Letters to the Editor: Being a Zombie is no Picnic / Being a Vampire Sucks! / Being a Werewolf Bites the Big One
© Mark Terence Chapman
Being a Zombie is No Picnic (It’s a Smorgasbord)
Letter to the Editor, New York Times:
Many among the “living” have the mistaken notion that being a zombie is all fun and games. Sure, we get to tear the temporarily-still-living limb from limb, and we do wreak havoc with great regularity; but even the undead have to make a living. Hence my reason for submitting this true-to-unlife tale of undeath and destruction.
Yeah, rending the flesh from those bags-of-walking-meat provides us with all the food we can eat. But without a working digestive tract, we’re always hungry. Have you ever experienced never-ending hunger? Think bottomless pit—literally; the food falls right through.
And how am I supposed to provide for my family if I don’t have money to put rags on my kids’ rotting backs, or baubles around my unwife’s putrid neck? (“Unwife” because death did us part.) After all, it’s not like I can just drag myself into an unemployment office and find a regular job.
Why not, you ask?
One of the tragedies of unlife is that we zombies are regularly discriminated against. It’s true! People run screaming from the very sight of us. Unfortunately, many zombies are handicapped: we’re missing limbs or organs or jaws. (How would you like it if your eyeballs kept falling out?) But is that any reason to turn away from us? Okay, so the maggots consuming our flesh create a stench that gags even those with strong stomachs. This makes it difficult for us to hold down an office job—unless it has really good ventilation.
Let’s not even talk about the itching in embarrassing places! Just try to find maggot cream at your local pharmacy. Or, for that matter, worm-proof contact lenses. Decomposition doesn’t exactly improve our vision, you know… Think Erectile Dysfunction is bad? Try having your member wither and fall off at the worst possible moment. Talk about ED! Sure, go ahead and laugh. It’s funny when it happens to a zombie, but a national tragedy when it happens to the living. Strangely enough, super glue doesn’t work all that well on rotting flesh, and duct tape can only do so much.
Does the government do anything to prevent this sort of discrimination? No! In fact, they actually make matters worse. Okay, so the undead don’t pay taxes anymore. Is that any reason to terminate medical and dental benefits, pensions, and social security payments? I say, no! We haven’t gone anywhere. We’re still walking/dragging/creeping around. If anything, our need for assistance has grown, not ceased. After all, who needs medical treatment more than a zombie who’s literally falling apart? Who needs orthodontia more than a zombie who has to carry his teeth around in a plastic bag? Who needs money more than a zombie who can’t get work because she “scares customers away”? What a crock! Instead of calling us “undead,” think of us as “extremely retired.”
And consider the emotional trauma inflicted on a poor, unfortunate zombie child when one of the so-called “living” screams and runs away in horror. It’s humiliating for the child and embarrassing for the parent (especially when he tries to comfort his child and she falls through his lap!). While many children have to combat short attention spans, a zombie child is literally brain-dead! Don’t even get me started on the whole dating scene. A living person wouldn’t date one of us if he/she were the last person on Earth (which may yet happen—don’t plan too far ahead). If that’s not bad enough, the dead give us the cold shoulder. We’re discriminated against from both sides.
The best way to “mainstream” the disaffected zombie population in this country is not to shun us but to offer us legitimate work. This would allow us to hold our heads up high (as long as they don’t fall off), pay taxes again like citizens, and to reap the same rewards of citizenship as those enjoyed by the living. Think of all the budding doctors who could benefit from having animate corpses to study. How about radiation-proof astronauts who don’t need air to breathe? Maybe moving targets for attack dogs. Or sex therapists for necrophiliacs. And who better to console the dying than someone who has “been there and done that”?
Instead, our talents are going to waste, simply due to our appearance. (Okay, so maybe we also have a certain fondness for brains. But trust me, the people we “borrow" the brains from aren’t using them anyway. I mean, really, what idiot enters a darkened room backwards, when they know killer zombies are on the loose?)
If discrimination due to race, sex, religion, and sexual orientation is not to be tolerated, I say it’s time to end discrimination against the heartbeat-challenged!
Now that you’ve seen a demonstration of my writing skills (made all the more remarkable by the fact that my fingers frequently break off when I type), might I humbly suggest that you offer me a staff position (perhaps writing an alternative deathstyles column; or maybe as a “zombie on the street” reporter)? How better to attract more zombie readers to your publication? (At least the ones with eyes.)
We’re an untouched demographic that your advertisers are completely overlooking. Who needs deodorant more than a putrescent zombie? And how about prosthetic limbs? Or unlife insurance? (We don’t die forever, you know.) The market opportunity is limitless! Can you really afford to keep missing out on such a large population? There are millions of us “out there,” and our legions only keep growing.
So there it is—my sales pitch. If you hire me, I’ll promise that as long as I’m working for your fine newspaper, I’ll never attempt to eat any of your subscribers. Cross my ex-heart and hope to (sort of) die.
Well, okay, maybe an occasional ladyfinger; but only when I’m jonesing…
Carl (Stumpy) Lofton
St. Francis Cemetery
Kill Devil Hills, NC, USA
Being a Vampire Sucks!
Following the publication of a letter to the editor in our October 25 edition, the response has been surprising and unprecedented. The letter, written by a self-professed zombie, apparently struck a chord among the millions of undead “living” among us. Here, then, is one of the many follow-up letters we received. [Editors]
Letter to the Editor, New York Times:
I am writing in support of the letter written by that zombie guy. He has every right to complain about discrimination. It’s positively shameful how the living treat his people. However, the problem of discrimination against the undead extends far beyond only zombies.
Vampires are equally scorned and mistreated and we, too, suffer from various medical maladies and physical limitations. For instance, as is widely known, we can only emerge from our coffins at night. Sunlight burns like acid. Sure, we can cover our pale skin with a combination of Revlon and SPF-500 sunblock, and wear some really cool shades. But that only treats the symptoms; it doesn’t cure the problem. Imagine how you’d feel if exposure to sunlight for only a few minutes was fatal.
And why are crazy people called “batty”? That’s just hurtful to vampires. How about a little sensitivity, people?
As for our dietary requirements, it’s not like we choose to drink only human blood. I mean, come on! Blood? Sheesh. Still, how would you like it if you could eat only broccoli, or even sirloin, 24/7? It would get pretty monotonous after a while, wouldn’t it? Try doing it for centuries. God (yeah, I said it), what I wouldn’t give to be able to suck back some cold brewskis and chow down on brats and ‘kraut, like I did before I ran into a certain pain-in-the-neck.
I’m frequently asked why we don’t simply switch to animal blood. My answer is in the form of a question: Have you ever eaten five-alarm chili? That’s pretty much the effect cow’s blood has on our stomachs. And it burns almost as much coming out as it does going in. Besides, I don’t really care for that grassy aftertaste. Pig, horse, and sheep blood is almost as bad, and smaller animals aren’t even worth the trouble. (I’d have to spend all night chasing squirrels, and then who’d pick up all those acorns?) An occasional puppy might work, but then we’d have to contend with hate mail from the bleeding-heart liberals.
Then there are the silly stereotypes attributed to my people. Really, now! Hanging from rafters by our feet? Have you ever tried that for more than a few minutes? Headache city! And forget that “invisible to a mirror” nonsense. We are absolutely not invisible. Highly translucent, maybe, but not invisible. And as for being able to turn into bats, well, yes that’s true. But big deal. Who wants to be a “flying rat,” anyway? It certainly doesn’t help me meet chicks. (Now, if I were a flying Prada shoe, perhaps....) Also, do you have any idea how long it takes for someone with a six-inch wingspan to get anywhere? It’s like the punch line to that old joke: “And boy, are my arms tired!” Give me a Harley, anytime. As for sleeping in a coffin filled with soil brought from the old country, oh come on! Have you priced genuine Transylvanian soil these days? (And you have to watch out for the counterfeit stuff; it’s everywhere!) I’ll take a waterbed any day.
Look, if the living want us to stop preying on humans, the answer is simple: give us access to blood banks. Just provide us with ID cards or coupons (think of them like food stamps) so we can walk right in and make a withdrawal once a week. That will eliminate all the midnight attacks the living populace fears. (Well, okay, it may not cure the growing werewolf problem—the filthy creatures—but, hey, that’s not within my purview.)
Perhaps blood bank access will finally remove the stigma attached to being a vampire and let us show our faces in public (at night, of course). Who knows? One day it may even be trendy to be a vampire the other 364 days a year.
Come on, my fellow vampires! Now is the time to stand up and be counted. Write to your congressman and demand your rights. Free blood banks, today! (And while you’re writing, why not ask for urinals near the ceilings in men’s rooms? This peeing-while-hanging-from-rafters nonsense is batty. Nobody’s aim is that good!)
Brevard, Transylvania County, NC, USA
Being a Werewolf Bites the Big One
Here is another of the many replies to the letter of October 25, from self-professed zombie Carl Lofton. [Editors.]
Letter to the Editor, New York Times (submitted as an audio file):
Yo, dude, you rock! You were right on with your comments about discrimination against zombies. It’s downright disgraceful how people treat you folks. That vampire dude made some good points, too, although I could’ve done without the anti-werewolf bigotry. And that brings up my reason for writing. Werewolves seem to be at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to the undead. Everyone looks down on us, including the vampires, zombies, leprechauns, and even the golems, for pete’s sake!
We’re called everything from fur-face to dog-boy to car-chaser. People either run screaming from us or they want to scratch our bellies and say “Good boy!” And fleas? Don’t even get me started.
Human women suffer through their monthly “curse.” Ha! They have no idea what a curse is. Every month a werewolf’s body is hijacked by the full moon. We lose all sense of reason and revert to savagery. That doesn’t exactly endear us to the neighbors. Between the all-night howling and us digging up their flower beds, they’re plenty PO’d. If that’s not bad enough, werebitches (the proper term for our females) suffer through both curses each month. You have no idea what savage is until you tick off a werebitch with PMS. Take my mate, for instance. She makes an addict high on Angel Dust seem like Tinkerbell. (No offense, Tink!)
Why, just yesterday— AaarrrOOOOOOOOO! [Lengthy pause omitted. Ed.] Sorry about that. Damn full moon. Hang on while I close the curtains. [Pause.] That’s better. I hope you can understand me. It’s tough talking around a mouthful of canines. But it’s simply impossible to type with paws.
Look, I’m not the type to complain. I can put up with all the discomforts of daily life, but would someone please put a leash on those van Helsing wannabes and their silver bullets? I’m sick of patching holes in my living room walls, and all that gunfire upsets the pups.
Besides, the graveyard out back is filling up fast. And have you ever tried to get blood out of a fur coat? It’s a real pain in the hindquarters. Speaking of fur coats, ever wear one in Miami in the summer? It gets pretty damn hot down here even without a fur coat on. Shaving doesn’t do any good—the fur grows back too quickly. (Besides, razor blades cost a fortune and electric razors clog. It sure would make my life easier if someone sold an industrial-strength depilatory in gallon jugs.) I made the mistake—once—of trying a full-body bikini wax. Ouch! If it wasn’t bad enough that I was pink everywhere for two days afterwards (a pink werewolf!), I itched all over for the next three days as the fur grew back in. The way I was scratching, I must have looked like the poster child for flea dip.
I know my kind has a rep as blood-thirsty monsters but, like you, we’re parents and children, brothers and sisters. Other than the few nights a month when we go on murderous rampages, slaughtering everyone in sight, we’re ordinary, law-abiding citizens.
Can’t we just be friends?
Martin “Scruffy” Wolfe
Miami, Florida, USA