The First Rule of Zombies

Is also an important rule of life.

What do I mean when I say “zombies”? I’m referring to the zombies mode in the hugely popular Call of Duty series. In zombies mode, the objective is to stay alive as long as possible despite an onslaught of increasingly hostile zombies.

There are a number of interesting parallels between zombies mode and real life. For one there is no finish line - the goal is simply to stay alive as long as possible and have as much fun as you can along the way. For another some practice and persistence go a long way; there are many, many things to learn about the zombies, the environments, and the weapons and the more you learn and the more you practice the better your results will be. And so it is in life… though thankfully in the real world no one’s trying to eat your brains.

All too often, however, it’s tempting to prioritize some momentary fun over the long-term objective. Killing a zombie with a single shot from an over-powered six shooter is definitely fun, for example, but when you’re facing down a group of fifty zombies the slow reload time means you simply can’t fire off enough rounds to survive the mob. Yet the damn thing is so much fun to shoot you just can’t bring yourself to swap it out for the boring old rifle that takes two shots to kill each zombie… even though that boring old rifle holds a hundred rounds and would make easy work of the whole lot of half-dead brain eaters. And so you end up dead after killing only half of them, cursing yourself as you start the level over, knowing that you now have to redo a bunch of boring work to return to where you were simply because you weren’t willing to give up the Remington.

This, then leads to Tom’s First Rule of Zombies:

Don’t get cute.

I think that’s a useful lesson for the real world too. It’s all too easy to prioritize short term fun over long term goals. And while it is definitely important to stop and smell the roses along the way... you have to be smart about it.

Like when the last zombie of the round is a slow moving crawler. By all means, at that point, break out the six shooter. Otherwise, keep your ray gun at the ready.