Yesterday, I realised there’s a potential fatal flaw in my ability to survive a zombie apocalypse. This came as a bit of a shock as I always thought I had a pretty good post-apocalyptic survival skills base: I’m a reasonable shot with both a rifle and a shotgun, and I can handle a crossbow thanks to regularly using one to take skin samples from whales; I can hold my own a sword pretty well thanks to spells fencing for various university teams down the years; I might not do it as much as I used to when I was younger, but I can deal with being stuck in the great outdoors and sleeping out in the open; I’m reasonably proficient in foraging in the wild, and I know how to both hunt and fish; I can drive pretty much any car, motorbike, van, motorboat and sailboat; I’m petty good with a hammer and nails, and I can do basic engine repairs if I really have to. I’ve even been doing my cardio recently and can cover 5 miles in a reasonable time (although admittedly that has more to do with attempting to hold back the tide middle-age spread for a few more years rather than preparing for a zombie apocalypse).
So what’s changed? Well, I’ve just realised overlooked one small problem: I’m so short-sighted I can barely see my feet if I don’t have my contact lenses in or my glasses on. I hadn’t really thought about the implications this would have for survival in the post-apocalyptic world until I glanced in the cupboard where I keep my monthly disposal contact lenses and thought, wow I’ve got enough stock-piled to last any collapse of civilisation. Then I thought, hang on, they’re going to run out some time, then what am I going to do?
That’s okay I thought, I can go back to glasses and I should be fine. Then I remembered an incident from when I was about fourteen. I was at an outward bound survival training camp on the west coast of Scotland, when, thanks to mucking about when should have been listening, I managed to lose my only pair of glasses over the side the boat that was going to drop me off on a remote island. There, I’d have to survive alone for two days before I’d be picked up again. All I had with me other than the clothes on my back was a box of matches, a single pot and a knife (this was the eighties when you could still give kids weapons and maroon them on remote islands in Scotland without too many people asking about things like health and safety!). Anyway, rather than admit I’d lost my glasses and could barely see, I when through the whole 48 hour survival test with much of the world being little more than an indistinct blur.
Thinking back on this, I know I’d be able to forage and collect enough food even without being able to see too well (I did it back then and so I could do it again if I had to), but the bit where I’d fail miserably would be defending myself against marauding zombies. You see without my glasses, before I’d be able to tell whether any rapidly approaching fuzzy shape is friend or foe, they’d be on top of me, and if it turned out they were a zombie it’d be to late to do anything beyond screaming as they chewed the flesh from my face. This would put me at a severe disadvantage, and one which I probably wouldn’t be able to overcome.
So what does all this mean? Well, firstly, the moment I finish writing this post I’m going out to buy a spare pair of specs – just in case! Secondly, if I do find myself in a zombie apocalypse, I’m going to have to make damn sure nothing happens to my glasses…
From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit www.forthoseinperil.net to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.
To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.