The cable guy came by today. He was installing equipment. He waltzed inside to test our cable box. He wore boots and a tool belt and had prodigious tattoos on his forearms.
He removed my new remote from the plastic package. The television flickered to life.
The first thing we saw was a news channel. The text on the screen read: MASS SHOOTING.
The TV showed a subway platform filled with weeping New Yorkers. Some were limping. Some were crying. Others were bleeding. Police officers were everywhere.
Flashing blue lights. Sirens. Ambulances. Screaming. Badges. Stretchers. Crime-scene barricades. News cameras.
The news anchor appeared on the screen and spoke in an adrenal primetime voice:
“…In Brooklyn, a gunman in a gas mask and construction vest set off a smoke canister on a rush-hour subway train and then opened fire, shooting at least 10 people, at least 29 are believed to be injured or wounded… ”
The cable guy and I watched the madness within America’s most famous borough, happening 965.4 miles away from us.
The cable guy said, “My sister lives in Brooklyn, man.”
His mood changed completely. He quickly removed his phone and fired off a few texts. He told me he was texting his sister to see if she was okay. I told him I understood.
He waited for her text-responses, but none came.
He was anxious. The kid was supposed to be demonstrating the capabilities of my new cable box, but clearly his head wasn’t in it. And frankly, neither was mine.
“Are you from New York?” I asked.
“New Jersey,” he said. “But I have family and friends in Brooklyn.”
He kept scrolling channels. He landed on another news station. The correspondent was reporting from Ukraine. She was wearing a bullet proof vest.
“…Many, many bodies have been exhumed from the rubble on the outskirts of Kyiv, among the bodies was a Ukrainian soldier. Many others of the hundreds killed were civilians, including young children, elderly people, and…”
“What’s this world coming to,” the kid said.
He landed on a program featuring a televangelist, shouting at his congregation, spittle forming at the corners of his mouth. The preacher’s hair looked greasier than a gas station eggroll.
The Bible beater said something to the tune of:
“…For the time hath cometh that judgment must begin in the house of God! And if we, his children, hope to avoid the wrath of that terrible day, God asks only that ye shall buy my book for only four easy payments of $19.99, and ye shall…!”
The kid changed the channel. The young New Jerseyan checked his phone every couple seconds for an incoming text from his sis.
We landed on a channel featuring a bunch of angry people marching outside a courthouse, holding handmade signs, shouting slogans that were primarily comprised of cuss words.
We saw two young women clawing at each other, pulling each other’s hair, wearing swimwear so tiny their suits looked like strategically positioned bottle caps.
Flip, flip, flip.
Two politicians were doing the same thing, except their suits offered more coverage.
A news reporter said: “…This year, New York City has faced an outbreak of shootings and bloodshed, including on the subways. In January, one woman was pushed in front of a train by a stranger and was instantly…”
The cable guy said, “There’s so much hate in the world. What’s wrong with us?”
That’s when the kid stopped on a channel that ran a news story we both desperately needed to see.
“…Recently,” the reporter said, “a pancake fundraiser raised 6,500 dollars for the family of Jeremy Doroscha…”
The story was about Jeremy Doroscha, who lived in Eaton Township, Michigan. He was a farmer, a hot-air balloonist, father of three, and his smile was brilliant. About a month ago an explosion occurred at the 43-year-old’s house, throwing him from the home. The home went up in an inferno.
Immediately, Jeremy hobbled to his feet, suffering from second- and third-degree burns that covered 60 percent of his body. He limped inside the flaming house to save his 4-year-old daughter, Aubrey. Three days later, he died in a Grand Rapids hospital, and his daughter lives.
The screen showed Jeremy’s photo, holding his small blond daughter in his arms. It showed the child’s beautiful face, and the smile of a proud dad.
Finally the cable guy turned the television off.
We were both silent for a little while, thinking of Jeremy. And I felt my heart move sideways when I thought of the vast depth of love that exists inside a dad’s heart. Because even though sometimes it seems like humankind is always trying to deface, disfigure or demolish one another, then you have Jeremy Doroscha.
Then the cable guy’s phone dinged. He covered his mouth as he read an incoming text.
“My sister’s safe,” he announced. “Thank God.”
May God bless Brooklyn.
Scott - April 13, 2022 8:32 am
God bless us, everyone.
Jane Norman - April 13, 2022 8:35 am
As Mr. Roger’s Mom said ” Look for the helpers”. I say look for the heroes. I have turned off most of the news and do not keep updated on current events, though I have been a news junky until about 6 months ago. With the loss of my husband a couple years ago, I cannot tolerate too much sadness. I am focusing on those people I can help in my immediate world. This includes my grandchildren, my family members, my friends, my church, and my significant other. I am a Christian and have decided to leave the rest up to God. I do pray for our country and our world Evil does walk upright on this earth in human form. God bless us all!!!
Maggie Priestaf - April 13, 2022 10:10 am
Thank you, Sean. Yes, God bless Brooklyn. Our dear in-laws live there.
Sally Ann Sisson - April 13, 2022 11:43 am
I’m 70 years old, and never imagined I’d see all the inhumane things going on in this country now! It just breaks my heart, and I thank God every day I have my church family to renew my faith in mankind every week!
Shelton A. - April 13, 2022 12:06 pm
May we all have the courage and love of Mr. Doroscha. He saved his little girl and we can help save each other with kindness, compassion, loving our neighbor as ourselves. It all starts with loving God who loved us first. God bless and prayers for Brooklyn.
Suellen - April 13, 2022 12:35 pm
I haven’t watched much TV in years. We usually gather as a family and watch whatever is on PBS on Sunday evenings and that’s about it. Life is hard enough without bringing the world’s mayhem into our home every day. We ditched the cable/DISH years ago and have a Roku box and stream the channels that we’re interested in like MLB.
Phil (the Brown Marlin) - April 13, 2022 1:49 pm
Yes, Sean, you are right. And, in the words of Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol, “May God bless us, every one.”
Ruth Mitchell - April 13, 2022 2:04 pm
I just read an article about “target fixation” and learned that we naturally gravitate toward our point of focus. I wish our world would focus more on the Jeremys and less on the haters. One reason I love to read your essays each morning is that you steer me toward the Jeremys.
CHARALEEN WRIGHT - April 13, 2022 2:09 pm
Patricia Gibson - April 13, 2022 3:17 pm
May God bless Brooklyn and change the hearts of those filled with hate🙏🙏
Susie Flick - April 13, 2022 3:47 pm
In moments of dismay, you always help me have faith in humanity.
Linda Moon - April 13, 2022 5:27 pm
The television showed real life. What have we become? Please don’t answer…I’m not sure I want to know. But then I read about Jeremy Doroscha and was reminded that there are people like him who become what we all need to be: Givers for others. And the cable guy’s sister was given her LIFE back, thanks be to God! So, thank you once more, God, for the love and blessings I found in this Post.
Jan - April 13, 2022 5:39 pm
Started my morning with the story of the 3 year old little girl who fell into the water in a waterfall in South Carolina and was swept to her death as her parents tried frantically to save her followed by the column about 24 year old Ukrainian woman “Sasha” who was killed while working to bring the news about the war in her country to the world. My morning began with such sadness and unfortunately it is all around our world. However, there are moments of joy and thanksgiving as well. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder to find the joy!
Lisa - April 13, 2022 7:16 pm
You made me cry. I’m tired of all the hate and even more tired of the politicians who use it to get elected.
MAM - April 13, 2022 7:53 pm
We have no TV and when I read stories like this, I’m even more grateful. I was almost hoping that you would end the story by saying you decided not to get cable, so I was disappointed that’s not the way it ended, but I’m happy for Jeremy’s daughter and for the cable guy’s sister. Thank you, Sean, for always bringing us the good news of the day.
Karen Holderman - April 13, 2022 7:55 pm
I watch very little news these days. I read the newspaper but not entire articles. The media is so pumped with presenting the worst in humanity and saves a few minutes at the end to share some heartwarming story. I look for what I feel is the real America. Most folks get up each day and lead decent and caring lives.
Melanie - April 14, 2022 1:34 pm
Remember the old bumper stickers “Shoot Your Television”…?
Kathy - April 14, 2022 8:36 pm
Amen. Lord, please protect those people, including the shooter.