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To play or not to play-that is the question

Dear Prudence, By the time you receive this letter, it'll be Friday morning, and three whole days will have passed since I first saw those planes and choked on that rubble and shed those tears. Only you, with your infallible possession of tact and decorum, know when the appropriate time to stop the grieving and begin the healing will occur. You see, I've been struggling with that down here. Even Tuesday night, exhausted, frantic and slightly numb from a day's worth of Blitzer and Brokaw, I shifted my thoughts away from one of the worst days in our nation's history to the best of my own. Forgive me. Anyway, I imagined myself as a lot younger--around nine--playing hooky from Ms. Frost's class. My dad allowed me this freedom that April afternoon because it was Opening Day at Dodger Stadium. The perfect mow of the grass, the smell of hot dogs and peanuts, the conversation about the game with my pops--completely cliched, but still without question, one of the purest days of my life. So Wednesday morning I awoke to hear Giants' reliever Wayne Gomes confess, "The more I watched the news, the more scared I got and the more I started to realize how what we do for a living is so minimal compared to the greater scheme of things in life." For a second, I agreed with him. How couldn't I? It's human lives versus earned run averages. Then, and this is where I'm still searching for answers from you Prudence, I remembered how I felt at the ballpark that Opening Day, and all of a sudden I wasn't so sure anymore. Of course, this is just me, and I am a rabid sports fan, but what about the way other kids just like me felt the first time they heard Cobain's wail on Nevermind or beat their rival at chess? They say that baseball and music and whatever other "insignificant" passion we may have down here does not account for much in the face of such disaster, and I don't think that anybody can dispute that. However, what makes the casualty numbers so utterly impossible to swallow is the fact that every single digit represents a life of a human being who loved the Redskins or Led Zeppelin or poker night with the guys. These so-called trivialities defined personalities and endeared people to their hearts. These trifles are part of the equation that makes human life so damn precious. At some point, and personally I believe sooner than later, though you know best, I feel as if we survivors can prove our resolve to those bastards by showing them that they have stolen lives, but not a nation's sense of joy and camaraderie. In the coming days, I want to see what George and the Washington crew do next, I want to celebrate the heroism of the rescue workers in New York and Washington, I want to grieve with my countrymen over the most devastating event in my lifetime, and at the same time, but to a much lesser extent, I also want to see if my Dodgers can earn a spot in the National League playoffs. Believe me, Prudence, I am not being delusional here. Though I am only human, I do not believe that I am incapable of combining all those desires into my daily routine, and I do not think that they are that disparate. Dear Prudence, when will I see you smile again?


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