I've been asked in the past why I choose to do this for a living. For someone who talks as much as I do, I find it curiously hard to articulate exactly what it is. I can only somewhat describe it by using the words of others. Most often, I use a quote from the high-wire artist Karl "The Great" Wallenda: "Life is on the wire. The rest is just waiting". There is also a passage in a poem by Robert Frost that resonates inside me as well:
Only where love and need are one
And the work is play for mortal stakes
Is the deed ever truly done
For Heaven and the future's sakes
It's days like today where you really get to find out if you're being honest with yourself. I lost today. After almost 5 hours of deliberation, a jury decided the State had proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. I lost a case I thought I had won. I lost a case that could have been won. And because I lost this case, a young man will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Why did I lose? I'm not really sure at this point. Many courtroom observers, including several with no need or inclination to curry favor with me said I tried an excellent case, that I "did all I could". But that can't be true. Because I lost. And if I'm going to keep doing this, I have to do better. I cannot lose cases that could have been won. I cannot accept that. Not when lives and futures are on the line.
There is no time to wallow. There may be time for a few drinks, but that's it. I know I am very good at this, but I'm still not good enough. "The game is play for mortal stakes". Those are still the stakes I have to play for--I cannot play a smaller game. But I cannot accept a loss. Cannot.