Max Brooks Boot Camp!

Last night I had a discussion with Max Brooks, author of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide. The topic at hand was zombies (obviously), and whether or not they actually exist. It sounds completely ridiculous when worded like that, so I’ll be more specific… we were discussing the plausibility of a virus with the capability to produce a real, “living” zombie.

“I’m not sure that I actually believe in zombies,” I said, and Max nodded in agreement.

After our discussion, I attended his lecture and zombie defense training class, which involved a ton of jogging (“The first rule of Zombieland: Cardio!”) and also crawling through a small door into a room with a really low ceiling (think five-feet-high at the tallest point, and triangular-shaped, like an attic). The room had rubber exercise mats covering the floors and a catwalk located above the ceiling that the instructors could “coach” from. And by “coach” I mean yell and berate until you did the moves correctly.

The walls were made of  glass, and Max and his associates critiqued the cardio from behind them. Due to the low ceiling, all cardio was done down on the floor. My personal cardio choice was cardio punches. I did them while kneeling. But when I tired too quickly, I received quite the verbal beating.

After cardio came the battle of wits. Max chose four students to participate in a Jeopardy-style game called Jeopardapocalypse, which took place on a stage in an auditorium. Each contestant stood behind their own podium and answered a plethora of zombie trivia questions. Contestants earned points for each correct answer, and lost everything when an answer was wrong. It turned out that Jeopardapocalypse was a PR challenge that Max was using as a recruitment tool to find the best speakers.

After Jeopardapocalypse, there was one more (quite ridiculous) test. Four more students were instructed to memorize a dance-themed tactical move consisting of a series of eight quick steps. I say dance-themed in italics because, really? This test was designed to assess agility. Unfortunately, I was chosen for this challenge… and I am a horrible dancer. I was desperate to find a way out of it (I have absolutely no aptitude for dancing). So, instead of doing the dance, I got cheeky and presented a direct physical challenge to Max. I wanted to appear fearless, while also showing off my defense skills. I thought that this was what he was really looking for in a recruit. And so, I stepped onto the stage and psyched myself up to challenge Max…

… but then my alarm clock went off, and sadly, I was never able to complete the challenge.

The event that inspired this dream: Max Brooks, George A. Romero, and Steven Schlozman 11/7/2012

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