I Deserve A Merit Badge In Disaster Preparedness

April 28, 2007

I have a hideous weakness for truly bad disaster films, and not just the Irwin Allen classics (Towering Inferno, Earthquake), I mean utter crap like Daylight, the Stallone movie where he gets trapped in the collapsed midtown tunnel between Manhattan & Brooklyn (now’s where Nathan chimes in and tells me that I’ve got my NYC geography all f’d up).  Or Twister.  Or that horrible Morgan Freeman movie Hard Rain where the entire town gets flooded out. 

I defended my taste for these uniformly awful films by telling my detractors that I was more prepared than they were, say, if a bunch of friends & I were going to Manhattan and the tunnel we were driving through collapsed.  Who’d be laughing then, eh?  Me.  Although, I’d probably wait till I was safe & all my friends were dead before I actually started laughing.  Always best to avoid counting your chickens, and besides, I’ve never been to a movie about surviving murder attempts from your jealous friends when you’re all trapped somewhere.

Hell, I’ve got it so bad I even saw the remake of Poseidon last summer (yes, I was the one person who saw it), so that I would know not one but TWO different ways to survive a capsized ocean liner.

And this survivalist bent apparently extends to great works of literature, not just cinema classics, so it was with much delight that I finally purchased a book that’s been on my Amazon wishlist for a while now.  World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie Wars is set like 20 years from now, when a great decade long plague (similar to the Black Death of the middle ages except with zombies instead of rats) has finally been eradicated and the 2% or so of surviving humans are trying to put society back together.  For those of you who want to rank your own level of disaster preparedness, there’s an entirely realistic “risk calculator” at the WWZ website which will give you your exact odds of surviving the zombie outbreak, or “walking plague,” as it’s known in the book.  I was pleased to see that through merely lying about all the relevant facts and taking the quiz a couple of times I received a 44% chance of survival, which is much better than the majority of the population in the novel.  Haha, fictional characters, I’m more likely to survive than you are!


  1. Dude, your NY geography is totally f’d up. But that’s o.k. I actually lived here almost a year before I discovered the mid-town tunnel connected Queens to Mid-town Manhattan. I thought it bypassed the city totally and got you to New Jersey. (It would actually be useful if it did that.)

    I have a 38% chance of outliving fictional characters. And I got that score with my first set of lies and half-truths.

    Ha…in your face!

  2. Aw man, I only got 27%, but I think that’s mostly because of where I live. I think I have a better chance than that because I’ve read The Zombie Survival Guide, and keep it close by just in case.

  3. Brock, the secret is to LIE when you’re answering the test questions. For God’s sake, if I answered them truthfully I think I’d stand about a 1.3% chance of survival.

  4. Hmm. I took it once and answered as truthfully as possible: 43%.

    Jonathan, will you be laughing at me in case of fictional zombie attack or actual zombie attack?

    Of course, if defending against the zombies requires kicking a ball in a flash-based video game I’m sure I’ll be knocking down your door.

  5. Mr Kinsley, you will already owe me one from when I save your life from the attack of the genetically engineered super genius sharks.

  6. Where do I start with this one. So much fodder for comment.
    Let’s start with disaster obsession and survival.

    I too saw Poseidon, so I guess that makes 2 of us.

    Can’t get enough survivorman: http://www.survivorman.ca/

    Here is another great series I have seen a couple of times: Seconds from Disaster – From this I could escape an under ground gandala type tube train that caught fire and killed everyone else cause they went the wrong way and were consumed by toxic fumes.


    Just in case – I thought this might help. The funniest part is the first line is essentially “You’re F@#!ed”http://www.ehow.com/how_2039091_survive-grizzly-bear-attack.html

    I scored a 41% survival rate. I don’t think the understand the Firearm supply hear in Texas. We fended off Mexicans for how long? I think we could hold our own against some Zombies.

  7. Thirteen days, dude. You fended off Mexicans for thirteen days.

  8. 6100 Mexicans against – 250 Texans, by that Math I could take on at least 25 zombies single handed. And my weapons of choice would be much more sophisticated than the defenders of the alamo had. PLus, they’re zombies! Not mexicans. Let’s make that 40 zombies.

    Bring Zombies!

  9. Yay! I’m not the only one who likes silly disaster movies. I’m trying to track down a copy of Nihon Chinbotsu (“Japan sinks into the sea”) right now, because it looks awesome. And I loved The Core (drilling to the centre of the Earth). My husband and family think I am completely bonkers, but they humour me and get me these movies when I catch flu and am confined to the sofa with nothing but disaster movies and dark chocolate to console me.

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