Zombies, like mixed-metaphors, are horrific and should only be seen in moderation.

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October in Nevada brings change. Weather gets cooler. Leaves turn color. Politics get hotter. Language turns into rhetoric. People turn into zombies. Zombies, like mixed-metaphors, are horrific and should only be seen in moderation.

Zombies are fine on the silver (or the bit-streaming) screen. Zombies are fine on Halloween. It’s the zombies wrapped in political rhetoric that make me scream. In the spirit of the season, I shall demonstrate.

My current offenders are from well-funded bread and circuses and come mixed complete with mudslinging, character assassination, astroturfing and even the sacrificing of the sacred cow.

Whether the political party serves tea, coffee, wine or whisky, I believe Nevadans have traditionally favored the flavor of liberty with a splash of rugged individualism. We understand the dangers of indulging in excess and refrain from spending past our means. We realize liberty comes with a measure of responsibility.

It’s when we indulge in any particular righteous judgment in excess that we start to lose our perspective. Our judgment becomes impaired. We start to turn into zombies.

Not all Nevadans turn into slow-moving, myopic representatives of any particular political party. Most of us imbibe in party politics in moderation.  We tend to stay sober and seek leadership in the individual who will serve our interests as a community the best. This year, however, the trend is to binge and purge.

It’s those people drunk with righteous judgments that scare me the most this year.

Those who refuse to accept diversity in thought, race and religion. Those who refuse to open dialogue without campaigning. Those that stagger out of political parties, who have indulged in excess and wander the world consumed with conversion of the masses.

The scariest of all are those who seemingly trade their humanity for the sponsorship of hope. These people marketing red or blue ring my doorbell. They mail me propaganda. They send robocalls with abandon.  They network with me socially.

Whether battle born or living out of a carpet bag, we need to strip off the ideals of a lame-duck generation and broaden our focus. Then we can stop bumping into walls and tripping over the obvious. Why?

Zombies, like mixed-metaphors, are horrific and should only be seen in moderation.

“Oh, Tomatoes!”

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One of my worst nightmares came to fruition this week. I couldn’t speak. It was if my brain turned to mush like a ripe tomato where the skin looks okay but add a little pressure and the once firm, chambered sweetness simply collapses into unrecognizable pulp. 

This may not sound too appalling. I’m sure many people experience times when their brain and tongue become inexplicably inexplicable. Surely, you ponder, this is not a condition to exaggerate into a nightmare?! 

Surely, yes!  Why? I communicate for a living. 

The scary part was the timing for this oral degradation. It occurred at a conference for people who communicate for a living. It happened amongst a grouping of professional communicators. It happened at workshop for people who purvey information—to many an audience—with clarity. Like them, I am expected to communicate effectively. And I can. I do.

The nightmare was that I couldn’t. Not only attending the workshop in an effort to improve my communications skills, I was there to speak about how to communicate effectively. 

An ugly shade of night, my fear bloomed in my darkest hour. Simply imagine that you could speak, but for whatever reason, you could not be heard. Yikes. 

Speaking is not the same as talking. This week I could talk. My tongue worked. I even exchanged pleasantries with others as necessary. However, for the life of me, I could not use the English language with any fluency. My mind churned. My eyes fogged. My ears buzzed. And my tongue lolled. I was tongue-tied, speechless, incoherent, and definitely inarticulate. In essence, I could not speak. 

Sure, I could blame the red-eye flight across the country and the extra Motrin PM taken for the resulting weariness and backache. That would be easy.  

No, this affect germinated years ago, generations back—a cultural heirloom, if you will. Now, while I cannot expose the roots of my tale, I can only reveal that I have struggled with this condition for years. A disabling condition since childhood, I have developed many coping skills to increase my survival among the more fit. This week, however, any testimony to these skills simply lacked evidence. 

For those in attendance, I can only offer these words—posted—for all to read. While I do listen, just remember that I scream “Oh, tomatoes!” daily.

-Steph 

Sent from my iPad