A couple of foundational points:
1. As I mentioned recently, I love stickers. That day in kindergarten when the teacher showed you the little chart she’d made, and explained that she would put stickers on your chart if you did what you were supposed to? Yeah, that day made a profound impact on me. Mirty-mumble years later, there are very few things that I won’t do for the chance to earn a sticker.
2. Moon Man and I have just finished watching Season 1 of The Walking Dead on Netflix. While not officially a Zombie Aficionado, I do enjoy a good zombie-based piece every now and again, and The Walking Dead is frankly fantastic. (I also love Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series of novels for young adults. See? I’m well-rounded.)
Got those two points? 1. Stickers, 2. Zombies. Yes? Away we go, then.
Today Moon Man and I tackled the yard. One of the things that I love about our yard is that we’ve got a several well-established trees, plus trees in all our neighbors’ yards. It always creeps me out a little bit when I see a tree-less subdivision; it looks all desolate and bare and a little bit obscene. But here we’ve got trees and lots of ’em, and they provide shade and privacy and something lovely to look at.
And then once a year, they wage war on us. They fling leaves at our heads, pile ’em up like little barricades, and generally do everything they can to drown us under a pleasant-smelling, delightfully rustly little mountain.
So of course, being the fine upstanding suburbanites that we are, we fight back. We’ve got thumbs, see, and tools, and free time on the weekends. So we spend a day tackling the piles, raking and mulching and rearranging and generally reclaiming the yard in the name of Humanity. We should really get a flag.
And all of this hustling and bustling and pushing and shoving and dragging tends to wear a body out, which got me to thinking about whether I should get a sticker today. I give myself a sticker on any day that I exercise–right now that’s usually jogwalking, though I also earned a sticker yesterday by going and playing “woccer” (that’s “walking” + “soccer”) with Moon Man on the nearby high school field. It was a short-lived game (as it turns out, the pros wear shin guards for a very good reason), but it was delightful and it burned some calories and got our heart rates up, and that was pretty much the point of the thing. So when we got home from our “game”, I put a sticker on the calendar and congratulated myself for a job well done.
But today–was that really exercise? I mean, yeah, I sweated, and yeah, I moved around, and yeah, I used some muscles, but does that really count? I mean, really really?
So I thought about it while I took my post-yardwork shower, and I think I’ve decided to go with the following guideline:
If there is any chance that what you have just done will help prepare you physically for life post-zombiepocalypse, then it counts and you get a sticker.
There are lots of things I can do to help myself prepare intellectually–we’ve got a bunch of miscellaneous books on how to do things the “old-fashioned” way, i.e., by hand, and I reckon I can always just flip through one of those to figure out how to, say, bake over an open fire or make pants from scraps of fabric salvaged from a stranger’s house. I can use my aggressive nurturing skills to help people cope psychologically, and I can use my leadership skills to help identify people’s strengths and bring them together as a team.
But if the ‘pocalypse happens tomorrow and it comes to a BW-vs-zombies footrace? Save yourselves.
If it is somehow my job to personally clear a field so we can plant a garden? I’ll go read about what crops grow best around here.
If the nearest safe water source is 3 miles away and someone needs to help collect 50 gallons at a time and haul it back here? I’ll stay here and build up the fire so we can boil it when you get back.
In short, unless life post-zombiepocalypse really needs someone to set up a makeshift library and do storytime with the little ones, I’m going to be less than useless. I am zombie food. May as well start brining myself in a tasty marinade.
Fortunately, zombiepocalypse hasn’t happened yet, so I’ve got time. And because of my current physical condition, there aren’t a whole lot of things that I can do that won’t help improve my fitness and survival chances. Pushing a mower around the yard? Helps build stamina and strength. It counts. Churning butter by hand? Stamina and strength. It counts. Gradually increasing the number of steps that I can jog on my little every-other-day jaunts? Stamina and strength, plus it specifically helps me outrun at least the slower zombies. Totally counts.
So I’m giving myself a sticker today, because when you look at it from a zombiepocalypse perspective, all activity counts and is totally valid–you never know when you’ll need someone who just happens to have developed the specific muscles associated with raking up the carnage of an autumnal leaf-based assault. And that person may as well be me.
Besides, this way I get a lot more stickers.