When your child is just five-years-old, conversing with them can be a bit trying at times. This is the normal after school conversation:
"How was your day at school?"
"Who did you play with?"
"What did you like best about the day?"
But there is one topic of conversation absolutely guaranteed at the moment to make my son's little eyes light up and his mouth go 50 to the dozen: zombies. What they are, are they real, what do they look like, how one can kill them while playing the wildly popular game Zombies vs Plants, and so on. From the moment he gets up in the morning to his bed time. The latest chapter of Zombiedom: can he please have a naked zombie party for his sixth birthday party?
Quite why the zombies need to be naked I still haven't worked out. Then again, I barely understand what a zombie is, and I certainly don't understand the appeal of them. When I think of the so-called 'undead' I think of something revolting and putrefied. I think of Michael Jackson's Thriller, and how something even as cheesy as that was hugely creepy for me at the time (and now, if truth be told).
The five-year-old doesn't seem to be fazed by playing zombie games, acting like a zombie or general investigating the phenomenon, but won't sleep without a bright light outside his room - I'm sure because he is convinced Mt Eden's no doubt rather genteel zombies might pay him a visit.
Ali made the mistake of mentioning that Spookers, the "haunted attraction theme park" at the old Kingseat Hospital, was holding a "run for your freakn life" 5km 'fun' run where entrants get to be chased by "brain hungry, virus-spreading" zombies to celebrate the unlikely attraction's 6th year, six-month and six-day in operation.
Naturally my son is keen as mustard to take part, even though he'd probably puff out at the 1km mark and then spend all night having bad dreams. I'm put off for a different reason. As one of my friends commented - and I concur: "even chain-saw wielding zombies couldn't get me to run 5km".
A question to the Twitter-verse that asked why zombies were currently so popular came back with these responses: @ptoothfish said "the allure of zombies is the ammoral post-apocalyptic wasteland. Kids know they would rule in such an environment." @stasiturnbull said "zombies may be mindless, but they offer a refreshing absence of self-indulgent angst. Yes #twilight, I'm looking at you."
Which may or may not go some way to explaining the popularity of zombies in young children.
In the meantime, I share with you my son's favourite song of the moment: Plants vs Zombies: the music video