Anyone who knows me, even casually, knows that I love a good story. An enthralling novel, a gripping film or even a well-written television show - if the plot is compelling, I'm hooked.
That being said, while I'm a sucker for a tale with a meaningful message, I prefer that it wrap neatly with a nice big, happy ending bow.
So why, in the name of all that is holy, have I become completely addicted to the American Movie Classic channel's original gore fest, I mean, series, "The Walking Dead," you ask? Fair question.
Okay, here's the situation - it's all my son Kyle and my friend Leannah's fault. They made me do it. Well, sorta.
As Kyle was rambling on and on about the "Dead" with his older cousins, I couldn't help but comment: "Why on earth would anyone ever watch that ridiculous, gross show?" My son called me out when he countered, "How can you say that if you've never even watched it? Aren't you always telling me not to dismiss something before giving it a chance first?"
Sure, NOW he's listening. Sheesh. Oh well, so I ate a little crow? Good thing it tastes like chicken.
And so, one Sunday night not long ago, with my computer on my lap and my skepticism set on high, I sat down with my 14-year-old and tuned in half-heartedly to the story of what might happen to some common, regular everyday folks if there should, by chance, ever happen to occur - um, a zombie apocalypse.
I could barely contain my eye-rolling when the opening credits faded in and out and that's when it happened.
I found myself completely drawn into the fictional lives of these people; these poor, unsuspecting ordinary human beings who were suddenly thrust into this impossible situation. Before I knew it, I was entirely invested in them - the incredible ick factor aside, of course. Some of the people-eating scenes are downright nauseating.
But what amazes me about the fact that I'm actually setting my Sunday nights around "Dead" airtime is this: Absent the unrealistic and unlikely scenario, this is really just a story about people. Actually, it is a thought-provoking drama that begs the question: If the unthinkable happened and suddenly everything and everyone in your world was barbaric, could you remain civilized and moral? Could you stand firm in your convictions and still survive in the face of untold cataclysm and utter despair?
Beyond the evocative text and philosophical ponderings, I have developed a humongous crush on lead actor Andrew Lincoln. I digress.
Leannah could scarcely bottle her "I told you so" when I came to work on Monday raving about the "Dead." And so, in fairness to her and my boy, here are the top five takeaways I have gleaned from "The Walking Dead" -reminders that may well apply in pre-zombie apocalypse times, too, by the way:
5. Without modern-day conveniences and technologies on which to rely (think cell phones, computers, cars, heck even a power source), many of us could not make it through Day One of Armageddon. (Note to self:?Learn how to start a fire with twigs.)
4. When push comes to shove, your family is the single most important thing in life and you will do anything to protect them.
3. Sometimes both friends and foes come to us in the most unlikely of ways. It's wise to remember that there's a little white hat and black hat in everyone - but how someone acts when they think no one's watching is their true measure, so choose your allies wisely.
2. Faith is always the right answer. Individuals who remain true to the good Lord and His book despite what inhumanity may be raging all about them - those who remain faithful, honest, honorable, selfless and noble in the face of atrocity and evil -these are the real heroes and leaders in life.
And the most important thing I have learned from watching AMC's "The Walking Dead" is this: When your almost-high-school aged son actually wants to hang out with you for an hour, you watch "The Walking Dead."
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist who is stocking up on canned goods and bottled water, just in case. Contact her at email@example.com