My Dream Job : Apocalypse Documentarian

I don’t know; I guess the idea of being one of the last people on earth just appeals to me. Crowds bother me. I find most pop culture annoying. I’m not really a sports fan. I don’t like to spend more than $40.00 on a pair of shoes. The world could end and I’d fit in just fine.

I’ve tried being employed. I don’t care for it. Working around food is hot, miserable work that has you going home smelling like a french-fry. Retail work sucks; customers mistreat you even when they’re happy, as if abusing clerks is a perk of having money to spend. Enduring the corporate cubicle drudgery is an anesthetizing way to avoid having to sleep under a bridge, but I like to think I have a higher calling. Once, I thought I wanted to be a political writer. But then I became so disenchanted that I started to think people might actually deserve all the rotten things the people they elect do to them. I thought I could work for a non-profit and do something good for the world. But some days in this city full of mean and inconsiderate people I think, screw these people; I just want to have fun. I’ll be a comedy writer. I’ll do standup. I’ll try improv. I’ll write comedy sketches and sitcoms. But then I realize that most of the people who want to do those things are waiting tables at Applebees or the Rainforest Cafe.

For a long time I just couldn’t figure out my place in the world. Even the faintest hint of an idea of what the perfect job might be had eluded me.

And then it occurred to me. I know what my dream job would be.

Apocalypse Documentarian.

 Oh, yeah. That’s definitely it. It all makes sense now.

I’ve always had a fondness for apocalyptic tales. I’ve read the books – you know the ones: I Am Legend, The Stand, Day of the Triffids and many others. I’ve also consumed what most people would consider to be an unhealthy quantity of zombie movies. I know how these things work and I’ve been getting ready for a long time now. I have weapons, a backpack, flashlight batteries, comfortable shoes (the one time I spent more than $40.00 for shoes) and a healthy appetite for peanut butter and crackers (a foodstuff that’s surprisingly overlooked in grocery stores during major snowstorms, so you gotta assume that anyone surviving the apocalypse would find grocery store shelves still packed with Jif and water crackers).

So I think that’s what I’ll do. Somehow, when the apocalypse comes, I’ll survive. Then, just as soon as the news broadcasts stop and that test pattern appears on the TV screen, I’ll take up pen and paper and begin documenting the end of the world.

What’s that you say? What apocalypse? Oh, come on! It’ll happen. You know the kind of thing I’m talking about: an unstoppable virus leaks out of a government weapons lab and winds up wiping out 99% of the world’s population. Or, perhaps, an alien civilization invades the planet for our clean coal technology and decides it needs to eradicate the human race before it begins digging up West Virginia. Personally, I’m leaning toward zombies. My guess is that one day someone will accidently consume too much Greek yogurt and the zombie apocalypse will begin. (I’m not one to believe in the rapture and the second coming of Christ; I mean, who believes in that kind of nonsense, right?)

And, like a true professional, I’ll be totally committed to my trade – interviewing people on the street while there are still people to interview:

“Excuse me, ma’am, you seem surprised by this turn of events. Have you ever actually handled a handgun before? Do you think you have enough peanut butter?”

“Excuse me, sir, what does it feel like to become a zombie? Don’t bite me. Are you finding that your clothes no longer fit you correctly? Don’t bite me. What’s that you say? I can’t understand you. I said don’t bite me. Sir, if you persist like that I’m going to have to end this interview. Wow, you are a persistent little thing, aren’t you?”

Outside, the zombies will be devouring people by the mini-van load while, inside, I’ll be sitting in the food court of a well-barricaded shopping mall writing in my notebook by candle light. I’ll carefully document how the news unfolds and how the world reacts. Will there be panic or will people just keep going about their mundane daily business until it comes for them? Will the government declare martial law? Will all those crazy, ammo-hording, Tea Party rednecks just use it as an opportunity to start shooting people they disagree with, or will that whole militia thing end up being useful? Will the few remaining survivors stock up on canned goods and toilet paper, or go shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue?

That will be my job. Apocalypse Documentarian. Putting it all down in a descriptive manner that not only documents the actual events but also conveys the mood of the moment. I’d be at once factual, profound, and nostalgic. I could do that. Whether scribbling on scraps with zombies at the door during the early days or, much later, as the world is reclaimed by nature and my work has expanded into a tome, that’s the job for me. Staying alive, then faithfully and objectively documenting the world as it comes unhinged.

Someday, when humans repopulate the world, or perhaps when another species inherits the earth, my book will be found. It’ll be passed around for generations like the Diary of Anne Frank (but without the masturbation) and serve as a book of history and warning.

It sounds like a plan. There’s only one problem. I don’t quite know when, exactly, the zombie apocalypse will come.

Hmmm.

Looks like I’ll have to find something else to pass the time until it does. Let’s see, what should I do between now and then? Hmmm. Well, I’ve always been interested in politics. I guess I could try to get active. I mean, I guess I could tolerate it for a little while – you know – until the zombies come. And, well, there are people suffering even now. There might be a cause or two I could put my time toward. Oh, and there won’t be much time for fun once the apocalypse comes so I might want to make a little room for that too. And, of course, I’ll have to keep a roof over my head…

And who’s to say, really, that the apocalypse hasn’t already begun and we’ve simply failed to notice?

There’s so much do to. And all at once at that. I guess I better get started. After all, not everyone gets to have their dream job.

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