The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Senior Momentum - July 2016 - Zoë Tummillo


Reaching Out Means Reaching In

by Zoe Tummillo

Come on. You know what I mean. There are terrible ironies in motion. The “trite-of-the-moment” just doesn’t have legs anymore. Persecution is old, old, old – and dependably current. The only things new are freshly distorted rationales, terrible efficiency, frightening acceleration and the broader and much more subtle legitimization of hate. Ho hum, you say? OK. I get it. 

But. Have you noticed that complacency is reaching heights too bizarre to be real? But, real it is, I think; and its grip defies adjectives. There’s big, big trouble in River City.

Just like when I was very young, each era declares its horrors to be the worst, the end all, be all. Nevertheless, year after year, we seem to persist at matching and exceeding our capacity for atrocity! We seem destructively tolerant – when we need to be outraged – with those who block steps, large or small, that might contribute to prevention! 

Numbers seem to distort into confused priorities and twisted values. Less becomes more (and more powerful) – so different from the concept of thousands that once held shock value. The thousands+ of Vietnam, the 3000+ of the Towers seem outmaneuvered now by 50’s here, 250’s there, or 1 tiny person in the jaws of an alligator. Atrocity just doesn’t feel as atrocious as it used to! Small-number horrors continue to pile up. And, off to the side, it’s OK to elevate stupidity and denial to incredible heights by obsolete reasoning paradigms and flawed, tired old legislators.

So many of our representatives with dull, sullen faces seem void of morality as they mumble guarded doubts -- delaying, denying and waiting for cues... It’s obviously pointless to ask what – exactly -- it would take for them to muster a backbone or dabble, just a bit, in the decency and “conscience” of performance we expected. 

“Panic” seems to have strangely tempered and become a still and hovering thing. We seem to have embraced and slowly accepted it. And so redefined, it smothers hope. Of course, if you are one of the chosen, are on the front lines, smelling the gunfire and the fear, slipping in the blood or cowering in a bathroom stall while bullets reach you from over the door-top – well, resignation and hopelessness just might set in. (Unless you die and are no longer troubled by all of it; and no longer annoy some twisted freak...) 

What isn’t someone’s prey these days? When expecting untimely death becomes a given, and holds a place alongside the weekend plans for a hike or a ballgame, it’s damn hard to sell hope...

Are we capable now of only reacting? Are we truly so deeply in denial and misinformation that we believe in the inevitability of permanent negative inertia? Are we so stunned that we have a new, distorted relationship with gravity – where down is now up, where a fool holds common sense hostage, and inspires thundering cheers for ignorance and vulgarity? 

Thank the powers that be for freedom of speech! How else could arrogant, self-styled bullies reveal themselves so eloquently? Don’t silence them! Don’t turn off the mic – because we better listen up!

Before we reach out pointing the finger, better reach inside. Where did you or I help this travesty along? What thing or small non-action did I tell myself would not matter – but that matters greatly? Have we unwittingly insulated ourselves from certain realities (inch by inch) by, for instance, depersonalizing our votes with postage stamps? Have we coerced our grip on actual relating through the seduction of electronics? Are we trading authenticity for Tweets, Faces and anonymous Send keys? Are we constantly bitching-and-moaning but never really participating by holding some elected feet to the fire? Etc?

When we were young our Mother used to throw up her hands in frustration and say: “Dio mio! Is nothing sacred anymore?” (It was usually pretty innocuous -- about skirts getting shorter, kids using swear words or someone not respecting the National Anthem or the sight of our Flag.) 

 Well, Mom’s gone, and we’re no longer kids... Is nothing sacred anymore?

Zoë Tummillo is a Business & Marketing Consultant, Trainer, Commercial Writer, dba COMMUNICATION CONCEPTS, in private practice since 1974. In addition to Commercial work, she writes “Senior Momentum: A Series of Situations”; “Pieces of My Path”©, essay memoirs of growing up first generation Italian American; and Senior Momentum: Front And Center!©. To contact her: email: