Letters I've Been Meaning to Write
I took the time to sit down and compose my thoughts to a couple of people and personalities in the region.
Dear Jamie and Ali,
I looked at pictures of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, today. Tents as far as the eye can see. Rubble still piled high as if the earthquake just happened yesterday. Sadness an ever-present cloak upon the people. Pain everywhere.
Then, I looked at pictures of you with the orphans you have taken in since you returned home to Haiti in August. Perfect, beautiful babies with shining eyes, meticulously groomed hair, smiling faces glowing with health and love.
Having two children myself, I know what happens when you have an infant in the house. The infant reigns supreme. Whatever the infant wants, the infant gets. Whatever you do, you must keep the infant happy because if the infant isn’t happy, even the dog isn’t happy.
I know all about the spit-up and the foul diapers that could knock a buffalo to its knees. Late nights that turn into early mornings with nary a wink of sleep because the infant decided sleep is overrated and basically said, “Hey, Mom, look how long I can scream without needing to inhale.” I cherish those days, but at the same time, I am happy those days are over and that I don’t have to go through them again because the exhaustion was crippling at times.
You love those days. You willingly relive those days over and over again, giving unconditional love to babies that you adore as if they were your own.
What you’re doing is going to ripple outward forever, changing the fortunes of future generations of all the children in your care. That’s powerful and selfless, and it makes you completely worthy of the title of Pittsburghers of the Year.
Dear Steely McBeam,
If you’re reading this, you still exist. *sigh*
Dear Pittsburgh Pirates,
So last year was … historically awful: 105 losses. It would almost be comical if it weren’t so depressing. Honestly, I’ve lost count of the losing seasons. Is it 17 or 18 years now? Once you pass a decade-and-a-half, the years really start to run together into one long, seemingly ceaseless stretch of eternal hellfire and damnation.
This has to be the year. No simpler way to say it. Make it your motto. And hang it in the clubhouse: THIS HAS TO BE THE YEAR. Eat it. Sleep it. Pray it. This has got to be the year you become a respectable team again. Don’t worry about the playoffs. Don’t worry about the pennant. Just worry about this: Win one more game than you lose.
Dear Local News,
Please stop trying to scare us with these kind of promos: Could your hair dryer tell your refrigerator to kill you? or Is your toaster a death trap? or Tomorrow’s forecast—sunny and pleasant or a good chance of tornadoes and catastrophic destruction? Find out next!
The world is chock-full of legitimately scary things without your Chicken Little, your-cat-might-be-plotting-to-kill-you-in-your-sleep hyperbole. I mean, have you seen the Pirates’ most recent win-loss record or Steely McBeam’s dead eyes? That’s terrifying.
Dear Civic Arena,
Can I call you Civic Arena? I know you changed your name a long time ago, but it never stuck with me.
I’ve had some really great memories in and around your iconic dome. There were Ice Capades, circuses and the occasional Penguins game.
I also saw my first real concert as a teen—New Kids on the Block. Surrounded by spastic teenage girls decked out in jelly shoes and banana clips, their screams ringing in my ears, I saw Jordan Knight rip his shirt open, stunning me and prompting my jaw to drop. That image is burned into my brain just as permanently as the image of the palpable lusciousness of Jaromir Jagr’s early-’90s mullet.
It was in one of your parking lots that I stood just a foot from that mullet while Jagr autographed a scrap of paper I shoved at him before he could escape in his Trans Am. My first celebrity autograph—and you were the backdrop.
Every Pittsburgher has fond memories of you like that one, and it’s those memories that are going to ensure that you live on long, no matter what your fate may be.
Dear Parkway East,