The zombies of Chenal 

We were out in the wilds of Chenal the other day, squiring our lovely bride in her ongoing, near-Arthurian quest for the perfect shoe, when a traveler approached us among the long rows of boots and sandals. He was thin, sunburnt and wiry, with thick glasses, a long goatee, and a wallet secured to his pants by a chain. The Observer — who used to work for a living before we got this cushy, air-conditioned gig shoveling words — made our friend immediately as no stranger to toil and strain, God bless him.

"Do ya'll know where the Ideal Feet store is from here?" our friend inquired. After a bit of palaver and head scratching, Spouse and I agreed that, sadly, we did not.

"I need to find it," he said. "I work out in the heat, and my feet sure get to stinkin' sometimes." With that, he turned and wandered away into the stacks.

Godspeed, fellow Searcher. May gasmask-wearing eagles wing you away to where your stinky feet may be bathed in mint and cool waters. While we don't think curing pungent tootsies is necessarily their forte at the Ideal Feet Store (that would be the Less Than Ideal Feet Store, which is two doors down), we do love a Working Man, especially one who is honest about his afflictions. In the meantime: try some of that Gold Bond Powder. A puff of that miracle stuff down our boots back in the day kept them smelling right as rain.

Junior and I have been watching AMC's "The Walking Dead" for a couple of seasons now. Based on the comic book of the same name, it's the story of a bunch of survivors making their way in the world after an apocalypse involving the living dead mysteriously rising from the grave, shambling around, and trying to kill and eat everything that doesn't kill them first. It's a gory, emotional, hair-raisingly scary series, which makes it pretty much the "All in the Family" of the modern 'tween-to-teen set like Junior. He read the comic books long before the TV series was ever dreamed of, so having a show to watch about all the characters he's come to know and fear for is like getting a birthday cake every Sunday night at 8 p.m. sharp. Before we get letters demanding to know who we think we are, letting a child of only 12 watch such filth and deprivation, let us point out that The Observer was a horror movie addict at that age, gobbling up anything involving screams, monsters and copious stage blood, and WE turned out just fine, didn't we? Wait. Don't answer that.

To still our doubts, we chalk up his interest to this: There's something about being on the cusp of adulthood — inevitable demise so far off in the distance that it's not even a lingering shadow yet — that makes kids seek out the idea of the Worst Possible Death. Call it mental practice for the hardships to come; reassurance that, even if adulthood is bad, it can't possibly be as bad as all that. As for Yours Truly, we can't watch that kind of thing much anymore. The world is too full of plain ol' troubles to fill our entertainment hours with worse and more. Give us "Singing in the Rain" over "Sorority House Weed-Whacker Slaughter 7" any day, pal.

The other night, Junior and his Old Man were at The Observatory, watching "The Walking Dead," when things came to the screeching halt of a commercial break. Maybe we're weird, but watching people chased and eaten by reanimated corpses makes us not even wanna THINK about buying spaghetti sauce and chuck roasts, so we took the boobtube break to have a little father/son chat. It progressed thusly:

Dad: "You know what town I'd like to see overrun by zombies? Branson, Missouri."

Junior: "I think it already has been." Zing!

Ward and The Beaver we ain't. That said: in the event of zombie apocalypse, our best advice is to hide behind The Kid. He can just quip 'em to death.


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