My one-year-old recently started walking. One day he figured out that he could stand unassisted (amazing!), then he somehow realized he could take steps without holding onto things (no way!), and he finally learned that if he did that a bunch, he could get this whole bipedal motion thing working for him (like, whoa!). He’s just getting the idea of it, but by god, he is determined to keep working on it. So now we have this baby awkwardly toddling around the house, practicing his new skill during all of his waking hours. We officially have a toddler.
The thing is, he’s not very good at it. Add to it the fact that he’s still not verbal—well, he speaks some language, but it ain’t English—and it seems that he has completely morphed into a little monster. Specifically, a zombie.*
Consider the following evidence:
- Lurching Steps: As I said, he’s not great at walking yet. He tends to lead with one foot, then bring the other one up behind.
- Pushes through Movable Obstacles: If there is a toy in his path, he won’t hesitate to kick it out of his way. He can deal with freely swinging doors, no problem. If the furniture isn’t too heavy, that’s going wherever he decides to push it. But….
- Lacks Agility and Speed: He definitely can’t operate a doorknob or gate latch. He can sort of go up and down one or two steps but not well, and he can’t climb anything overly high or complicated (like a ladder or fence).His movements are slow but deliberate. You can very easily outrun him.
- Moaning and Groaning: Like I said, he’s not verbal. But he’s definitely vocal. And he’s trying out new sounds. Most of his jabber these days comes out in a weird, gravelly growling voice. And he repeats syllables on a seemingly endless loop. Random passers-by often get an enthusiastic, but still creepy, growl in their general direction.
- Driven by Hunger: Although he doesn’t eat humans, he is incredibly motivated by food. I guess he’s not unlike a Labrador in this capacity. You’ve got food in your hand? Can he have some? Either way, he’ll lunge for it. And everything, food or not, goes straight into the mouth.
- Attacks the Living: Any person within a certain vicinity is a potential human jungle gym. And no body part is off limits to those grabby hands. This can get dangerous when the little pinchers or claws are involved.
- Gross Bodily Substances: It may not contain human viscera, but he definitely leaves a gooey trail in his wake. I’m talking about the constant stream of drool here. Anything that comes in contact with him is bound to get slightly moist. And he’s frequently quite stinky.
- Survivors Must Band Together: George Romero himself (the forefather of the modern zombie) stated that zombies were simply a stand-in for “a global change of some kind,” and that zombie stories are really all about how people react. Well, I’m fairly certain my world is about to be rocked when the beastie figures out how to gain some speed. It’s a good thing his dad and I like each other quite a lot. We sure need that bond to be able to tag-team his ass when he really gets going.
Luckily, unlike an actual zombie, my little creature will eventually learn to walk and talk like a real person, and I don’t have to fear infection from his bites, so I can just let him do his thing rather than flee or fight him. And (this is a very important point) he’s much cuter and friendlier than the undead.
For those of you who are interested, here’s a video.
*Let’s just assume that the Romero zombie is the one true zombie, okay? Get outta here with that running zombie crap.