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obsessive-compulsive zombie disorder strikes again

Remember how I obsessed about Star Wars in anticipation of Revenge of the Sith?

Well my other movie obsession takes over today. That's right, ASV will be Zombie Central until June 24th, when Romero's Land of the Dead opens. I haven't been this excited about a movie since, well, Sith. Ok, so that's only a few weeks ago, but still. You know how I feel about zombies.

I'm probably going to repeat a couple of my favorite zombie posts, as well as do some zombie polls and talk about zombie movies and zombie survival and, well, you get the general idea.

Because it's Monday (and my first day back at work after a week off), I'm going to start the morning with a repeat, which will give any new readers an idea of the zombie obsession that rules the ASV household.

This one starts off not so much about zombies, but leads into it, and I've tacked on a later, but connected post, to the end.

Stick around through the repeat. I've got some fun zombie things coming up later. BRAAAAAAIIIINS!

At some point, every child learns the valuable lesson of patience. Patience is a virtue, we tell them. Good things come to those who wait. Patience and fortitude conquer all things. (use of which always hammers home the point that Emerson is not quotable to the under 14 set).
they're coming to get you, barbara Most kids learn the value of having patience through the anticipation the arrival of Santa Claus or the countdown to a long awaited family vacation. Not my son. He met his patience challenge with zombies.

The Dawn of the Dead DVD finally arrived on the shelves of our local Best Buy yesterday. I, like any good mother would, used my lunch hour yesterday to go buy my eleven year old son the unedited, unrated version of a zombie movie.

But oh, the look on his face when I got home. It looked something like this. As I pulled up in front of the house, he came lumbering out of the front door, approaching the car with arms extended, legs all awkward and moaning like he hadn't had a good brain to eat in days. He grabbed the DVD from my hand, mumbled something about brains and sped off to his room.

Hours later (those hours interrupted by a bout of homework and a trip to religious ed) he emerged from his room, wild-eyed and grinning.

So, was it worth the wait?
Well, you know how sometimes you think something is the greatest thing ever, that nothing can ever beat it?
So, I though all this time that Dawn of the Dead was the greatest movie ever, but now that I'm watching it again, it's not. But that's good.
Good, how?

'Cause if I saw the best movie ever when I'm 11, then there would be nothing to look forward to.

Ah, the mind of a young boy.

It was interesting to watch him wait for the arrival of this DVD. He had a countdown going on his computer. Every day, he would announce how many days left until the release. Every Friday, he would go to the movie site, where they would show a different clip each week. While he was waiting, he took the time to become an expert on all things zombie. He read through my copy of The Zombie Survival Guide. He watched other zombie movies like the original Night of the Living Dead (review: awesome for an old flick!) and 28 Days Later (review: that wasn't a zombie movie! HUGE rip-off!) and then we went to see Shaun of the Dead (review: can we sit through it again? Please?!). (I tell you, it was a very proud moment for this mother when he got the "We're coming to get you Barbara" reference in Shaun.) He scoured the internet for stories about zombies, learned how to kill them, how to summon them and how to dress like one for Halloween.

To say he obsesses about things is an understatement. Once DJ takes a liking to something, he goes all out with it. Not content to just watch a zombie movie, he has to completely submerge himself in the zombie lore and culture. His world becomes a focused, intent place in which he will take his given obsession of the moment and relate it to anything that is happening around him.

This obsessive sort of behavior started very early. When he was about two years old, he had a collection of little Disney movie figures that he kept in a plastic bin. These figures were collected via many trips to McDonald's or Toys R Us and, let me tell you, it was a very complete collection. Because you couldn't have just one Little Mermaid figure. You had to have them all. Once I bought Ariel, it was a slippery slope right down to Eric, King Trident and that sea hag that looked like a fat, wet Malificent. Yes, I was enabling his addiction. Make no mistake about where DJ got his obsessive compulsive trait from.

Anyhow, one day we were putting his toys away for the evening. As usual, he had them all lined up around the living room in the straightest line possible, one little Disney character after another. I'd say there was about 80 figures in his collection at that time. I gathered them all up and threw them in the bin, which I then placed in his room, right next to his bed, per the usual routine. Five minutes after I left him in his room I heard a scream. I went running back in and found DJ staring in horror at the jumble of plastic figures in the bin.

Ho-hant-as? Ho-hant-as? He was pointing at the figures. I looked at my son, looked at the bin and though, no way. Sure enough, I went into the living room, got on my hands and knees, and found Pocohantas under the radiator. That, my friends, is what you call obsessive. A two year old looking into a tub filled to the brim with little plastic princes and animals and widowers knew immediately that his Ho-hant-as was missing.

And that was just the first of all the obsessive phases DJ went through. Power Rangers. Star Wars. Oh god, the Star Wars phase. He was three and knew every single character, vehicle and weapon. And the sports. He didn't just watch baseball or hockey or football. He lived, ate and breathed those sports. He knew Don Mattingly's batting average on days when it was below 75 degrees. He knew the number of every player on every NHL team. He picked my football teams for the office pool every week when he was five. With point spreads. I came in first place that year.

The phases would go as fast as they would arrive, and I'd be left with boxes of paraphenelia associated with the various obsessions. This is what happens when a woman with an addictive personality has a son with obsessive traits. I fed his action figure/trading card/video game hunger with reckless abandon. Pokemon? We caught them all.

At some point, I learned to stop feeding his obsessive needs. Probably when I sat down and figured out how much money I spent on all that Pokemon crap. But something went wrong when DJ started his horror movie phase. I couldn't help it. All those years of restraint had built up against the wall I created and the dam burst. Can you blame me? What better way for mother and son to bond than over a love of horror movies? What says quality time more than a shared viewing of George Romero classics? What better dinner conversation starter is there than:

Mom, if I got bit by a zombie would you kill me before or after I turned into one?

I gave him a blank stare. He turned to his stepfather.

Ok, Justin. What about you?

Justin didn't even blink. "I'd shoot you as soon as you got bit. Right between the eyes."

I blanched in horror. "You would not do any such thing. How could you kill my son while he was still....him?" I imagined the scenario in my mind. DJ writhing on the floor, blood pouring from his zombie infected wound, the undead hovering around him, waiting for dinner. My motherly instincts kicked in. "I would wait. I would wait until I saw that you were no longer my son, but some hideous creature. Then I would kill you. Maybe."

I looked expectantly at him. He stared hard at me.

"Bzzzz. Wrong answer! Justin is right!" DJ shook his head disapprovingly and Justin sat there all smug, laughing.

"I would expect you to kill me, mom. You don't take chances with the undead. Duh."

Duh. Well, at least we were actually conversing over dinner instead of watching the Simpsons and that's always something to be happy about. Even if the conversation did revolve around zombies.

And so, everything is zombies today and will be until this new DVD wears out its welcome, which probably won't be anytime soon given all the extras on it*. DJ will pop out from under the couch at odd times pretending to bite us and he'll quiz us on various aspects of zombie survival. And he'll critique the movie to no end.

Modern zombies suck, he says. They're too fast and they think too much. He thinks the movie would have been better if the zombies were more like those in Night of the Living Dead.

Of course, he still thinks it was worth the wait and all the countdowns. I'm just glad that part of it is over, as he can now concentrate on things like, oh, how many days until his book report ('Salem's Lot) is due.

I was about to mention this to him last night when he said "How many days until Land of the Dead?"

Well, at least this particular obsession doesn't cost me much money. And I'm really glad he's keeping his obsession with Lindsay Lohan's boobs mostly to himself.

You know how some families make emergency plans for, say, a fire in the house? Well, we made an Emergency Zombie Plan yesterday. At least we tried to (see Obsessive Compulsive Zombie Disorder for background on our history with the living dead).

Me: We should all agree to meet in one place, then.
Justin: Yea, some island that we can surround with barbed wire.
Me: This is an island.
Justin: Well, let's just find some open land and surround it with barbed wire.
DJ: Uh..guys? You're on your own. I'm going hunting when the zombies come.
Me: WHAT? You're going to leave your mother at the height of armageddon?
DJ: I've got things to do, mom. First I'm going to kill a whole bunch of people from my class.

See, DJ figures if the zombies are taking over, then law and order goes right out the window. He can finally seek revenge upon the kids from school who have slighted him in any way. Then, when his enemies lay bleeding and dying slow, painful deaths, he can get to the business of zombie hunting.

I convinced my son that it would be best to come back to the house after he takes care of his business. Justin and I will stock up on the basic supplies and gather some makeshift weapons.

That's when I commit the apparent sin of all things zombie.

Me: I'm going to give up.

Horrified glances from my husband and son. I try to explain. Why fight off the zombies? Why spend days running from them, trying to fend them off, beating them, shooting them, cowering in fear in the basement (shit, we don't even have a basement)when eventually, they are going to win? Once the zombie infestation starts, that's it. It's assimilate or die. You can shoot as many brains as you want, but in the end, the undead will outnumber the living and you may as well just let them bite you early on rather than attempting to put up some brave and noble fight for survival.

I start singing the doom song, then.

Justin and DJ are mortified. They can't believe I would just give up so easily. What can I say? I'm a joiner. I follow trends, I don't set them. And it's not like I don't have experience when it comes to hooking up with a mindless army of droning, single-minded people who want to swallow you whole. It's just so much easier to hold out your arms and accept what fate hands you than to fight it. It's easier to convince yourself that being a zombie wouldn't be so bad after all - no work, no taxes to pay, abundant food supply and, best of all, I could go on the hunt for people I hate and zombiefy them. How cool would it be to sink my undead teeth into Roger Clemens's fleshy neck?

Well Justin and DJ are having none of that.

DJ: You can't just let them take you. You have to fight!
Justin: You don't even want to try to save the world? Or yourself?
DJ: It's just wrong, mom. If I stay, will you fight?
Me: Maybe...I'm just lazy, I guess. I can't see expending all that effort if we're just going to lose eventually.
DJ: But we won't lose.
Justin: What if they are super zombies, though? Like the remade Dawn of the Dead zombies?
Me: That's what I'm saying..
DJ: Oh. My. God. Hello? Let's talk a little reality here? You know, REAL LIFE?
Me: Yea, we were getting a little carried away there....
DJ: I mean, everyone knows that zombies can't run.

At this point we decided that, should zombies attack, Justin would start building a fortress around the house, including a moat (because everyone knows that zombies can't swim), DJ would take advantage of the lawlessness and go kill some 12 year old bullies, Natalie would remain, as always, oblivious to the situation and continue to post quizzes in her LiveJournal, and I would hunker down in the living room with the Zombie Survival Kit, which consists of nothing more than a bottle of Jack Daniel's and a shot glass.

And then we started thinking like the capitalist pigs we are. We would take advantage of the situation. We'd learn how to tame the hordes of zombies roaming the countryside. Then we'd use them to remake classic movies. We cracked ourselves up imagining an undead Tom Hanks, all bloodied face and flesh wounds.... Ruuuuuuuuuuuun....Fooorrrr....essssst.....Ruuuuuunnnnnn.


Zombies? Land mines. Game over.

Also read Lilek's comments on vampires today. What I've always wanted to say, but could never say as well.

They're filming this Land Of The Dead here in Toronto. Use your blog weight and try with your son to get cast as an extra!

When I read the part about DJ and his classmantes, it reminded me of Bart and Homer -

Bart: Dad! You shot the zombie Flanders!

Homer: Flanders was a zombie?

Great story! Can't wait 'till my 19 month old gets his first obsession.