Caution, I Brake For Zombies

Published 3:31 pm Thursday, April 7, 2011

It takes all kinds to make a world.

And unmake it, too, of course, which hasn't happened yet.


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But with the ability of computer hackers to break through sophisticated barriers and perform untold mischief, any threat becomes plausible.

Take the recent situation on Highway 160 near the North and South Carolina state lines. Drivers there saw electronic highway signs flashing this warning:

“Zombies Ahead.”

True. Cross my heart and hope to die (many years from now).

The Associated Press cited a report in The Herald of Rock Hill that the sign normally flashes warnings about highway construction, which seems far more appropriate than warnings about zombies.

The zombie alert was unnecessary, of course, because zombies cannot be fatally injured in any kind of motor vehicle accident. They are the undead.

Migratory zombie herds would prove a difficulty to motorists but the south to north movement of zombies returning home for the summer is nearly over in both North and South Carolina.

New Jersey and New York motorists, however, should remain alert for the scores of zombies that tend to collect in land-based flocks, and then, of course, New England.

But no motorist should have to worry about zombies crossing the highway after the end of April because the zombie migration will be over for another year.

Believe that at your own risk, of course.

But it is certifiably true that another road sign at the border of the Carolinas flashed “Watch for Hunters” at the same time one on the opposite side of the highway warned “Be Alert for Tanks.”

My, but there is much to contend with while driving on Highway 160. The Carolinas know how to drive a motorist to distraction (pop. 16).

The hunters must have been tracking the herding flocks of migratory zombies, with the tanks considering pretty much anything to be fair game.

A key rule of the road is that all tanks have right of way.

Never make an obscene gesture to a tank, either.

You won't live to regret it, but you won't live, either, depending upon the species of tank and when it has eaten its last meal.

Flash a digit at a tank with an empty stomach and your exhaust pipe is going to get lit up like a Roman Candle-carrying zombie on the Fourth of July.

Being of a practical turn of mind, I am inclined not to take these flashing signs literally. If there had been warnings against zombies, hunters or tanks, I might have believed it. Even zombies and hunters, because the latter logically follow the former, in season. (Remember to get your state license before hunting zombies. Oddly, most states let hunters spotlight zombies).

But all three?

Clearly, hackers broke into the highway signs and at first I was inclined to view it not as vandalism but altruistic public service to protect motorists against the odd concatenation of zombies, hunters and tanks.

But, no, I'm inclined now to think it was all a sophisticated joke.

And I am thankful that such intelligent people contented themselves with amiable warnings about zombies rather than hacking into the Pentagon and starting World War Three.

There is this final caveat, however. Road signs warned of zombies in Collinsville, Illinois and Austin, Texas in 2009.

Could it be?