In the past week, I’ve received two forwarded e-mails with the words “You HAVE to watch this. It’s amazing and it made me cry!!!” followed by a link to a CBS Evening News story from Steve Hartman, a correspondent who is following a model created by late newsman Charles Kuralt, who produced the long-running, legendary “On the Road” segments for various CBS news programs. (I vaguely remember watching Kuralt’s dispatches from the Heartland when I was a kid. He would drive around in a big ol’ motor home, and man how I wished I could join him. Addendum: That all came to an end thanks to a disastrous 1990 California-to-Texas family RV trip that left me with a few psychological scars.) Hartman’s pieces are like Kuralt with a pinch or two of Jeanne Moos’ CNN segments. You’ve got your senior citizen who goes back to high school at 79, a guy who still nurses a Lego obsession, and kids who ride sheep. You know, totally normal stuff! It’s premeditated pap, but it’s the kind of pap that old people, mothers, and those with a propensity for tearing up at Kodak commercials just love. It doesn’t hurt that Hartman always sounds like he’s trying to hold back a flood of tears as he’s narrating the segments—sometimes you wonder if this guy is going to be okay.
If, like me, you can never get enough of animals frolicking and being cute, then check out the clip below, which features Tara and Bella, an elephant and a dog who met in an animal sanctuary and became BFF Forevah. And when you’re done, do let me know if you felt a.) completely moved, b.) completely indifferent or c.) completely unable to cope with the level of sap that poured forth from your computer screen for two minutes and 44 seconds. Is this the stuff that guilty online pleasures are made of…or are you too far into your sugar shock to even type a response?