Channel Surfing

Clutching a glass full of club soda – and maybe a tiny shot of Bombay Sapphire, I nestled into my easy chair and commenced my Sunday afternoon ritual. It’s amazing how much programming I can bang out of my new cable TV Deal – 2500 channels all for just $10,000 a month, the deed to my house, and my first born child’s soul.

Grasping the remote control like a Star Trek phaser, I came to Channel 51 and “Batman.” As this famous caped crusader utility-belted his way out of another sticky situation, I was engrossed. Oof!  Smash!  Pow!  The Joker was finished. Batman strolled off, leaving the dazzled Gotham City police to pick up the rubble. He was bigger than life, a hero.


Batman overlooking Gotham City – a hero

I switched to Channel 72 and some ranting TV evangelist orating to his spellbound audience. When he said, “Shout to the Lord,” they screamed to the ceiling in unison. When he said, “Reach out your hands to God,” it was as if the Almighty was handing out Lindt chocolate truffles.

I sat in my chair doubting the message, but believing the method. These people belonged to him. He was their compass to heaven, their road map to paradise, their hero.

Switch to Channel 215. The pitcher strode to the mound with the power and grace of a stately lion, grasped the defenseless baseball, and fired an icy stare toward home plate. His first pitch exploded into the catcher’s mitt for strike one. The second strike curved toward the inside corner by way of Tokyo.

Now, it was time for the heat, the number one, the wind-breaking, dream-shattering fastball. He kicked his leg high into the sky and returned it to earth with the thud of a fallen redwood.  In a moment, the batter was gone, the game was over, and the pitcher had become the hero.

I flipped to Channel 346 where a movie actor was receiving a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Cast in concrete between Lassie and Rin Tin Tin, the star would be remembered, loved, and I suppose, licked forever – an immortal, a hero.

A Real Hero

I had my fill of heroes, and gin and soda, but clicked on Channel 848 for a little golf action. It was early evening now and the tournament was coming to an end.

I stared at the screen and watched as the winning golfer, surrounded by his admiring fans and media, was handed an enormous trophy and a large-sized check. Great, I thought, another hollow exercise in hero worship.

At that moment, my attention was taken by a kid in a wheelchair. He sat there smiling at the champion and staring in awe at his shiny trophies. The young golfer suddenly left his adoring throng, walked over to the kid, and started a conversation.

The youngster beamed as the golfer made him laugh and posed for photos. There were no commercials interrupting my gaze and no remote control to change what I was seeing, only a man who, perhaps unwittingly, was turning darkness into light. He handed the kid his trophy, then gave his tournament check to the hospital attendants accompanying the kid.

In this stillness and tranquility, I saw more clearly. With a click of a button, I could pass this golfer by, but his grand gesture would go on helping, soothing, and healing those who needed it most. Reality – a hero.

John Molori is an author and columnist for numerous publications. Like him on Facebook at John Molori, Twitter @MoloriMedia. Email molorimedia@gmail.com.