Halloween is a good time to remind ourselves that there are things we should scared of, things we should be wary of, and things that are too silly to worry about.
Zombies fall into the latter category.
The whole concept of zombies is so silly, you have to wonder why anyone would take them seriously at all.
And yetâ€¦ There are people who worry that the appearance of zombies â€“ whether on television or in the movies or on the streets of our communities â€“ may do irreparable damage to the fabric of our society.
Hey folks, out there: theyâ€™re not real!
Now, just in case you didnâ€™t get that: Zombies are not real!
Zombies cannot possibly be real, any more than a 1930s gorilla could be 40 feet tall (or a circa 1950s woman could be 50 feet tall) without breaking its legs under its own weight â€“ let alone the ridiculous concept of such a massive creature hauling itself up the outside of the Empire State Building.
Insects canâ€™t be as big as buildings, both because of the impossible stresses caused to its body parts by the mass to volume ratio, and because they â€œbreatheâ€ by exchanging oxygen from the air through tiny tubules through their exoskeletons â€“ a respiratory system not remotely efficient enough to sustain interior tissues and organs in larger versions.
Also impossible would be a race of warlike people living at the centre of our earth. If they attempted to broach the surface of the planet with intent to do us harm, they would explode from the pressure differential before they got within miles of our deepest mine shafts.
Zombies make even less sense than nearly all of the other monsters that claim to hide under our beds. Theyâ€™re dead, and their tissues are degraded and rotting, and therefore cannot sustain life processes.
Everything that moves requires energy to do so. The zombies of popular culture use energy, but rarely consume anything from which to derive that energy. Zombies cannot exist, except only in the imaginations of silly people with nothing better to do than to enjoy themselves with imaginings of zombies.
Why would anyone deny them their enjoyment, when there are so many real things out there that are far scarier?
Terrorists, for instance, are far scarier than zombies or aliens that glow in the dark.
Terrorism, as we Canadians learned anew last week, is scary. It kills people and destroys families. It has the capacity to turn, for the most part, mentally ill people into murderers.
But even terrorism doesnâ€™t fall into the category of â€œthings we should be scared of.â€ We should be wary, yes. But not scared.
Scarier are stupid drivers with cellphones.
We should also be wary of ebola: not scared (at least, not yet), but wary. If we donâ€™t pay attention to it, it could wreak havoc here â€“ but we in North America are quite prepared for that kind of threat. Disease and pestilence are things we only need to be wary of; theyâ€™re only scary in places where the average standard of living and (by extension) hygiene is far below ours.
We should be scared, however, that the people who live in conditions so vastly substandard to ours realize that we have much and they have none. That realization has been known to breed terrorists. And we should be wary of that connection.
But what we really need to watch out for is our government equating mental illness with terrorism, and attacking it with laws that do nothing to fight mental illness.
When they use a mentally ill terrorist to scare us into accepting legislated loss of freedomâ€¦ now that is scarier than zombies on a Halloween night.