One of the perks about public speaking as much as I do is that I get to travel. And when I travel, I stay in hotels, which have intriguing things like “dial a beds” where you choose how hard or soft your mattress is, or three pillows creatively draped on king size beds. Who is the third pillow for, anyway?
But to me, the greatest luxury is the television. We chucked our TV a decade ago when I felt I was becoming too addicted to it. In a hotel, though, I can watch it guilt free. That’s when I like to catch up on things. And a few years ago I decided to sample the show CSI. Unfortunately, the episode being aired that night featured a woman traveling alone in a hotel room, only to discover a corpse under her bed.
Once I recovered from being scared silly, I reflected on how dark television had become. When I was young we watched WKRP in Cincinnatti, and Donny and Marie. I graduated to The Cosby Show, and Family Ties. And now children and preteens watch CSI, which depicts bodies being dissected in grisly detail, as stunningly beautiful police investigators discuss the myriad of fluids that may remain at the scene of the crime. No thank you.
Why has life grown so dark? Last week, while I was away speaking, I switched on the television only to catch this sentence: “Police believe the missing man may have been eaten by alligators.” Why did I have to know that? I really didn’t want that picture in my head, so I rapidly switched the box off, and that’s how it remained.
It seems like everything we see or hear in our media is negative. Whether it’s about the banking crisis or various elections or wars overseas, all is gloomy. We’re heading into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, if some pundits are to be believed, though personally I don’t think it will be that bad. What is worse, to me, is all the demonizing during the election campaigns. I hate campaign commercials that complain about a candidate without mentioning a single policy. If you want to criticize cutting taxes, or raising taxes, or abolishing taxes, fine. But don’t just say someone’s scary because they’ll ruin the economy, without elaborating. That’s just attacking and I hate it. And they’re at it south of the border, too, so we can’t escape it.
Media, and even elections, seem to be driven by fear. The bigger the crisis—or the bigger the alligator—the better. I guess negativity sells. Recently my husband and I decided to rent a movie, so I ventured to the video store to see what was new. One was a movie called Pigs, featuring college-aged men engaged in degrading behaviour. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t their target audience, but I couldn’t find any movies that would target me. Another offering was aptly titled Inside, since it featured a slasher cutting up bodies to reveal the innards. I turned around and walked out.
I am sick of negativity. I know the world isn’t perfect, but have you seen the leaves lately? They’re gorgeous. The sky is setting outside my window as I write this, and the orange is glowing, painting a warm light across the sky. It’s breathtaking. My children are chattering in the next room, and we’ve just eaten a great meal.
Sure my investments have lost value over the last two weeks, but that doesn’t mean they won’t go back up. And even if they don’t, I have two daughters who love me. We have clothes in our closet and food on the table. Do we really need more than that?
Much of the world is on the wrong track, so it’s no wonder everything is bleak. But ultimately that doesn’t matter. I’m happy living on the opposite side of the alligators and CSI. They can stay in their little corner; I’m going to live in mine. I’m going to enjoy my girls, munch some freshly picked apples, love my husband, and let everything else fade away. Who wants to join me?