Lurching Toward Freedom

All right, so the U.S. is out of the World Cup again, and Andy Roddick went down swinging before the semifinal at Wimbledon, and the Mariners, well, they’re still trying. But we still have one thing to celebrate, right?

That’s right, the freedom to dress up as a zombie and lurch through the streets with thousands of like-minded undead neighbors all united in the common drive to wrest the world record back from the Brits. And what record would that be, you ask? Why, the record number of zombies gathered in one place at one time, of course.

The proudly independent Fremont neighborhood in Seattle held the record last year with a tally of 3,894, but later they were usurped by the British, who mustered 4,026 zombies to claim the title. Organizers of this year’s Zombie Walk, slated for tomorrow, July 3, in Fremont, are hoping to smash the record with a massive turnout of gruesome participants.

It’s more than just the fun of creeping people out with homemade gory effects. There’s also a blood drive (hah), a food drive to benefit Solid Ground, a zombie concert and a screening of a classic zombie film.

The fact that zombie walks have become a regular feature of the modern cultural landscape worldwide, with annual events taking place from Brisbane to Pittsburgh in an atmosphere of friendly, albeit twisted, competition, says something about our species. I’m not sure what. But for some reason I find it cheering.

It’s not that I’m a huge fan of the genre, or that I’ve succumbed to the anti-charm of zombie chic, but rather I like that it’s a game without rules that anyone can play. It takes a lot of coordination, dedication and effort to master most games. But anyone can be a zombie. You just have to stumble along, aimlessly, moaning a bit from time to time. Perhaps this explains the popularity of the idea. There’s a little zombie in all of us.