… on discovering a cherub’s ruthlessness somewhere in Pennsylvania


Why? What do your cherubs read out loud to YOU during wicked long rides in cars?


Hey! Welcome back :))

I have so many things to tell you about this past weekend, when we were all in Kentucky to witness First-Born Mac’s and Half-Kid Jack’s graduation from Centre College which was the absolute best graduation I’ve ever been to and how surprised was I because I look forward to sitting through graduation ceremonies about as much as I look forward to people discussing their belly buttons…

Which is another topic for another time.


But you know what another word for ‘not looking forward to’ is?


Dread is another word for ‘not looking forward to’, and I am so mad at Number-One-Son Sam right now because he has taken an event that we have jointly been preparing for – for, like, practically Sam’s entire life and reduced my anticipation to dread. Just a pile of smoldering embers.

The freakin’ kid burned my zombie apocalypse dream house down.

Look, I know it might be unlikely. And, sure, Sam feels the same way. But since the Zombie Survival Guide came out many years ago, we have read and studied it many times so that we will be prepared for this particular incarnation of domestic terrorism….

The nibble-y kind.

So anyway, Number-One-Son Sam and I lean toward the ‘might as well be prepared’ side of things and have basically let all of our friends and loved ones know that, when the zombie apocalypse happens, we are your peeps.

Find us.

We know what we are doing.

At least I thought Sam also knew what he was doing.

Until yesterday, approximately 8 hours into our – what turned out to be – 17 hour drive home from Kentucky to Massachusetts.

We had been enjoying a lovely ride that started out with listening to a some Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers), then we went on to some music that included Ella, Old Blue Eyes, and then some surprisingly impressive bluesy funky jazzy stuff from the John Mayer Trio.

And, of course, this was all peppered with Sam reading from the Zombie Survival Guide, and us discussing the merits of everything from the idea of an anti virus to weapons to certain ‘it-could-happen’ scenarios.

And one of those scenarios was centered on me being bitten by a zombie, and what would happen then.

Because, you know, we are the leaders of our group.

Which is a group of two.

Mainly because the Nearly Perfect Husband, First-Born Mac, Self-Appointed-Perfect-Boy Gabe, and Half-Kid Jack haven’t quite bought into our overall zeal for preparation.

Anyway, I’m ready for a heart-felt discussion of amputation and hoping for the best when Sam let’s loose with:

“I’d take you out in five seconds. Don’t worry.”


Me: “What?”

Sam: “Five seconds.”

Me: “You’d take me out right away?”

Sam: “Bite. Aim. Boom.”

Me: “Seriously?”

Sam: “Don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.”

Me: “You can’t just kill me!” (I grip the steering wheel tighter because I am aghast and emotional and don’t want to hit one of the many tractor-trailer trucks whizzing by me on Highway 80 in Pennsylvania).

Sam: “I absolutely can.”

Me: “No.”

Sam: “Woman,” (yes, my son calls me woman when we are discussion the zombie apocalypse) “You have been bitten by a zombie. You are dead anyway.”

Me: “I want you to hack off my arm if that happens.”

Sam: “I am not hacking of your arm if that happens. You will be a mess and there won’t be time.”

Me: “There will be.”

Sam then begins acting the scene out, from the passenger seat. He uses his left hand and reaches over and pantomimes grabbing a zombie head, which is clearly biting my left arm. He pulls it back, mimes a gun in his right hand shooting the zombie.

Then he tells me he is also infected because the zombie guts got in his eye.

Sam: “It is not safe to try to hack off your arm. I have to kill you.”

Me: “No.”

Sam: “You would die anyway!”

Me: “No! Look it up.”

Sam looks it up in the book and we find out I have a ten percent chance of surviving if we amputate the limb right away, like within five seconds or something is what Sam’s interpretation is.

I think he is being conservative but we go with five seconds.

Sam starts acting out the scenario again.

Sam: “One, I realize the bite is happening. Two, I run to you. Three, Four, Five, the zombie is dead but I’m out of time. I have to shoot you.”

Me: “No. One, I calmly tap you on the shoulder and say, ‘Sam, there’s a zombie on me, can you get it off?’. Two, you use your machete to cleanly sever it’s head, preventing infected zombie gut dispersal. Three, you use the clean machete in your back pocket to hack off my arm. Four, we hang out for a while to see if I turn. If I turn, you have my permission to kill me.”

Sam: “That’s ridiculous. It would be too sad.”

Me: “Oh, but killing me right away wouldn’t be?”

Sam: “No, woman. One shot. BANG! Then, ‘oh my Gawd I just had to kill my mom!’ is way easier than watching you die slowly.”

Me: “I think that is not true. I think you would have guilt and would always wonder if you should have hacked off my arm. Also, you would have a lot of Post Traumatic Stress going on and would probably have to give up your leadership position due to ineffectiveness brought on by PTSD. Because you killed me.”

Sam: “I can live with that.”

Me: “You know what, Sam? If that happens, you’d better be a really, really good shot. Because now that I know your plan, as soon as the zombie bites me in the arm and you get within a foot of me, I am spitting in your face.”

Sam: “You’re going to infect me?”

Me: “You bet your ass I am.”

Sam: “Seriously? You’re going to infect your own son.”

Me: “I go down. You go down.”

Sam: “You are so off my team when this all goes down.”

Me: “Fine!”

Sam: “Fine!”

Yep. And it went on all the way home. We even called John, who was stuck in Lexington airport with Gabe. He was totally on my side.

Sam even presented the scenario to Nik Jablonski, dog-sitter extraordinaire and now Marshal’s go-to new jolly ball buddy, when we arrived home at 11:00 p.m.

Nik was on my side too.

Sam is totally alone in all of this, and it’s making for some great fun.

I’m actually making little ‘spitting’ noises every time he passes by me.

If the kid refuses to hack off my zombie-nibbled limb, he’s toast.

Thanks for readin’.


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