Sunday, June 26, 2016

174. Pets

It’s become a chore to follow the news. Everything seems so heavy lately: a presidential election, the Brexit, shootings, more Trump. It’s just exhausting to keep up with it all. It’s even more exhausting to read it, process it, see other’s opinions on it, process those opinions, and then go along with your day. I just want to press pause most days.

I get the print Sunday New York Times. They have lots of good stuff. I like their longer pieces, the magazine, and some of the columns inside. It usually takes me a whole week to get through it all, but I at least try and make it through the front section and the sports section on Sunday mornings.

The news all seemed heavy, yet again. There were five pieces on the Brexit, a two page spread on the privatization of emergency services. The standard Trump sludge. There was a story on how the demand for charcoal is accelerating deforestation in Madagascar and about a new giant man-made ark in Kentucky. I worked my way through it over three cups of coffee.

I finally made my way to the New York section. I don’t always read it because sometimes it’s a bit too #NYCproblems for me. (Meaning, I really don’t care about it.) And then I saw one titled “School’s Out for the Animals, Too”. I saved it for last, thinking it was some fluff (no pun intended) piece that would be a little too cutesy for my taste.

I was wrong. I loved it. The following graf made me chuckle. I had to read it out it was so funny.
“And in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, 8-year-old Charlie Mitkowski has started his new job as summer custodian of the Brooklyn Apple Academy’s two resident gerbils.”  

The piece was largely about how kids deal with animals in the classrooms. I liked that the piece touched on the fact that animals do a lot of things that elementary school kids don’t have much knowledge of yet: copulate, give birth, die, etc. Yet, the teachers didn’t hide those things from the kids. They allowed them to see it up close and experience it. The experiences weren’t sanitized.

I like positive news stories, but there can be a backlash to them and they can get too fluffly (i.e. upworthy.) I don’t like to be hit over the head with the positivity. I like to read it and experience the positive stuff myself.  

Things can be nice, sweet, and pleasent without us being told that they are nice, sweet, and pleasant. That’s what I worry about with the internet-centric culture. There are plenty of prognosticators who deal in telling us how to think and feel about a certain topic. We can’t just enjoy things without their being an opinion on them. (I’m sure someone has an opinion on this article, but I didn’t read it online.) - (Update: I read the comments. They're awful. Damnit.)

So, moral of the story, just enjoy things and let them be sometimes. And, good luck Charlie.  

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