The Two Things I Want To See Before I Die

Rabbi Paul Plotkin
5 min readAug 29, 2023

In my dreams I see myself in a community center room, a table is set up against the back wall with a coffee urn and Styrofoam cups. In the front of the room there is a circle of chairs with people of all races and backgrounds paying attention to the moderator who is inviting people to rise and share with the group. I hear a voice saying my name and asking if there is anything I would like to share. I stand up and say,

“Hi, I am Paul and I am an MSNBC addict”.

They all respond in one voice, “Hi Paul”.

I then tell them the details of my addiction.

I wake up and after the toiletries part of the morning I go immediately to the tv and turn on Morning Joe to see what happened since I went to bed. It is not the news that I crave, I could go to the Today Show for that. It is a very special craving that I have.

What has Donald Trump said or posted since I went to bed? Has he been indicted again? Is there a hearing scheduled for today? What happened in court yesterday now that reporters have been given a transcript?

I need to listen to the legal experts. Is this the arrest that will put him away? What tea leaves are the legal experts reading? Who is assuring me that this is the one case that he can not run away from or delay until the second coming. A time he might be waiting for if in fact he believed in the New Testament or was a practicing Christian.

Every new insight, every Breaking News with the dramatic music and big banner is like another hit of my addiction. My endorphins are released on call just as the network intended them to, and my addiction like all addictions, demands more and more. Yesterday’s high was not enough, I need today’s extra strength new revelation. I need to see his mug shot so I can silently chant, Shame! Shame! Shame!

I am most addicted when I am in Whistler British Columbia, Canada because of the three-hour time shift. If I am up at 8 and turn on the tv it is 11am eastern time and so much more has happened than I would have experienced on the east coast at 8 am.

After skimming through Morning Joe, I take a break and return to my real life because it is mostly the news of the day and not Trump intense enough to fix my habit. For that I wait for Deadline White house with Nicolle Walace. This is a serious hit for my Trump high. Here is a former Republican so she has “cred”. She has passion, intelligence, and a laser focus on the sinfulness of Trump. She also has the good fortune of being on at 4 pm Eastern time so many new events have occurred to feast on.

Then comes Ari Melber, a good Jewish boy with an Israeli parent and the grandson of holocaust survivors, and a lawyer. (How is it that he is still single?)

I take a break for dinner and then the evening is filled with tv entertainment shows, but the demons are calling.

“Put it on hold for a minute and check out if Rachel is reporting something new on Trump. If not go back to the entertainment but record Lawrence O’Donnell in case something breaks.”

Then go to bed and dream of Trump being locked up for the rest of his life and with that thought, drift off to sleep and wake up to start it all over again.

Is MSNBC objective and neutral news? Of course not, and heroin is not a healthy extract of the poppy plant and alcohol is not a benign extract of grain. The problem is not the drug, it is the need of the addict for that drug. Something is bothering the addict such that he needs to escape from it. Reality is too painful, or too frustrating and an escape is one way of coping.

I can’t stand what has happened to our country since 2016 (if not before). We barely coexist with each other. We can’t discuss different points of view without anger or demonization of the “Other”, and we have increased the amount of “Other” in our world. It was here before Trump, but just as formerly small brush fires would happen and be controlled, today those small conflagrations consume whole towns. Rabbis can’t even give the sermons they want or feel they have to give, because they will offend half the congregation.

The poison is consuming our country and while the issues are different it is happening in Israel as well with the role of Trump being played by Bibi, but that is for another time. So, I cope with my life by having my addiction to MSNBC, and they are happy to be my supplier.

The other day I found myself thinking about the end of my days and what would I like to see before I die. (Breathe easy there is nothing going on except for the age line on my driver’s license.)

The answer quickly jumped out to me, before my rational mind and the politically correct part of my brain could give the wholesome answer.

Before I die, I want to see my Florida Panthers win the Stanley Cup, and I want to see a picture of Donald Trump in his prison cell. I can wait for the former, but I don’t know if we can survive waiting too long for the latter.

Whether you identify with my addiction or think I need intense therapy at the Betty Ford clinic, please share this with your friends and family. They can join this blog by sending their request to ravpp1@gmail.com along with their email and full name.

If you have read my book and enjoyed it, please write a review on Amazon.com. I will be travelling around the US and Canada this year, promoting the book. I will be posting my dates on my Facebook page and attaching it to my blogs so that friends and family who would like to come hear me will know where and when. I will be participating in 2 events in Whistler in October at the Whistler Writer’s festival and an article about storytelling and how I write has been accepted by the local paper The Pique, in their pre festival special. The National Gardener magazine has accepted an article from me for their October issue that has 8000 subscribers.

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Rabbi Paul Plotkin

I am a retired Conservative Rabbi. I was a pulpit Rabbi for 40 years. I supervise a chain of kosher Delis called Ben's .