Archive for December 20, 2007
As I sit here writing this, my father is in late-stage Alzheimer’s, my brother is in a hospital in New York, and my uncle is being buried in California.
My mother and I shared a moment a few days ago at the kitchen table. She’s worried sick about all of us, and rightly so. But her negative outlook is shaped by daily doses of bad news.
The local newspaper, which comes to our doorstep every morning, is not actually written in the city on its masthead. Most of the editing is actually done near New York City. The printing is done an hour north of town. The advertising staff is also out of town.
Most of the reporters work from home after last year’s buyout. The paper, despite its location in a state capital, does not maintain an office in the state capitol building. About the only person who writes anything substantial in the newsroom every day is the police reporter, confirming fresh crime stories with a police scanner and a telephone.
Local television news outlets, in more creative efforts to top each other, keep to their “if it bleeds it leads” ethic, and rarely give time to positive news. One extreme crime of depraved violence recently claimed the life of a member of the American field hockey community in suburban Philadelphia, and that story has even pushed Britney, Brangelina, Lindsey, and Natalee Holloway off the air.
Mom (and Dad, when he’s lucid) receive this barrage of negative messages every day, and it’s no wonder they’re sometimes afraid to even get off the front porch.
I know that my parents’ way of life is not as bad as portrayed in the news media. They’re in a good, safe neighborhood which has a vigilant neighborhood watch program, and there’s been only one serious crime in the neighborhood in the past 30 years — a cab driver was found shot in his front seat in the 1980s.
It’s my birthday today, and I know that my parents may not last until my next birthday in 2008. Much will be happening in the next year or two which will determine the way I live my life and administer this website.
I have faith that things will work out for the best. Even in the midst of bad news.