Apocalypses, by definition, are hard to survive.
They’re messy and disgusting and ultimately fatal, but narratively speaking, there’s a lot a clever person can do to stay ahead of the gore. Just take AMC’s The Walking Dead, for example. While the bloodshed can seem arbitrary, an in-depth study reveals some handy, sure-fire dos and don’ts for staying alive* in a fictional and televised zombie pandemic.
WHAT NOT TO DO
1. Do NOT enter into a monogamous relationship.
We get it — apocalypses are depressing and sad. Having a significant other to cuddle with at the campfire can seem mighty tempting, but you must resist! When it comes time to have the relationship defining talk, go into distraction mode. (“Is that a zombie behind you?” will probably do the trick.) Seriously, a monogamous relationship is the kiss of death in walker land.
Fatal Examples: Rick and Lori, Beth and Zach, Otis and Patricia
Notable Exception: Glenn and Maggie (Be worried, Gleggie fans.)
2. Do NOT be anyone’s brother or sister.
Familial relationships are almost as bad as romantic ones. Apocalypses tend to favor the lone wolf — not the whole wolf pack. If you’ve got a sibling or two hanging about, be afraid. One of you ain’t making it out of the season.
Fatal Examples: Andrea and her sister Amy, Daryl and his brother Merle
Notable Exception: Tyreese and Sasha
3. Do NOT try and play both sides of a human conflict.
Come on — is a zombie apocalypse not enough? Unless you’re a certified mediator, pick a side and stay there. Delusions of grandeur about your ability to improve, change or otherwise shake up human drama will only result in your own gruesome death.
Fatal Examples: Shane, Andrea, Merle
4. Do NOT go to the bathroom alone.
Ideally, you just don’t go to the bathroom (diapers are an option), but if you have to leave the relative safety of the group take a weaker human along with you as a zombie buffer. Lonely treks are just an invitation for surprisingly sneaky walkers.
Fatal Example: Amy
Notable Exception: Daryl — he can do whatever he wants.
5. Do NOT get pregnant.
This is the apocalypse!! It’s doubtful that the human species will ever recover. No joke. So stop procreating. Not only will your pregnancy usher in a helpless baby that needs weird, rare food and constant protection, but your actual labor is guaranteed to be awful. Like your son might have to shoot you in the brain so you don’t turn into a zombie. Just… Don’t do it.
Fatal Example: Lori
WHAT TO DO
1. DO flirt with anyone and everyone.
Nothing can keep you breathing in a televised thriller like keeping the romance alive with multiple survivors — or viewers at home. Remember: Monogamy is boring, but the potential for love is forever. In other words, love triangles, squares, and pentagons are your friend.
Living Example: Beth, Daryl
Notable Exception: Andrea
2. DO pick up essential medical skills no one else has.
This should go without saying. Everyone needs a doctor, even a doctor with only one good leg. If the doctor slot on your survivor team is already taken, then consider talking up your dental or nutritional knowledge. Just because it’s the apocalypse doesn’t mean you all have to live like a bunch of savages.
Living Example: Hershel
3. DO follow the orders of your arguably insane leader.
Apocalypses favor the bold — and the followers of the bold. But make sure you’re a good follower. Free spirits who don’t stay put when told will not find a happy ending (We’re looking at you, Sophia).
Living Example: Glen, The Governor’s trustworthy henchmen
Notable Exception: T-Dog
4. DO wield a bad-ass weapon.
Never forget that in an action-packed narrative, the man (or woman) with the most photogenic weapon is king. So throw out your ho-hum gun and go for the more exotically interesting tools of destruction.
Living Example: Daryl and his crossbow, Michonne and her katana
5. DO be slightly deranged and trigger happy.
While this is a possibly short-lived solution, being a megalomaniac is a fantastic way to earn yourself a few extra days of life among the living. Everyone loves a megalomaniac, after all, especially one who knows how to shoot straight and often. Throw in a few layers of CRAZY, and you’re good to go.
Living Example: Rick, the Governor, Michonne
Notable Exception: Shane
*None of these dos and don’ts are guaranteed to do anything except ensure good television for couch potatoes like myself. If you have your own more practical (or more ridiculous) tips to getting by in the end of times, educate the masses in the comments!
Written by: Hayley I