I’m what you might call a selective consumer of news. I like stories that make me feel better about my flaws and foibles, that buttress my skewed and even irresponsible but terribly comfy world view. For example, I skim right over articles that beat the tired old “you should exercise” drum. But I memorize whole paragraphs of stories about people who got hurt or died while exercising, proving once and for all that no good comes from needless sweating, which is just as I suspected.
See how this works?
I eschew news reports about people who’ve failed in life because their parents were divorced or worked outside the home or fed them carbs. Feh, who needs the guilt? I’m always on the lookout for tales that justify my lazy parenting — but the dang things are hard to come by.
Or at least they were until Nicholas Joy whooshed into the spotlight last week. The Massachusetts teen became lost in the Maine wilderness while on a ski trip with his dad and was found by rescuers two days later — cold and hungry but otherwise utterly unscathed. How did the 17-year-old manage to survive two full nights in a blinding snowstorm with strong winds, temperatures in the low teens, and nothing but the clothes he was wearing?
By using skills he learned from watching TV.