Letters to the Ethical Spectacle

I have been volunteering all summer at a diamondback terrapin project in Jamaica Bay. Terrapins are turtles which live in brackish water and only come up on shore to lay eggs. In the seventies, I used to see tubs of them for sale as food in Chinese markets. They nest on protected soil in the Jamaica Bay preserve but almost all of the eggs are dug up and devoured by raccoons.

In my half day each week with the project, I scout the beaches, dunes and sandy paths of the preserve looking for turtles who are laying their eggs. Once they have finished, I catch the turtle and mark the nest. We measure the turtle and inject a tiny microchip under her skin, then release her into the ocean. We go back to the nest, dig up the eggs, count and weigh them, and re-bury them in the same place. Then I place a metal screen over the site and hammer in stakes with a mallet, to protect the eggs from the raccoons.

The morning I found my first nest, I had worked overnight on an ambulance the night before, then had about an hour's sleep. At two in the morning, I worked a cardiac arrest: a 65 year old man with a sympathetic, peaceful face lay dead on the floor of a cluttered apartment. We did CPR on him for one hour but didn't bring him back. At ten, I was watching a terrapin lay her eggs in a sandy area right off the beach. I waited too long, until she had concealed the nest so well I had trouble finding it. I dug ten holes in an area about four feet square until finally I held an egg in my hand. The sun was shining on me and a breeze was blowing off the bay, the kind that makes you want to pull it as deeply into your lungs as possible, as if you could double or triple their size just to breathe in the salt air.

I could take you on a walk through the preserve and show you every nest I protected. A raccoon better be one tough hombre to try to mess with my eggs. I love the idea that this fall there will be a few hundred tiny points of consciousness, furiously swimming in the ocean, who are alive because of me.

Jonathan Wallace jw@bway.net

Dear Mr. Wallace:

I simply wanted to thank you for the article you wrote on Desire. I'm in the process of mourning for my own labrynthic desire which has taken me through incredible lengths of effort, dreams, and despair.

I found your page by searching the phrase "I wanted a linear life", since it somehow encircles the path I've been walking for the past 17 years. Your article proved to be a kindred mirror, and an useful peek into "life outside desire", as well as a much needed proof of its existence.

Je vous remercie de coeur.


Dear Mr. Wallace:

Re The Internet Bubble:

You are absolutely, 100% brilliant! The article is well-written, cogent, concise, insightful, entertaining, shall I go on? I went through much of what you described and am still recovering after losing everything but my family, which was briefly touch and go, too.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. With your skills and experience, I'm sure you're knee-deep in something even as I write this. Me? I'm getting completely out of the tech sector - I've had my fill of head-down programming jobs, trading my time for (very few) dollars. I guess the good news is that I've regained all of the humility I lost as a CEO/Grand Poobah!

Onward! Darin

Dear Mr. Wallace:

In your essay A Lying Sack of Government, you wrote:

"Olson at least knew what had happened to Barbara immediately. Did he stop to imagine what he would have felt like if it had taken him years to get the truth about her death, because our government (shielding an ally) had chosen to mislead him?"

The statement above is hypothetical. Chances are that Barbara Olson is very much alive...at least having lived though Flight 77. Had she been confused or obedient enough to be one of the passengers later put on flight 93 I will retract my statement as those passengers were killed. There were a lot of things going on that day our Jihad minded hijackers wearing red bandanas had nothing to do with. BTW why red and not green? Has Ted ever decided on which story to stick with as far as the phone calls? Cell Phone or Air Phone calls? Cell Phones don't work that well in Airplanes in the described flight paths at the described speeds.

I'm telling you this because you know how Ted feels about the truth.

Not sure when this whole story will brake? Hopefully soon and by someone more educated, articulate and credible than myself. Hint!!!