It takes all kinds

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Most of the time, viewers watch television just to pass the time, which is why some TV people obligingly give them forgettable viewing fare.

Once in a bracing while, however, unusual shows or features make us sit up and pay attention, like these recent encounters on the tube:

First off, we were moved and inspired last week by the story of a cop in the States who used his own money to buy a pair of boots for a man who was not just homeless, but also shoeless! The policeman with the golden heart inspired many viewers to be similarly cognizant of the dire needs of the people they meet, and their power to provide not just sympathy, but real solutions to poor folks’ problems.

That insight was important, but a subsequent report the following day complicated the story, and forced viewers to see the situation in another, even more challenging light: Alas, after he was gifted with the pair of boots, the homeless man—up and sold it! Obviously, he was grateful to the kind policeman for his much-needed gift, but he preferred cash!

The “complicating” turn of events unexpectedly transformed the story from a heartwarming and inspiring tale that tugged at the heartstrings—into a much more complex “case study” of the challenging realities of life.

Some viewers would criticize the homeless man for being ungrateful, while others would point out that the need for food is more pressing than the need for warmth.

More cynical people would even question what the man did with the money he got from the sale of the boots. Did he spend it on food, or on drink or drugs? We may never know, but the now complicated tale has acquired a polarizing power that effectively separates the “realists” from the “cockeyed optimists” among us.

Despite the cynical turn of events, however, we shouldn’t forget that the cop’s initial impulse was pure and selfless, regardless of the recipient’s subsequent reaction.

It’s easy to conclude that (some) people don’t “deserve” to be helped, but the act of helping itself remains a beacon of inspiring light in the dark and cynical winters of our lives.

‘Cuddling’ service

Our second unusual encounter on the tube last week involved a woman who has found a new way to make money: She provides a “cuddling” service, for a fee ($60 an hour)!

How did she get to this profitable “A-ha!” moment? She noted that some people these days feel sad and lonely, and need emotional support and encouragement. If their friends and loved ones can’t or don’t want to give it, why not resort to a suitable “specialist,” or “service provider?”

Of course, some people have rapped the creative “professional cuddler” for being a “sort of” prostitute, but she swears that she makes sure that absolutely no sex is involved during the hour-long, hands-off encounter. We’ll take her word for it—and, it really does take all kinds!

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