The Fifth Cool Thing: MAX BROOKS

So on Tuesday night I was creating a post about five cool things and felt kind of sad that I couldn’t even think of five, and had to settle on four. LITTLE DID I KNOW that I was saving that fifth thing for something that would blow all the others out of the water (new pillows? psh). However, it was thanks to the second cool thing–my inconclusive ESL tutoring–that it was able to happen. I was supposed to meet the visiting Korean scholar in the SILS library to talk about tutoring about an hour and a half before my seminar. Knowing that deciding what day to meet–even when linguistically crippled as we are–could not possibly take an hour and a half, I picked up a copy of UNC’s questionable newspaper, The Daily Tarheel, thinking that I could at least do the crossword.

So. I got to the SILS library a little early and sat down at a table. Everyone around me was working on laptops and looking super serious. I felt slightly self conscious about sitting near them doing something silly like a crossword, so I spread the paper out and looked like I was about to analyze it for some kind of assignment. THANKFULLY my anxiety led me to actually look at the articles on the second page instead of just flipping right to the crossword in the back. So I saw this article with the headline “Zombie Attack Advice Comes to UNC”.

Naturally this led me to first think “WHAT? Am I doing a talk?” and then, since that was ridiculous, “WAIT IS MAX BROOKS DOING A TALK???” Because, honestly, who else is enough of a zombie expert to be trusted by such a large, public university like UNC? Rice may have been able to get by with just Charles Lena and me, but UNC has the money to pay for the best. If you don’t already know (for some reason, like you haven’t taken an amazing Student Taught Course about it), Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks, wrote:

My copy is full of highlighting and underlines... AND IS NOW SIGNED

My copy is full of highlighting and underlines... AND IS NOW SIGNED

But his fame didn’t really skyrocket until he published the (more entertaining, though less informative):

Which I would recommend to anyone, since it's an amazing story

Which I would recommend to anyone, since it's an amazing story

The audio book of the above is also pretty awesome, although they cut out my favorite part, the whole stolen Chinese submarine thing. World War Z is probably one of my favorite books, not just for the zombocalypse information, but for the character studies and writing style. I used both of these as texts for WIESS 101: Zombies in Fiction and Film. Which, despite some course evaluations, was totally bitchin.

I impatiently sat through my conversation with the visiting Korean scholar, and then ran out of Manning towards the Student Union, where I had never been before. I was surprised that there wasn’t a big sign or a giant crowd at the box office, and that there were still plenty of free tickets left. Do people not REALIZE how awesome this was? I grabbed two and guarded them with my life for the rest of the day.

The lecture ended up being held in the Student Union Auditorium, which was about the size of a small movie theater, and just as drab. I would say there were about 50 people there, which is shocking considering the size of UNC and the fact that it was MAX BROOKS. The lecture was entirely about effective zombie preparedness and debunking myths perpetuated by “the mainstream zombie media”. He also mentioned how we have to overcome our cultural biases towards some groups of people who may have co-opted good ideas we’ll need to survive. Namely, our natural-born hatred of hippies. Yeah, they don’t use soap and water, but that doesn’t mean they’re stupid, and we’ll need bicycles and working together to survive the zombocalypse. He also revealed that what we call “Z Day” in the US, Canada calls “The Great Pay Back”, and that they are preparing, on that day, to raise the Maple Leaf Curtain and guard their border with sharpened hockey sticks from helplessly fleeing Americans. I never trusted them. When someone asked if he’d seen the movie Zombieland, he replied, “Oh, no, but I’ve read the book; IT’S CALLED THE ZOMBIE SURVIVAL GUIDE”. There’s a (possibly better) summary of this talk in today’s Daily Tar Heel.

Then afterwards he signed books (and one person’s crow bar)! I told him I’d used his book as a text in a class I taught, and he thanked me for saving lives! You’re welcome, Rob and Roque. Sorry, Rachel, but Charles Lena is going to shoot you on like Day 1 because you’re a “straggler” and a liability to his zombie fighting team. And I can’t do anything about that.

So basically thanks to visiting Korean scholar wanting to meet too early for me, it was the BEST DAY EVER.

2 responses to “The Fifth Cool Thing: MAX BROOKS”

  1. mom Ladd says:

    Absolutely the coolest event EVER!!!!

  2. Anybody who didn’t take your class is a chump and will be the first to go when the zombies inevitably rise up and consume the medical center and its surrounding environs.

    I’m looking at YOU, most of Rice.

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