Saturday, June 15, 2013

Safe Haven

  I think I may have hit upon a solid reason from my upbringing that could explain why I love zombie stories so much.  When I was in the 2nd grade, my dad was stationed on an army base in Taegu, South Korea.  A TV station for English-speaking people was put out by the military called Armed Forces Korea Network (AFKN).
  Instead of commercials for products like we're used to here in America, AFKN had public service announcements about such things as Operational Security (OPSEC) and fire safety.  One of the fire safety announcements advised families to have an escape bag, which would be a bag full of important things to have should you have to flee your burning house.  Being seven years old, my important things were my toys so I had a bag that I kept under my bed, containing my favorite toys.
  Over the years growing up, I kept that bag updated with things as they became important to me with my changing ideals.  Also, over the years, my parents became more and more disappointed in me as a failure at school.  When I couldn't take the yelling anymore, I opted to stay in my room more and more.  I started to bring secret stashes of food and beverages into my bedroom.  It had become my safe haven.  I was eventually able to stay in there from as soon as I got back from school until dinner time and then until the next morning when it was time to go back to school.  I had music, books, magazines, toys and food, plus my escape bag.
  When I saw George Romero's 'Dawn of the Dead' for the first time, it connected with me in some deep way that I didn't understand at the time.  Looking back on it now, I realize that the people in that movie and in most zombie movies are stuck in a confined space and struggle to make sure that they have everything they need to survive in their safe haven isolated against overwhelming opposition.  In other words, it's the story of my life.

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