‘In Dreams Begin …’

We tried to take a selfie recently, my parents and I, with a copy of the book, Who We Lost, held in my hand. The book will be published on May 9, and an essay by me appears in it, which marks the first time something I wrote will be published in a book. We were all happy about it. My parents’ pride was palpable.

Each photo we tried to take with my phone presented a new variation on the same problem: my dad was somehow out of the frame each time. We all laughed at this, and then I woke up. Of course my dad cannot appear in a photo with a copy of a book in which his death from COVID on May 10, 2020, is the starting point to my essay in the book. (Spoiler alert, I guess.)

My psychological makeup is deeply literal, even in my dreamlife. “Logic” is one of the words in the phrase, “emotional logic,” after all, and even if I wish I could take a selfie with both of my parents again, I can’t. At the top is a photo of my parents, Bob and Rena, and me from 2017.
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Me and the Curve

My body, six feet tall and cartoonishly slim, resembles no known athlete’s body, which makes sense because it performs like no known athlete’s body.

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Major League Baseball opened its 2023 season today with a clock to govern the time between pitches, something that has not ever been used in baseball. Poets who were baseball fans were known to rhapsodize over the inner rhythms of an individual game and about baseball’s “timeless” qualities, but in recent years games took three-and-a-half hours to play, which is not at all timeless.

Today’s New York Yankees victory took two hours and thirty-three minutes to play, a full ninety minutes less than last year’s opening day performance. I think that the length of time it took to play a single game is a reason why it has been several years since I have watched a game from start to finish; three hours deep into almost anything I start to think about household chores I want to work on. Perhaps this season will see me watch a game again.

If you had told me when I was sixteen that I would live entire years without watching even an inning of a major league game, I probably would have asked you what had gone wrong in my life. I learned math, arithmetic, from the backs of baseball cards. I memorized famous players’ stats. I had a baseball card collection whose organization was maintained with an attentiveness that a librarian might envy. I wanted to be a baseball player, my lack of athletic skills be damned.
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Who We Lost and ‘Who We Lost’

An anthology of essays by individuals who lost loved ones to Covid, Who We Lost, edited by Martha Greenwald, will be published on May 9, 2023, by Belt Publishing. An essay that I wrote specifically for this volume is included. Order your copy now from the publisher and booksellers everywhere. (Support your independent bookseller!)

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After my father died of COVID-19 in May 2020, I have followed various groups online that advocate for those of us who lost loved ones in the ongoing pandemic and for those who advocate for justice as well as for preparation for the next pandemic, as there certainly will be one.

There are many memorial groups, more than I know of, I think. There is a movement to establish a national Covid memorial day for the victims, on the first Monday each March, which has attracted the support of senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and representatives including Greg Stanton. There is a design proposal and plan for a gasp-inducing and beautiful virtual Covid monument:

The most effective have been those that collect stories, those that ask us to look beyond the mind-numbing and sometimes overwhelming statistics and instead see that each number is a story of a full life cut short, those that invite us to meet and honor those we lost.
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