Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Dude Trapped in his House Boat

If you haven't read Jeff Jacobs' extremely touching story in the NW yet, go do so.

Judging by the reaction in the comments this story seems to be bringing out the best in people. Jacobs appears to have had a steady stream of visitors offering help today, bringing everything from food and firewood to carbon monoxide alarms.

I just have a few "meta" points to add to the story:

First, Jacobs seems to have been hit hard by both a crappy economy and catastrophic health issues sans insurance. It's an all too familiar tale these days; there are many people in Jacobs' boat (as it were).

Secondly, the story's incredible details really just write themselves. What's a better metaphor for all the personal and financial hardship this guy's been through than his boat being iced in for the winter, rendering him an island of solitude in a cold world? That's some pretty archetypal stuff we're dealing with here and likely one of the reasons the story seems to have resonated with so many people.

Which brings us to one last point: this is an example of the rare local news story that actually inspires action, not just empty and poorly-informed comments on a web site. There are thousands of people in Winnebago County who are hurting right now in a variety of different ways. Maybe it's time the NW got around to telling their stories too? You know, like in the kind of ongoing series that wins awards? I know people who are going through rough times don't typically issue press releases, but it's well worth the effort to go out and find them.

Just a thought.

Seriously: more of this, please.

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