I recently found a channel on TV called ID: Investigate Discovery. This channel is devoted to true life stories of murder, kidnapping, child abductions… all those wonderful things that make us afraid to go out our front door. And I am somewhat ashamed to admit that it can be positively addictive.
I also located the Bio channel that runs much the same material but calls it a biography. It was under those auspices that I one day tuned in to a story about a Philadelphia mob figure with connections to my hometown of Atlantic City. I was more listening than watching when I heard a female voice emanating from the TV that struck some primeval chord in my soul. My head whipped around and sure enough, they were playing a tape from the 1950s of a woman from our neighborhood explaining to reporters that they should leave her alone, that her son was not the bad person they said he was, that he’d never kill anyone. In fact, he was a very, very bad person. But my parents didn’t let us find that out until we were grown.
The problem is just how addictive these stories can become. Actually, I don’t know which part is the more addictive… the stories and interviews themselves or the fact that people will actually go on TV and talk about these things in public. Either way, it creates the kind of programming that is hard to look at and hard to look away from in equal proportions.
I justify my habit by watching only while I clean birdcages and feed my flock every morning and evening. This adds up to more hours of viewing than I’d like to admit, even if much of it is viewed through the bars of the cage I’m scrubbing. Hey, don’t judge me. It’s either the ID Channel or the 500th rerun of some NCIS or CSI show. Since I can actually repeat the dialog on some of those reruns, I figure it’s healthier to tune in to ID.
Except one little problem keeps arising. After a steady diet of this, I find myself feeling grateful that I haven’t been kidnapped and buried alive or chopped up and left in a variety of places around the state and that I didn’t marry someone who turned out to be a serial rapist/killer/flimflam man. All those things that, if you watch these channels long enough, seem to be rampaging unchecked through the towns and cities of America, leaving one to wonder where it’s safe.
Of course, we all know on an intellectual level that this is not true and that these stories make it to TV exactly because they are the exception and not the rule. But still…
So I thought it was time to share something showing that people are still, at heart, nice, kind and compassionate. Here’s my friend Noe’s recent encounter with one very good person in Anchorage.
We stopped at noon to see a movie. We had some time to kill because our hotel paperwork wasn’t ready. Came out of the movie around 2:15pm and the car’s passenger window was shattered. Someone took my son’s computer, his 18th birthday present. He was really depressed because he had all his info on the computer and had been working on a highlights video of his basketball games since he got the computer last September.
A little later my son got a call while he was in another movie. Since he didn’t know the number, he never called it back. The person then called our house in Barrow and left his number saying he had my son’s computer. Turns out he is a nice older guy who said he bought it from someone but didn’t get the name. The thief never deleted anything before selling it. I gave the man the $300 he put out to buy the computer. He told me that when a friend finally opened it and he saw the basketball video and the photos of my son playing basketball he had tears in his eyes. He had played basketball at Butler University. I told him that was one of son’s favorite college team.
Hard to believe honest people still exist in this world.
Or maybe not so hard if you live in this great state.