding I wasn’t allowed to have‘, if you want to.
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Dining with the dead

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“The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALast Sunday I took part in a free walking tour of my new home city, kindly organised by the City of Geneva. This particular walk was focused on Geneva’s parks and gardens and took the group on a meandering tour from the Brunswick Monument on the left bank of the lake across to the newly reopened Musée d’Ethnographie.

One of our last stops was the Plainpalais Cemetery, known locally as Cimetière des Rois (Cemetery of the Kings) in tribute to the notable personages buried there which include John Calvin, figurehead of the 16th century protestant reformation; Jean Luis Borges, famous Argentinian writer; Sofiya Dostoyevsky, daughter of Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky and many more illustrious personages.

I already knew the cemetery well, as it’s close to my work place, and I had passed through and visited on many an occasion. So when the tour guide told us that in the summer this was a common picnicking spot I didn’t exhibit the surprise of some of my fellow tourists. I had seen that with my own eyes and have in fact consumed lunch in the cemetery on more than one occasion.

When a colleague first took me to eat in the cemetery, on a beautifully sunny October day, she seemed almost apologetic for bringing me there. I think she thought I might find the idea of eating our homemade food amongst the dead as somehow unseemly.

I don’t know why people have an aversion to cemeteries or fear of the dead, which is presumably where the aversion to their resting place comes from. I don’t know if ghosts exist or not but if they do I don’t see that there is any reason to fear them. If there are ghosts then I imagine them to be a sort of reflection or echo of the person they once were and as I have a tendency to believe all people are pretty decent at heart I see no reason to think that their spirits would be any different.

It also seems strange to me the idea that there ought to be a respectful distancing of ourselves from the dead whereby the idea of showing any happiness or joy in these places of death is to be severely condemned, as though the deceased would want us wailing over them forever.

My only negative experience in a graveyard revolved around a primary school incident of trying to raise a particular spirit from their grave, which ended badly in getting me grounded for two weeks for returning home two hours later than I was supposed to (we were waiting for it to get dark).

But the truth is, I have always rather liked cemeteries. I have many fond, and wholly unsqueamish, memories of walking around burial grounds with my parents from an early age. I liked the flowers, the calm and trying to read the inscriptions washed away by time on the oldest tombstones. But mostly I liked reading through the names, the dates of birth and death, the families recorded in the same plot and taking a moment to stop and think about the once living people who now lay beneath the earth.

I think my love of history comes from the same basic root of wanting to find a way to connect with those of the past. To think how their lives may have been, what they may have felt, to imagine myself in their shoes and to wonder if anyone in the future will ever try to connect with an historical version of myself?

I suppose that is also why I have a strong desire to one day write a great novel in the same way others desire to make their mark in film, be renowned for scientific discovery, bring about a revolution or raise a legion of children, grand-children and great-grandchildren. It’s the desire to be remembered and, in recognition of the truth that our lives are but fleeting moments in history, to think that there is a way in which we may continue to live on beyond our allocated time.

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So, I explained to my lunch companion that I felt no compunction in enjoying the autumn sun, eating my sandwiches and relaxing in a cemetery. I think the idea of the living mingling with the dead is somehow a rather comforting thought.

Those of us picnicking in Plainpalais cemetery probably haven’t chosen the spot because we have some sort of morbid fascination with the ghoulish, we have come because it is a pleasant spot to be in. And if, whilst we are there to enjoy ourselves, we take a moment to look at a few stones, to read the names carved upon and to take a moment to think about the people they memorialise then that seems a more honourable way to remember the dead than to keep a ‘respectful’ distance.