"Body Found in River": Why Is This News Story Making Me Laugh?Does watching the evening news make your anxiety worse?

As an anxiety sufferer, I try to avoid reading and watching too much news. After all, so much of it is negative. It’s like junk food for my brain: a dose of bad news will sugar-rush me into worrying sick about health care or politics or some other major societal issue that I can’t control.

I’ll spin around in a mental tizzy for an hour or so until I finally come back to the here and now.

I can’t avoid news altogether, though. Here’s why: today, a particular news story on my local TV station has me laughing harder than I have in weeks. 

WNEP-TV reports:

Just before noon a body was discovered in the Susquehanna River in the Williamsport area.

Sometimes, things are not quite what they seem, and in this case that is a good thing.

The body was discovered floating face-up in the river just below a spill-dam, an area that has seen drownings before.

Police and the coroner were on scene, fully prepared to investigate a drowning. Sue Hubbard was under that impression, she first spotted the man’s body in shallow water.

“I saw him down there all by myself, second thought was oh my gosh,” said Hubbard.

You might be questioning my sanity right now. After all, I was cracking up at this story. They found a body! In a river! And it was floating! Not to mention that the body was spotted from a running trail on which I occasionally manage to go for walks. What kind of psychopath am I, laughing hysterically at a news story about a body floating in a river?

Language is a funny thing. When I say “body” in this context, you probably imagine a dead body — right?


Again, from WNEP:

It was not long, though and the man sat up. He was okay, just floating in the river on a hot summer’s day.

People who witnessed it could not believe it.

“We were standing here talking to you, all of a sudden he sat up, and apparently wasn’t dead,” said Matthew Kranz of Williamsport.

“I said it’s a miracle. It’s great!” said Williamsport Police Captain Michael Orwig.

One of the strangest parts about the whole thing was that the onlookers noticed the man in the river was wearing a life vest, and so if he was a drowning victim, they wondered how he got there. It turns out he was out for an afternoon nap in the Susquehanna River.

An afternoon nap. In the river! My sides hurt, people. Seriously.

“I was out like a light, it was comfortable,” said Joseph DeAngelo.

DeAngelo fell asleep in the river and was oblivious to what was going on around him until a dragonfly landed on his nose.

I love the joyfulness of this story. It reminds me of waking up after a bad dream and realizing, despite the sweaty and tangled mass of bedsheets, that everything is okay and that my wakefulness has already begun dismantling whatever shards of nightmare remain.

What seems like horror can turn into a round of high fives.

Check out the video — which includes a clip of the man actually waking up in the water — here:

Now, if only ALL news stories were this happy, I’d be watching a lot more news.