Let’s hope ‘zombie’ doesn’t stick


by admin on November 4, 2009

The Editor,

May I comment on what I consider to have been a bumper issue of your paper on Oct. 28th?

Coverage of municipal elections was wide and deep, there were reams of other news, Letters were punchy, and the second installment of Mark Burgess’ steam train short series humanly interesting and rich in reflections.

On the last-named I have but one reservation, and that is the repeated use of the term “zombies” to describe train tourists in Wakefield.

In Banff, Alberta, once my home town, we used to refer to ski tourists as “Gorbies”, which may be a Cairo term to describe slum dwellers.  My brother John, a ski area manager, used to caution me not to use the term, as devaluing customers was poor business practice and humanly degrading.

The term “zombie” was used in Canada in WW II to describe men who claimed exemption from the draft for ethical or religious reasons, and it was not a compliment.   I sincerely hope that Burgess’ term doesn’t stick.   An old saying in prisons warned inmate cooks not to spit (or worse) in the soup, it might turn out to be part of their meal! Wakefield and Chelsea are nourished by tourism, so we would do well to remember this old prison saying.

Harry Gow

Co-president, Friends of the Steam Train