The three-headed hydra of apathy, envy and fear is calling.

When Apathy calls. The three-headed hydra has left you a special message.

“You’re fired.”

Let’s pretend your boss, a three-headed hydra of apathy, envy and fear, has left these two words on your voicemail.

What to do? If you live in the United States, you might think your federal government will help.

Once upon a time, our federal government was capable of doing great things. Medicare immediately comes to mind: the US invented single-payer, universal health care for 100% of folks over sixty-five. Brilliant. Yet today, waiting for federal actors to ensure your stability and to fix what is completely broken in fifty states may not be the best use of time. Time will tell, but I am not holding my breath under my bold blue face mask.

You and yours.

Back to you and that life-altering and soul-crushing phone message. Let us pretend you have kids in this perfect storm of joblessness tied up with a pandemic and economic free fall. You immediately have five survival needs.

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Medical care
  • Behavioral health care
  • Transportation

But wait. Life is not just about surviving. The American dream you were living is all about thriving. What might those services for thriving look like?

  • Parent supports
  • Early childhood learning programs
  • Fully-resources community schools
  • Youth mentors
  • Job training, transitioning and placement

As you frantically apply for unemployment, in this fantasy scenario, you find that you have time to catch up on some reading. And it only takes a few visits to the right websites to come to a sobering reality. In some areas, almost a third of parents with infants, children and teens report difficulty accessing the ten vital services to make it through a rough patch. And “difficulty” to a mom or dad really means “it’s impossible.”

Everything’s fine. Today.

Nightmare is over. You have a job. All is jolly and secure today. Take a sip of Joe and read on.

Here’s the deal. If disaster ever struck you, it won’t be the president helping you and your family members survive the month.

If you are feeling vulnerable as the world of secure jobs implodes and are holding out hope for a National Pandemic and Economic Disruption Recovery Plan I have four words for you: cruise line industry bailout.

The three-headed hydra, those power brokers in government, business and the mass media, would love to keep you distracted by those living and working in the White House and have you pay no attention to the state and local policies and programs that have the greatest impact on the quality of your life.

Heroes exist!

Your heroes will be your governor, state lawmakers, mayor, city council members and county commissioners.

The good news is that there are champions in the state capital and your city hall working to strengthen ten “surviving” and “thriving” sectors, ensuring access to ten user-friendly services for 100% of their residents.

Let’s get us all crisis-proof

I understand why state and local lawmakers with the power to ensure funding for vital services ask questions about supporting such services and how effective they are, or could be. These questions about the cost-benefit of investing in local services are very welcome.

What we all need to understand is that this unprecedented collision of crises turning our lives upside down is impacting the safety net that helps us through tough transitions.

As the three-headed hydras celebrate the disruptions, we have work to do. Join the movement to turn fear and chaos into compassion and stability.

The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.

Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Any questions? Visit:



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Dominic Cappello

A NY Times bestselling author, social justice activist, Oprah guest, co-author of Attack of the Three-Headed Hydras, 100% Community and Anna, Age Eight.