Piece of Mind

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by Tony Russo

For those of you who might have missed this week’s Todcast (posted below as always) a brief summary:

In his article about the Walking Dead, Chuck Klosterman ties our zombie fascination with the real world application is has on our lives. Simply put, we like zombies because the rules of the game are pretty clear keep killing zombies until they’re all gone or you are dead. He applied that rule to our office-drone life. The email comes slowly and methodically, as do the texts and voicemails, and we deal with them deliberately, one at a time, until they stop coming or we die.

Cheery, I know.

What brought the zombie essay to mind was a Facebook meme featuring a screenshot of the Chris Farley Saturday Night Live skit wherein he is a motivational speaker who lives in a van down by the river. It is a still with Farley screaming and the words: “For the love of God stop sending me game requests.”

Facebook game requests add a different dimension to the email-as-zombie-onslaught problem. Added to the existential threat of being overwhelmed by our electronic lives, is the deeper frustration of its meaninglessness. From the point of view of the sender, the last 500 games may have not been to your liking, but this 501st game will certainly be something that interests you.

But from the perspective of the non-gamer each invitation is a reminder of how insignificant is their participation. Every unanswered or ignored game request followed by another invitation reinforces how meaningless our online lives are and, given the amount of time we spend in the virtual world, how meaningless their real world extensions.

It’s enough to make a person scream.

But what is most interesting, in light of the zombie/email theory, is whether and how we scream could be an indication of a person’s approach to the zombie apocalypse.

It is important to protect your humanity from the virtual world by hiding it from attack. Virtual intrusion should be met straightfacedly.

In the zombie scenario, allowing the constant inundation to make you crack is the equivocation of using a shotgun when a machete would do. The brain-splatter is satisfying as hell, but it only calls attention to your whereabouts.

Instead, cultivate the resolution that is the key to being successful during the zombie apocalypse. Participating in the virtual world for anyone reading this ranges from critical to vaguely necessary. We must occupy a world in which our individuality is under constant attack, screaming “I’m here” won’t help.

Instead choose the delete key and the hide button. They are the machetes of the virtual world: silent, efficient and never in need of reloading.

Tony Russo
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Tony Russo has worked as a print and digital journalist for the better part of the 21st century, writing for and editing regional weeklies, dailies and destination websites including OceanCity.com and ShoreCraftBeer.com. Tony has written two books on beer for the History Press. Eastern Shore Beer (2014) and Delaware Beer (2016). He lives in Delmar, Md. with his wife Kelly and the only of his four daughters who hasn't moved out. Together they keep their dog and cat comfortable.