Driving the Walking Dead

Hamlet’s okay, but to be brutally honest, I prefer “The Walking Dead.” Love it. Have from the start. Every gory, gruesome, gut-wrenching moment.

Sure, the melancholy Dane talks to a skull. But at least it isn’t trying to rip out his throat in mid-soliloquy.

Still, nine seasons in, the series has begun to stretch the bounds of credulity with me.

Oh, not that the dead reanimate. I totally buy that. Just watch C-SPAN, if you can stomach it.

Not even that the few remaining humans keep slaughtering each other. That’s just the logical outcome of American political polarization and our infatuation with gun play.

No, what’s finally got me crying “fake news!” is that the survivors are all still driving around the apocalyptic landscape as though the refineries down in Houston were still pumping at full capacity.

Haven’t they Googled gasoline? The stuff starts to break down after six months, and by year two a gallon wouldn’t have enough zoom left to motivate the Energizer Bunny, let alone Daryl’s chopper and Rick’s pickup and that monster armored SUV in the “Fear” spinoff.

As Deadpool would say “that’s just lazy writing.”

Still, the more I think about it, the more sense these post-Dead perpetual motion machines are starting to make.

I finally figured it out folks. When you come right down to it, “The Walking Dead” is the perfect allegory for the end of auto-American Civilization As We Know It.

Turns out it won’t end with a whimper, or even a bang, but rather with a wheeze.

This occurred to me after reading that London scientists have established a link between high air pollution levels and soaring rates of dementia. They already discovered that air pollution can lead to lower IQ . And it’s been documented that auto-emissions are a major contributor to air pollution.

Coincidence? I think not.

So just think of the zombies as poor lost souls who have finally surrendered their last remnants of reason and intelligence to the choking tailpipe emissions they’ve been sucking up their entire lives.

I mean, seriously, look at their faces. Don’t they look oxygen deprived to you?

Not all of them, of course. Some of the walking dead are actually the walking wounded….the multitude of pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and drivers who have had their bodies shattered and minds addled as a result of collisions with two-ton predators. Now they just shamble from place to place, lost amid the roads and stroads and interchanges and multi-laned wastelands of a civilization that willingly sacrifices a human life every 25 seconds on the alter of the Freedom Of The Open Road.

And those survivors who keep killing each other instead of the zombies? That’s just typical auto-American road rage taken to its logical extremes. Covet thy neighbor’s wife, fine. Covet his ‘Vette and you better buckle up pal.

And finally all of those cars and vans and pickups and motorcycles and assault vehicles that keep on trucking long after the gasoline has gone bad? It seems the folks who made “The Terminator” series had it right. The machines we created to make our lives easier will still be killing us long after the dystopian curtain has dropped.

Speaking of which, I understand that when “The Walking Dead” resumes they are going to get rid of Rick, arguably the series’ central character, and perhaps the toughest post-dead survivor of all.

Here’s how I think it’ll happen (spoiler alert!)

Rick wakes up one morning and discovers that his drivers license has expired.

Consigned to pedestrian hell he steps out his front door.

Only to be run over by an autonomous vehicle.

Alas poor Rick, I knew him well…a fellow of infinite jest and most excellent fancy.

Author: floridavelocipede

A sometime journalist who used to string words together for a living before I retired to run a non-profit cycle touring organization that will henceforth go unnamed, as I have subsequently retired from that career as well. I write a bi-monthly column, theater reviews and an occasional magazine piece for my old newspaper. If I still had a business card it would read: Ron Cunningham: Trained Observer Of The Human Condition. Because like The Donald, you know, ego.

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