My dad liked Mike Wallace and the "60-Minutes" T.V. show, so one Christmas I sent for a signed photo of Mike and he sent one back, mistakenly signed to me. Luckily my name wiped off with a touch of spit on the finger and I replaced it with dad's name. Dad liked Walter Cronkite quite a lot too. The fact that dad liked those guys never got in the way of him taking what they had to report to heart.
When Richard Nixon was lying like a rug, dad kept right on living. When Jimmy Carter's gas shortage commenced, what did dad do, he kept right on living. When the report about Chernobyl was being aired, dad understood it and felt concerned, but once a commercial came on, the disaster was gone from his mind.
When NASA was getting the job done and being covered accordingly, dad was certainly thrilled and in awe of the men and women doing the work, but away from the tube, all spaceship thoughts slipped dad's mind.
The war, Vietnam, huge television coverage, every night it led the news, and my dad was a compassionate guy, so he must have had some earnest thoughts about it, but all I know is I can't remember him ever talking about it when it wasn't plastered on the tube.
I never heard dad complain of a headache either.
Change, is the word of the moment. Would laying off the news change us? Would we complain less about headaches and stress? Would we be less afraid of what we can't control in the first place? Would we be happier, skinnier, healthier, wiser and better rested? Would we be less inclined to complain when it was cloudy, or rainy, or icy? Would we hold the door for our neighbor without exception? Would we be more gracious, more full of sincere gratitude? Would we have more time to do the things that really matter like send thank-you notes, and clean the crumbs from behind the toaster?
You know what, I think laying off the news would change us, all for the better. Therefore I resolve to not friggin watch it anymore.
Of course to see what time the Church ham and bean supper is, or who's kid scored the winning goal in the hockey game, or what local teacher just won Teacher of the Year, you should keep turning to your local community newspaper. I'm all for that.
May you all flourish in 2009 and beyond.
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO or visit his website at www.thelogger.com