Savoring the End of the World As We Know It!

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Esther J. Cepeda Opinion journalist and an expert on the issues of U.S. Hispanics/Latinos

I went to see the movie Zombieland on Saturday, right in the middle of what seemed like a ferociously cold day, what it being early October and us on the verge of perishing from this global warming and all.

You might imagine that a post-zombie-apocalypse-survival movie might bring a girl down when everything in the "real world" has just gone to such crap.

Where to even start?

The poorest of the poor -- or as I like to think of them, the very people who need government subsidized public health care -- look like they're going to get screwed in this round of the health care battle.

The after effects of the Great Recession are just now starting to kick into high gear even as traditional media have moved on to "trend stories" about how average people are returning to living high on the hog.

Our country is becoming more and more polarized between left and right, blue and red, gay and straight, legal and illegal ... but not in Zombieland.

Far from being pulled down into depression, I savored every single one of the film's 80 minutes because there is nothing more comforting to me than imagining a zombie apocalypse.

I loved the movie on its own merits (I paid for my own ticket, thanks) -- at 48, Woody Harrelson has finally come into his own and he hit the perfect notes of end-of-the-world lunacy alongside Jessie Eisenberg's geeky-sweet straight man. But the witty banter -- and the priceless and unexpected cameo -- wasn't the best part; leaving reality behind for the end-of-the-world was.

Angry, famished sprinter zombies coming after me to slurp the marrow out of my freshly cracked bones? Not a problem. The smell of rotting carcasses, lack of electricity and absence of Taco Bells to run to when the fiendish desire for cinnamon twists hits? Easily bearable.

You could counter that running for your life all the time might be a bummer but I've got my running shoes on. Just imagine:

No more work -- survival is a full-time job in the post-apocalyptic zombie world. Also, no more Fox news and CNN making a mockery of reasoned and intelligent discourse on political happenings and national and international policies.

No more worries about H1N1 or the AIDS virus, the rise of China and India as global powerhouses who will eclipse the U.S. economy through the sheer force of their well-educated populace, no more worries about whether there will ever be a functional international carbon-emissions policy that will keep us all from incinerating the Earth.

CTA doomsday budgets, wagering over who's going to actually score Roland Burris' U.S. Senate seat, and worries about whether the Kennedy expressway will buckle under me or whether the James R. Thompson Center's granite slabs will crush me like a grape on my way into the office? Immaterial!

And no more wondering when things will ever get better.

You see, after everything goes away -- such as in the zombie apocalypse, nuclear holocaust, or worldwide killer flu outbreak scenarios -- if you're one of the people who survived it then, pretty much, life is a little difficult, but refreshingly simple.

Keep warm, find food, stay alive in an environment where it's just you and a quiet world of dead and semi-dead corpses -- that's much easier than, say, trying to figure out what you, personally, can do to keep Chicago kids from getting killed on our streets.

Give me the disappointment of a world without freshly-baked Twinkies in exchange for wondering how the State of Illinois will keep all the poor people in food stamps next year.

Sigh, maybe it's just the weather ... Chicagoans didn't get the benefit of warming up during the summer this year and it seems like winter is nearly here ... but the post-zombie-apocalypse is looking pretty good to me right now.

But, alas, since there are no reanimated corpses that will take over the world and spare me from yet one more whiny op-ed about why Barack Obama should or should not have won the Nobel Prize and "what it means," I guess I'll just keep on truckin' until Halloween comes and I can don the dress of the undead to live out my fancy-free fantasies.

Esther J. Cepeda writes about the End of the World, Illinois' political dog piles, and much, much more on