Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 4.21.19
Stanstead, Quebec


Disaster scenarios ranked by my chances of survival

Zombie Apocalypse

When the flesh-eating hoard inevitably swarms my home (hopefully, at first, making quick work of the neighbours who are always outside yelling and drinking and therefore easy prey), I stash myself in a virtually unfindable location, my small frame allowing me to squeeze into tight spaces and my years of playing hide-and-seek with the children informing me as to where those tight spaces are. Unfortunately, by this point my family has already been turned into zombies and they also know where those tight spaces are. And so I am discovered and eaten. Adding insult to mortal injury, also because of my small frame, I am dismissed as a mere appetizer by the zombie gourmands. Chance of survival: 64 percent

Active Shooter

Because of my keen communication and observation skills, I feel equipped to confront the shooter, who is not simply the embodiment of evil but a troubled human being. I make clear that I mean no harm and that I only want to talk. Reluctant at first, the shooter is nonetheless grateful to finally have someone who will listen to him. He begins to tell his tale of despair, becoming visibly less agitated through this act of verbal catharsis. Too bad my communication and observation skills are trumped by my unbridled narcissism as my mind begins to wonder whether the media will refer to me as 'a hero' or ;an unassuming hero.' Realizing that I am no longer paying attention, the shooter loses patience and dispatches me, leaving the world to mourn my tragic passing. Chance of survival: 53 percent

Climate Change -- Rising Seas

On relatively high land and in a rural environment, I feel confident about avoiding the impact of the rising sea levels that have wiped out coastal cities, rendered 30 percent of North America suddenly uninhabitable and put a real damper on seaside rock festivals. As the grid collapses and refugees make their way inland, I generously open my property to those seeking shelter. Recognizing all that is good in humankind, I propose that a communal ethos guide our co-existence, and we agree to share labour and food. Eventually, though, factionalism and a more Darwinian approach to survival emerges. Specifically, large, angry men force me out of my home (with humiliating ease due to my small frame). Without resources, I am compelled to wander this new savage land where I fail to meet anyone as magnanimous (or foolish) as I have been. Eventually, I die of exposure during a common June blizzard. My last thoughts are: 'So much for global warming.' Chance of survival: 44 percent

Climate Change – Global Warming 
The earth is scorched, water scarce, wildlife decimated along with the agricultural food supply. The economy has ground to a halt because the infrastructure can no longer withstand the blistering heat of the relentless sun. Governments have fallen, society has descended into anarchy. Only the nighttime offers relief from heat but, alas, not the constant violence. As for me, I am bludgeoned to death by a loved one who has heard me declare one too many times, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Chance of survival 42%.

Céline Dion Pandemic

While I have been vaccinated against Cline Dion, a particularly resistant strain of Céline Dion sweeps the globe, and before I know it, line Dion has entered my house. I suffer through chills, ;The Power of Love' and multiple wardrobe changes. Luckily, a strong immune system due to years of living with teenagers and their terrible music prevents me from fatally succumbing to Céline Dion. Unluckily, Céline Dion, thinking she is performing one of her Vegas dance numbers, crashes into me at the top of the stairs, sending my small frame hurtling downwards, where I suffer cranial trauma, fall into unconsciousness and die. My heart, it turns out, will not go on. Chance of survival: 27 percent

Carpenter Ants

I discover that carpenter ants have infiltrated the eaves of the house. What a disaster! During the inspection, I suffer a deep splinter in my index finger. Though I remove the splinter, it soon becomes infected. Due to my isolated, rural environment, health care is miles away, but I cannot get the car out of the driveway because high winds caused by climate change have knocked a tree down, blocking the exit, and I can't ask the neighbours to help because they’re drunk and also annoyed by the constant noise of Céline Dion. Instead, I simply hope the infection will go away. It doesn't; I die of carpenter ants and also embarrassment. Chance of survival: 24 percent