There was a time in horror when survival of the fittest meant the only the most attractive outlasted the reaper's minions. The egalitarian devastation of The Walking Dead (FX, Friday 10pm) means blade-sharp cheekbones are no defence against hordes of the undead.
But it's not all bad news (although a zombie apocalypse is admittedly pretty bad news), as there are a few rules that may prevent you from becoming a moving buffet.
1) Have an unusual skill that isn't much use in modern society
The ability to add calculations into Excel cells has, so far, never come to anyone's aid in a nightmare plucked from the mind of Bruegel. But here even the traditional fallback of having watched all the Die Hard flicks several times doesn't count a great deal.
What's far more likely to keep your heart beating inside your chest, and not in the fist of a former resident of a mausoleum, is being a crack shot with a crossbow. Hence the fortune of Daryl Dixon, whose stealthy hillbilly ways of catching dinner (and also the material for his wooing socks), have kept him alive thus far.
In short, either find out the number of your local archery club immediately or befriend a hillbilly.
2) Own a really good hat
Other than a shiny badge, the real perk of holding the office of sheriff is the dispensation to wear the most impressive hat in your jurisdiction. Rick Grimes' hat is easily the most authoritative titfer we've seen cope with the anguish of the living dead roaming the earth.
Yet this hat has, like its wearer, remained quietly dignified. Perhaps that's down to the influence of the hat on its wearer; perhaps it's the other way round. We don't know - we're not scientists. What we do know is that when all else has failed and there is horror beyond comprehension burning into your corneas, a splendid hat will see you right.
And even though Rick has now given his son, Carl, his hat, this selfless act only further confers respect on Rick, which is telegraphed to him wirelessly from his hat.
This hat rule is proven beyond all doubt by the death of Dale, who wore an uninspiring and apologetic floppy hat. Ocean Colour Scene and their accomplices should take note.
3) Don't think about what happened in George A. Romero films
There isn't time to debate the characters' decisions in movies of his like Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, or Come on, let's go to bed, all these dead people are bound to be gone by morning. Not when your next door neighbour is smashing through your French window, just like he did at last summer's barbecue, only this time it's not because of the punch.
4) Have a dodgy background that gives you a shot at redemption
As much as we might like the squirrel-skinning biker Daryl, there is the slight matter of what appears to be an SS motif on his bike. This allusion to an unsavoury past affords him the opportunity to atone for his past errors through his actions now - what sort of a person can he become when the world's been dumped in the blender?
So when the zombie apocalypse does arrive, remember that by ramming sharp objects into the heads of rabid cadavers, you can make up for those late library books.
5) Carry a tin and bottle opener
After all those precautions, you don't want to starve, do you?
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