by Polar Levine 11/05/01 for popCULTmedia

This is too much to bear. Its just too much. After Sept. 11 my home town needs a lift. Its a time when civility is no longer just a yellow smiley face -- but an emotional lifeboat. Just the little stuff. New York has become the friendliest place on earth. Were actually getting proud of it.

Arizona -- remote and, well, arid -- doesnt feel the more discreet levels of our pain. Frankly, it doesnt feel American.

Mariano Rivera, one of the great artists of the past decade, accidently threw a baseball into the outfield. Maybe Arizona is in a different time zone from New York, but we are still part of the American Family as I see it. A dedicated New Yorker like Mariano, at a time like this, gets distracted by bigger things and throws the damn ball into the outfield instead of into Derek Jeters glove which is floating like a butterfly over second base. I completely get it. I couldnt withdraw cash from the ATM machine last week because my fingers, for the first time in years, forgot my secret number. My mind never memorized it so if my fingers forget, Im out of cash. And, for you crybabies out there -- I couldnt give little Shorty his lunch money. Also, like many downtowners, Ive developed this respiratory thing from the toxic fog down here still emenating from the rubble.

So you can clearly understand when a sensitive, emotionally vulnerable New Yorker like Rivera loses some finger memory at a crucial juncture. Do any of the Diamondbacks -- players or coaching staff -- offer to retreive the ball? No. They run and cheer like a bunch of screeching snot-dribbling children. Manager Bob Brenly could have stood up like a man of character, a mensch as they say in these parts, held his hands and head high and said, Hey guys, do-over. A do-over for America. It would have been the civilized thing to do. Mariano can clean the wax out of a fleas ear from 66 feet on a moments notice. Any time, anywhere. Just call him sometime and ask politely. Clearly, he can throw accurately to second base after picking up an easy grounder. Give the guy a break. Give Mayor Guiliani a break. Give freedom a break.

Its time we stop thinking of ourselves and start drawing together our resources and our better angels. I wont hear any of this wait till next year shit. They eat that up in Boston and Chicago where people are not so friendly.

Polar Levine
Editor popCULTmedia