Orange Rhymes With: Television zombie creeps into real life

ORWThey’re all around me — lurking in the shadows, following me on the street, groaning softly as they shuffle mindlessly from class to class. I can feel them even now, their bloodshot eyes watching me hungrily as I write what may be my last column.

I’m talking, of course, about the zombies.

Let me back up. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a bit of a TV junkie. It’s not uncommon to see me stumbling through the shelves at Blockbuster, jonesing for my fix. Netflix has even placed me on some sort of watch list for abusing their services and hogging all the bandwidth on campus. My addiction reached a new low this summer as I finished the final episode of “Lost” and discovered a massive island-shaped hole in my life.

It’s been dark, guys. I’m barely hanging on and I’m coping by hiding less than subtle “Lost” references in every column I’ve ever written. Seriously, go back and check; my insanity is pretty plain to see. But finally, after months of horrifying television withdrawals I’ve finally found my new drug: “The Walking Dead.”

For those of you who don’t know, it’s basically “Lost” with 90 percent more zombies and 100 percent less polar bears. For those who don’t understand that comparison because you’ve never seen “Lost,” I can’t help you.

I’m actually a little late to the zombie party, evidenced by the show being three seasons deep, but this just gave me an excuse to embark on a horrifying binge. My life ground to a screeching halt this weekend as I feverishly devoured every single episode the Internet had to offer.

I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep. My contacts super-glued themselves to my eyeballs as my body forgot how to blink. As the hours started flying by with the dizzying intensity of a jet turbine, I began to feel my sanity slipping. I would wake up in weird places, missing my phone and occasionally articles of clothing, with handfuls of ludicrous fan theories scrawled upon napkins.

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The show was everything I have been looking for: complex characters, unanswered questions and people complaining about Georgia. Through all the chaos and lack of sleep and after months of searching, I had found something to cure my addiction.

I had found finally found the solution. I had arrived at zombie nirvana.

And it worked for a while. For a brief weekend, I felt whole again. But soon the familiar questions came crashing back — questions like, “Why won’t the writers kill that guy off?” “How can I wait until the next season?” and the always terrifying “Wait, what day is it?!”

So the old sickness has come back with a vengeance. Only this time, instead of just seeing smoke monsters and polar bears at every turn, I’m also seeing zombies.

Guy who refuses to shower in my economics class? Zombie. Roommates who haven’t been seen in months? Zombies. Haggard engineering students frantically rethinking their degree path? Zom — well, you get the idea.

The point is that I’m seeing them all around me. Yesterday was laundry day, and I spent my time mapping out the nearest exits in case of an attack. I even envisioned using a fire extinguisher to repel the masses.

Even as I sit in front of the TV, non-blinking and grunting in pain as I see my favorite character eviscerated by a hoard of the undead, I realize that even I’m turning into one of them. My irrational thirst for television is beginning to resemble their insatiable need for brains, and I’ve begun slowly shuffling from room to room to avoid waking my roommates during my 4 a.m. zombie marathon.

The worst has finally happened. Somewhere in the torrential downpour of Netflix streaming, I must have been bitten. I fear I may not last long enough to complete my finals, or more importantly, finish the third season of “The Walking Dead.” My time is short, and I can feel my concentration slipping away with every subsequent episode.

On an unrelated note, it may be time to consider getting some sl