Survival Sunday – Day One of The Walking Dead Scenario (46/365)

Download PDF

I am addicted to survival shows. I love them, but I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s because my life is so incredibly cozy and wonderful, I am thrilled by these challenges.  Maybe it’s because I like watching other people suffer.  I’m not sure.  Do you watch any of these shows?  The Walking Dead, Survivor Man, Naked and Afraid, Man vs. Wild.  They are all incredibly fascinating to me.  Now, The Walking Dead is a drama, unlike the other three reality TV shows, but they all have similar qualities.  Basically, it’s you versus the world.

Because of my love of these shows, I often think about what I would do in the same situations.  How would I handle myself?  Well, quite simply, I’d probably cry a lot and then die.

Now, let’s say I could back my life up a bit.  I don’t want to even consider the apocalypse right now, with my family.  Instead, I’d like to pick a time in my life before I met my wife, before we started a family.  Here’s what I would do.


Back around the year 2000, I lived with my brother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I was in peak physical condition, because I just graduated from UW-Oshkosh where I ran track and cross country.  I also had taken up lifting weights that spring, and probably was as strong as I ever will be.  My brother is a piece of iron.  He’s always been in great shape.  For me, this would have been the ideal time for the world to collapse into a state of complete chaos.  What a ridiculous thing for me to think!  I know.  Anyways, back to the story.

Let’s say the city of Milwaukee was overtaken by the zombie hoard in summer months.  My brother and I survived the initial chaos, but we still find ourselves at the apartment building on 91st and Dixon.  What would we do?

Step one.  At the break of dawn, we would flee the city.  A higher population means a greater chance at getting swarmed by walkers or zombies or the living dead or whatever you want to call them.  We would each load up a backpack with food and water.  My brother had a bike, but I didn’t at this time.  One of us would ride the bike and carry the large backpack.  The other would run nearby brandishing a 33 inch 31 ounce maple baseball bat.  Also, I would strongly consider wearing my catching gear, or at least the shin guards.


We most definitely would not take a car.  The streets would be clogged with broken down vehicles or other obstacles that I guarantee we wouldn’t be able to traverse in my 1982 Buick LaSabre.  It felt like I was driving a boat in that thing.  The easiest way to escape the city from our location would be to head west.  I would stay away from the main highway.  Interstate 94 would be a giant path of death.  We would stick to the side streets.  Using a bat as a weapon instead of a gun would help us to remain quiet.  Also, our biggest asset comes from our speed and endurance.  Any time there was a threat of being swarmed by zombies, we’d just turn the other way and run or bike.  I don’t think very many zombies can crank out a sub five minute mile.  Once we make it out of Milwaukee, and through the large suburban area of Brookfield, we can make our way towards Hartland.

Step two.  Rescue Mom, Dad, and Bad Sister.  You might ask, “How would you know that Mom and Dad would still be in Hartland during the Zombie Apocalypse?”  Trust me.  I just know.  My dad will never leave there, even during the zombie apocalypse.  According to Google Maps, its about 22 miles from the apartment to my Mom and Dad’s residence.  If my brother and I split time on the bike, we both would have had to ran 11 miles.  Let’s say we ran at a solid pace, but didn’t push it too hard, plus we had to make some stops, or change route a few times to avoid a zombie mob, I’d say we’d get there somewhere between three to four hours.  We’d arrive around lunch time.  Mom would be happy to see us.  Dad would be happy too, and we’d talk about how it sucks that the Brewers season has been cancelled.  My sister would tell us some helpful scientific stuff about surviving in a world of zombies.   Then, Mom would probably make us a sandwich, or we’d just raid her cupboards like normal.  Now, I know my dad wouldn’t want to leave, so I’d have to have a secret meeting with Bad Sister.  Once we devised our strategy, we’d cajole Dad into leaving the house.  With the help of Bad Sister’s persuasive powers, we’d convince everyone that we need to find a safer location.

Step three.  Go to downtown Hartland.  Now when I say downtown, don’t get the image in your head of a large city.  Instead, imagine one main street bordered by three story brick buildings.  That’s downtown Hartland.  That’s where we would set up our fort.  Now, I know in a zombie apocalypse, the surviving humans are equally as dangerous, but I don’t think we’d have to fight off any humans to claim one of these spaces.  Most or all of these buildings are commercial, and not residential.  Also, none of them are grocery or drug stores.  The restaurants down there might have been ransacked, but that’s about it.  I don’t think many people would be congregating in the barber shop, consignment store, or dentist’s office.  Once we are in one of these buildings, we’d find our way up to the highest level.  Once inside the highest level of one of these buildings, we’d secure our entry point, and then look for other exit points in case we need to flee.  By this time, I think it would be about dinner.

Step four.  It probably was a pretty busy day.  I don’t think we would do much more other than maybe play cards before calling it a night.

NEXT WEEK ON SURVIVAL SUNDAY – Day Two of my personal The Walking Dead Scenario

Rub Some Dirt on It – A Sledding Story Time

Download PDF

Whenever I got hurt as a kid, my father would always say the same thing, “Get up, Dave.  You’re not hurt.  Rub some dirt on it.”

The phrase, rub some dirt on it, is a baseball colloquialism.  Dad’s a big baseball fan, and his infectious love for the game rubbed off on his two sons, myself, and my older brother Steve.  If we got hit by a pitch, fell down on our bike, or ran into a snow fence when sledding, the message was the same.

“Rub some dirt on it.”

Most of the time, he was right.  Now, I wouldn’t literally rub dirt on a bruise or cut, but I would get up, dust myself off, and then get back out there. After a while, we started to give my father the same advice whenever he got banged up.

At Nagawaukee Golf Course, off of Maple Drive, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, there is a fantastic sledding hill.  My father, brother, and I would go there multiple times each winter when I was in middle school.

Now on one particular winter weekend, the conditions at the park were magnificent.  The day before, we were hit with a few inches of wintry mix, meaning some snow, sleet and rain.  Right after the precipitation stopped, the temperature dropped.  Snow and sleet covered the ground and froze solid.  The slippery surface provided barely enough traction to walk up the hill.

My brother and I brought our red plastic sleds, and my father brought an inner-tube.  The three of us marched to the summit of Mount Nagawaukee, hopped in our rides, and sailed down the icy terrain.

Dad sailed ahead of Steve and I, and at about the halfway point of the hill, his inner-tube started to turn.  He was going down backwards for a little bit, and near the end of the hill, he wisely bailed out.  Dad tumbled out of the tube, and Steve and I intentionally crashed our sleds right behind him.

Even though the hill flattened out, we all had to force ourselves to stop because our momentum never slowed down on the glare ice.  If we didn’t intentionally bail out, we would have catapulted over a ditch and into the road.   Also, at the bottom of the hill right in front of the ditch, only about a foot off the ground was a thick steel cable.  Running parallel to the road,  the cable was an inch in diameter, and it looped between short wooden posts, signifying the edge of the golf course.

Don't sled past me

Don’t sled past me

“That was lame.  I shouldn’t have bailed out so soon.  There was still some hill left,” Dad said as we walked back up the hill.  Steve and I shrugged our shoulders.

The second run started just like the first.  Dad quickly took the lead.  The combination of pumped up plastic inner-tube on a steep decline of glare ice allowed my father to travel at incredible speeds.  Halfway down, he accidentally spun backwards and headed down the hill blind.  Steve and I followed close behind, and shouted as he approached the end of the run, “BAIL OUT!  BAIL OUT!”

There goes the Snow Tube.

There goes the Snow Tube.


The inner-tube exploded as Dad slammed sideways into the steel cable wire.  It wasn’t quite a clothesline because Dad hit the wire just below his armpit, but he still was whipsawed to the ground, making him crash onto his shoulder.  The weight of my father collapsing onto the ice blew a hole into the side of the tube and sent it squealing through the air like a deflating balloon.  It finally landed on the other side of the road.

Steve and I skidded to a stop right in front of him.  We didn’t know if we should laugh or not, so for a moment, we said nothing at all.

I think Steve broke the silence.  He said, “Dad.  That was… AWESOME!  But I think you broke the tube.  It flew across the road.”

Dad responded with some groans.

“Get up Dad.  You’re not hurt,” I said.

He continued to grimace in pain.

“Rub some dirt on it,” I added.

Dad managed to sit back up.  He muttered a few words, “We’ve got to go back to the car.”

Reluctantly, Steve and I agreed.  Apparently, rubbing dirt on it wasn’t going to work for Dad.  I grabbed the sleds, and Steve retrieved the flattened inner-tube.  Dad stood up and we walked a half mile back to the car.

When Dad crashed, he cracked two ribs.  I don’t remember how long it took his ribs to heel, but he didn’t move very quickly for a month or two.

Any time we retell the sledding story, Dad always says the same thing, “But it was a great ride. It was a great ride.”

Story Time – Dunk Fest with My Brother

Download PDF

We all make bad decisions in our youth.  This story time involves vandalism but not in a traditional sense.  I feel bad about it now, but it’s still a funny story.  Don’t judge.  Just enjoy the stupidity.

Throw it down!

Throw it down!

My brother, Steve, was one grade above me.  When we were both in high school, we loved to play pick up basketball with all of our friends.  Even better than playing basketball on a standard ten foot high basketball rim was playing at the grade school, where the rims were only about nine feet tall.

Why were nine feet high hoops better?  Because then we could dunk.  I’m just over six feet tall, but I don’t have great jumping abilities, and neither did my brother or any of our friends.   The only way we were throwin’ it down was on a lower rim.

After playing countless games at the grade school, one rim started to get loose.  The bolts that held the rim to the backboard rattled with each monster dunk.  One fine sunny day, Steve, his two jerky friends, Justin and Omar, and I decided that we should see who could slam it so hard that the rim would rip right off the backboard.  We each took turns attacking the rim with fierce two-handed jams, reverses, and alley-oops.  I had little chance of being the one tearing the rim off.  Even though I was six feet tall, I weighed about six ounces.  I would hang and shake my bony frame around after each dunk, but the rim remained.

My brother went after me.  He ran toward the hoop, leaped off the black top whipped the ball behind his head, and then at the apex of his jump, he hammered down on the rim, sending the basketball through the hoop with tremendous force.   His body weight, combined with the violent attack on the hoop, pried the rim loose from the backboard.  Steve triumphantly landed on his feet with the rim still in his hand.

Right as he turned to show us his triumphant achievement, Justin yelled, “Steve!  Look out!  It’s the cops.

Immediately, Steve bolted off the court and into the swamp behind the parking lot.  I looked around for a place to run and hide, but the only place to take cover was in the swamp.  As soon as I was about to run for it, Justin grabbed me by the back of my shirt.

Justin and Omar were completely red-faced as they tried to suppress their laughter.  Justin whispered, “Little Tief, there aren’t any cops.

I was dumbfounded.  No cops?  Why did he say that then?  Then I put it all together.  They wanted to see if Steve would run into the swamp.  I tried not to laugh, which made it more hilarious.  All the while, we could hear Steve groaning as he marched deeper and deeper into the bog.

After a few minutes, Justin called out, “Tief.  Come out.  The cops are gone!”

We laughed as we heard Steve trudging through the swamp, cursing to himself.  He stepped out of the cattails and walked toward the court covered in silt and sludge.  He still held onto the rim.  I laughed uncontrollably at him.

Omar asked between giggles, “Tief?  Why didn’t you drop the rim?

Steve just shrugged his shoulders.

A few days later, somehow my mother learned about what we did.  I don’t recall what the punishment was, but I still remember how much we all laughed when Steve came back out of the swamp with the rim still in his hands.

– Dave