Tombers is the President of Intermat,
Inc., a consulting practice that specializes in the intersection
of media, technology and marketing. For two years, he produced
the Emmys on the Web and supervised web related activities for
the Academy, including for the 50th Anniversary year of the
Emmy Awards. In addition to its consulting engagements, Intermat
recently sold METEORS TALE, an unpublished novel by Michael
ORourke, to Animal Planet for development as a television
movie. Visit his
web site at http://www.intermat.tv
Epiphanies do not come cheaply
Main Entry: epiph·a·ny
Inflected Form(s): plural -nies
Etymology: Middle English epiphanie, from Middle French, from
Late Latin epiphania, from Late Greek, plural, probably alteration
of Greek epiphaneia appearance, manifestation, from epiphainein
to manifest, from epi- + phainein to show -- more at FANCY
Date: 14th century
1 capitalized : January 6 observed as a church festival in
commemoration of the coming of the Magi as the first manifestation
of Christ to the Gentiles or in the Eastern Church in commemoration
of the baptism of Christ
2 : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine
3 a (1) : a usually sudden manifestation or perception of
the essential nature or meaning of something (2) : an intuitive
grasp of reality through something (as an event) usually simple
and striking (3) : an illuminating discovery b : a revealing
scene or moment
I went to Mr. Jeeves this morning and asked him for the definition
of epiphany. I wanted to make sure that I had it right. You
see, I have realized these last two weeks I have been waiting
for an epiphany, of the kind defined in 3, as in: an intuitive
grasp of reality or an illuminating discovery.
In the week preceding and in the week following the anniversary
of 9/11, I now realize that I thought it would all come together
in some way, that I would have a visceral understanding of
the meaning of this event, that what has befuddled me for
a year would become clear. I would have an epiphany.
But I havent. Its not that I havent been
open for the bright light to come along, to have that Saul
on the road to Tarsus sort of moment. But it hasnt come.
I have not had a moment that has made the events of the last
year come together in some clarity that allows me to both
understand and comprehend the events, all the things I have
experienced and witnessed and lived through and continue to
When I woke this morning the first thing that hit my computer
screen when I powered up was notice that President Bush is
putting us on notice that he wants the permission to do what
once seemed unthinkable: have another war with Iraq, with
or without our allies and with or without the permission of
Our world has become surreal in the last year.
I have taken to walking down to Ground Zero late at night,
after the crowds are gone and after, thankfully, the vendors
have left with their t-shirts and books, videos and odd mementos
[the oddest that I have heard about but have not seen is a
model of the Trade Center Towers with a plane on a wire that
can go bouncing into them].
In the quiet, the surrounding dark, the brilliant lights burning
on the hole and the damaged surrounding buildings standing
ghostlike, in those moments I know in my gut what has happened
and that the world is forever different. It is very real down
there, in the night.
And it is real in everything that surrounds me. The battered
sphere from the Trade Center Plaza stands in Battery Park
with an eternal flame now burning. It is real in the frightening
drumbeats of war that fill the papers and real in the better
understanding all of us have of terror in Israel and Palestine.
It is real in the arrests of the Lackawanna Six, up near Buffalo.
It is real in long and tedious delays at the airports and
the additional anxiety in flying. It is real in the general
dis-ease of the city and it is real in the ways we still can
be gentle with one another, helpful in ways we might not have
been before. It is real in city officials suggesting contents
for a back pack to keep ready when we have to evacuate again.
It is real in that back pack sits beneath my desk, waiting.
It is real and it is surreal, all at the same time. All last
week I now realized that I was waiting for that moment when
I would go: Ah-ha! Now I get it. But that moment
hasnt come and may never come. I will go through my
life, like all the other citizens of this city, going on with
my life and constantly absorbing and adjusting to the subtle
and not so subtle ways that we as a city, as a nation and
as a world, are different.