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There’s a big plane sitting in the water off Battery Park. It took off from La Guardia yesterday, blew out both engines hitting a flock of geese, and made an emergency landing in the Hudson River. And, oh yeah, all one hundred and fifty-five people on board survived.

This is, of course, already old news. As incapable as I seem to be at watching an entire television news broadcast, I just left the set on last night. Some shred of internal optimist was miraculously lifted to my surface and sustained. Here was a story so solidly uplifting, even the local broadcast haircuts couldn’t ruin it. It could have done with about seventy-five percent less commentary as the images played,  but the content of the story was literally un-spoilable. My favorite shot was the woman being escorted on a rescue boat, literally minutes after defying death, doing a little jump with both hands in the air. Here she was, freshly wrapped in a Red Cross blanket, having just been procured from an airplane wing suspended precariously above icy, polluted waters on the coldest day of the year. The coldest day of the year in New York. And she has the presence of mind to celebrate and do a little dance at that exact moment with the cameras on her. I’m sure a lot of these people will experience various emotions moving forward from here, but I’d like to send out a select thanks to that lady. I don’t normally say this with any kind of conviction, but her reflexive, appropriate response really made my day.

But on to the headliner – Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III. Are you kidding me? The third ? The photo of this guy looks straight out of central casting for an episode of Fantasy Island where Mr. Roarke greets the dashing, mature fighter pilot who flew forty-three heroic missions but never found true love. Forget the fact that this guy pulled off a feat of skill and timing akin to three consecutive stolen passes and half court three-pointers while down by eight in the final game. Forget that he was, in fact, a fighter pilot, runs his own business on safety management, and holds a BS in psychology. (“Let’s see .. I’ve got to pick one guy to be behind the controls in the event of a freak, potentially disastrous occurrence..”) Forget that, this information age being what it is, we’ll likely eventually hear about his foibles. ( Hero Pilot Berated Daughter In Recorded Voice Message ) I’d like to take a moment to thank him, selfishly, for not allowing one person to die in this event. Think about that – not even a fatal heart attack. Had just one person not lived to tell this tale, the entire “feel good” element of this story would be shot. Sure, it would still be a miracle and an unbelievably fortuitous outcome, but the shine would be removed from the surface. And we wouldn’t be allowed to walk around for just one day thinking “sometimes it really does turn out OK.”

Way to go, Sully.

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