Last weekend I took my little ghouls sledding, something we do at every single opportunity since snow is such a fickle thing in our part of the country, and Spring is coming. The Spring thaw is a mixed blessing for folks like us. Warm weather will mean fewer frozen and snapped-off extremities, but it will also mean putting more effort into self-preservation. My kids hate their daily dose of formaldehyde.
But while it’s here we try to savor the last weeks of cold and snow. It is an absolute kick to watch my kids go flying down the hill, and to watch those breathers at the bottom scatter like roaches. They seldom catch anyone, and when they do the other kid’s snowpants usually block the worst of the bite. But it’s still fun, and it keeps them in shape just in case this year is The Year. I’m on the mailing list, and I’m following all the right people on Twitter. When the apocalypse starts, we’ll be ready.
But while I was watching my kids practice their breather-snatching skills, I overheard several parents shouting to their offspring. Now I realize that breather parents hover more closely than I do; for some reason they think it’s in their best interest to keep breathing. But some of their comments seemed a little extreme.
“Don’t go too fast!” Um, what? Isn’t going fast the whole point? Why not take them to a barbecue and tell them to watch their cholesterol while you’re at it?
“Put on your helmet!” Oh, this poor child. I understand that if a kid’s learning to snowboard and you foresee a future spent on mountainsides, you want to get them in the habit early of protecting their precious, delicious brains. But this kid is sitting on his butt on a saucer sled. Turn off the propellers and let him feel the wind in his hair.
“Sit on your brother’s lap. Don’t go by yourself.” I’ve got news for you, Mom. In the event of a collision, your smaller child will become his big brother’s airbag. Which kid are you trying to protect here?
“Sit down. Hold on. Hold on tight. Look out, look out, LOOK OUT!” I had to save the best for last. This was repeated every single time that poor kid went down the hill. I’m not sure if his life flashed before his eyes, but his entire future flashed before mine. It was tragic.
After an hour or two, my shamblers started getting bored and hungry. And it was then that I realized that the undead play a vital role in modern society—besides that of culling the herd. We help overly anxious breathers put their lives in perspective. Rolling down a snowy hill on a piece of plastic seems far less dangerous after you’ve been chased off that same hill while wearing snowpants and boots. It’s a public service, really. You’re welcome.