"Everybody thinks that zombies carry a virus that makes more zombies, but I think it's more like a prion," said a voice from the back of the car.
"Strange, but I don't think about zombies at all," I said.
"You aren't worried about a zombie apocalypse?" my over-imaginative kid asked.
"Let's just say that of all the ways an apocalypse could occur, a zombie invasion would be the least likely, statistically speaking. So, no, I'm not worried, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to stop you from completing your hypothesis on zombie infections... carry on, son.
"Well, even if it's not likely, it doesn't hurt to be prepared," he cautioned.
I rolled my eyes. "I wish you thought the same about a pop quiz in Geometry class."
While he digested that uncomfortable thought, I decided to open his rather narrow point of view.
"As long as we are talking about unlikely scenarios, why do you think nobody ever worries about a unicorn attack or a fairy take-over?"
"Probably because they're not scary," my son scoffed.
"Really? Are you saying that a flying horse with a giant horn sticking out the middle of his forehead isn't scary?"
It was his turn to roll his eyes. "Unicorns don't fly, Mom. Pegasus flies, but it doesn't have a horn."
Pushing the envelope, I suggested, "Maybe my unicorn has wings because it had a Pegasus mommy and a unicorn daddy."
"Oh brother. At least zombies are believable."
"My flying unicorns could wipe the floor with your zombies," I said. "You should be afraid. Be very afraid." I made a ghoulish face.
Silence finally reigned as this bit of ridiculousness was absorbed.
Minutes later he asked, "So why aren't unicorns called unihorns?"
"I don't know. I wasn't around when they made that call. Why don't you ask why we have names for things that don't exist?"
"Because it's fun to pretend they do exist," he insisted.
"What? Is it fun to imagine death and destruction at the hands -- and feet -- of out-of-control dead people that need to eat people's brains?"
Here is when logic flew right out the window.
"Well, they need to survive, don't they?" my soon-to-be Biology major asked.
"Unless I failed Zombie 101, I believe surviving means to stay alive, and they are clearly not alive, so what is the point of a rampage?"
Stepping firmly on the side of the rampaging zombies he said, "Think of it as a protest for the undead."
"What exactly are they protesting?"
"Being dead, I guess."
"Well, I guess I can't blame them for that, but you'd think they could find more constructive ways to protest. Maybe a sit-down strike at the local cemetery, or something."
"That would be good, but they'd still have to eat."
"True. And it's not like you could cater that event, huh?"
This, my dear readers, is how to build a solid relationship with your teenager. You merely have to learn to speak their language and put all thoughts of rationality and non-fiction aside.
Take a ride on the wild side: Have a conversation with your teenager.
Laura Snyder is a nationally syndicated columnist, author & speaker. You can reach Laura at firstname.lastname@example.org Or visit her website www.lauraonlife.com for more info.