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Should Zombies Attack…

This is a repost of my column on Dad Blogs, Armed And Fatherly, copied here as part of an ongoing effort to archive my various musings that biographers and/or Presidential librarians will probably someday want easy access to.  This particular one is my second, originally posted May 23rd, 2009.

zombiesWith the combination of the recent swine flu epidemic, the economic downturn, and Joan Rivers’ inconceivable new title as “The Next Apprentice,” it seems that now may be the best time to discuss an issue that I don’t believe gets enough attention from parents today: if the world is suddenly beset by zombies, what umbrella stroller would serve you the best in trying to keep your family safe from the hordes of the undead? I’ve spent many a restless night pondering this very question, and after much research and some state-mandated intensive therapy now consider myself reasonably proficient in the topic to provide some answers for you as well.

The first point (well, maybe the second) folks usually bring up when I mention this topic is to ask why I don’t recommend the standard “el-cheapo” umbrella stroller you can buy pretty much anywhere. And honestly, if it meet your needs, then by all means don’t buy anything better. There isn’t anything wrong with those strollers – they are cheap, super compact, easy to lug around, lightweight, a snap to close, and come in camouflage should you need to quickly hide in the bushes as undead police officers troll the countryside looking for “survivors” in which to eat their brains. We certainly have one of these umbrella strollers (we received it free in my Oscar Presenter gift basket), and have used it many times.

One problem that we’ve encountered with the basic models though is that they are often cheaply constructed and in some cases can fall apart under heavy use. But by far the worst issue for us is that the seat is just plain uncomfortable, as the bottom of the seat digs into our daughter’s legs, and she can only last 10-15 minutes in there, which is just not helpful when we are out shopping or searching for any uninfected survivors. Plus there is generally no place to stash the shotgun you’ll inevitably need to battle back your ex-neighbor who is now trying to get back at you for trampling his roses by munching on your brains.

We decided after a lot of thoughtful consideration that we needed to be ready with a better umbrella stroller should the zombies arrive, and we began a laborious search for a more sophisticated one for our daughter, one that could meet all the requirements we needed. After much heated deliberation and a few phone calls to the government run Zombie Hot Line, we came up with the following list of requirements we were looking for.

1) A Comfortable Ride

Most likely in the event of zombie invasion, you are going to find yourselves moving around on foot, as the gas stations will probably either be on fire or breeding grounds for mechanic zombies to show off their ‘undead rides’. You’ll need a stroller that your child can be in for long periods of time, and that is largely dependent on comfort. Look for decent padding in the seat, and especially under the knees where the feet will hang. You may also want to find one with a reclining seat, so that your child can sleep in the stroller if necessary, should you need to camp for the night in an abandoned log cabin deep in the woods deceptively far from the reach of the undead armies.

2) A basket underneath and/or storage pockets

Lugging supplies (baby food, diapers, ammunition, dental floss) between barricades of survivors will certainly weigh on you during the zombie invasion, so having a place on the stroller to store things can be a lifesaver. We love the basket under our regular stroller, and we wanted to maintain that convenience while in flight with our umbrella stroller.

3) Long handles

My wife and I are reasonably tall, and we found with our free umbrella stroller that it just wasn’t built for tall folks. If I need to run from my boss turned zombie trying to kill me with the Mr. Potato Head I have on my desk at work, I can’t afford to have a stiff back from bending over our umbrella stroller. The best way to determine if it will work for you is if you can get your hands on an actual model at a Babies R’ Us or Cabela’s Zombie Supply and test it out.

4) Folds Compactly

Should we actually make it to a safe zone, we’d want to be able to fold up our umbrella stroller as compactly as possible, as similarly as possible to the aforementioned cheap models in order to maximize space in our FEMA trailer. In our research we found that some of the high end umbrella strollers didn’t fold up in the slim style but instead like a normal stroller (think collapse rather than umbrella fold), which just defeats the purpose of using it instead of the regular stroller.

5) A Sun Shade

Despite the dark and gloomy look of most zombie invasions portrayed in movies, there really isn’t a reason to believe that an actual attack would change weather patterns at all. Therefore a sun shade would come in handy to ensure that our daughter stays cool and happy even as her infected zombie infant friends are slowly but unwaveringly crawling after us, diapers full of digested brains and Zwieback toast.

Is the threat of a unforeseen zombie horde borne of the swine flu possible or even imminent? That is hard to say. Would an umbrella stroller that meets the above requirements allow you to escape the chaos and reach a zombie-free safe haven where the remaining humans keep nightly vigils at the walls to turn back the waves of undead? Very likely in my opinion. Regardless of this specific topic, I implore you, whether you are in the market for an umbrella stroller, a brain penetrating shotgun, or steel skullcap capable of resisting zombie chomping, BE PREPARED. Tomorrow we could all be dead. Or in this case undead.

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