October 23, 2005

I had a boyfriend once who loved showing me his family movies. What could I say? "No, I don't want you to show me your life"? That would have dampened the mood. He thought it was fun. So I'd sit there watching him as a seven-year-old, playing in the back yard. Watching him turn 10 and blow out all the candles. Watching his brother, his mother, his father, his dog, happy and smiling. And I'd get very depressed after that.

I've never been compelled to record life in order to look back on it. Why would I want to re-live memories that weren't great to begin with?
If anyone had made a family movie of me as a child it wouldn't have been very exciting. There I am in a chair, reading. Oh, and there I am again sitting on some steps. And that's me looking at something.

Last night I found myself watching a repeat of a reality show. I've decided the only thing worse than watching a reality show is watching a reality show you saw six months earlier, that wasn't even reality to begin with.

Could I sink any lower? Why not eat an entire pot of Haeagen-Dazs and chew off my feet while I'm at it?

When The Apprentice USA was on in America, everyone I knew was into it. So I watched one episode and I got hooked. The suspense gave me something to look forward to.
Then it ended. I moved on. But now, six months later, I'm watching the same episode again. How sad is that? I know what happens. I know who wins. The people in the show have got on with their lives. What's wrong with me?

I changed the channel. Maybe there was some real reality I hadn't seen yet.
On the news was an 80-year-old heckler being ejected from a political conference. I turned back to The Apprentice. Watching politicians makes watching stale reality TV even more appealing.

My friend Derek called. When I told him what I was doing he was horrified.
That's pathetic, he said. I agreed. But hold on. Hadn't he recently watched a repeat of a football match? Why is it acceptable to watch a sporting event that's already happened but if it's a reality show, it's pathetic?

"Because it's historical," he said. "And I can learn from it." What, and I can't learn from observing Big Stacie back-stab Little Stacy? I'll have far more uses for that strategy than he'll ever have for examining the slow-motion replay of a penalty kick. How will that help him in his property business?

Maybe watching a reality show wasn't as sad as I thought. I bet the people who go on these shows have tons of family movies at home, where they're laughing at birthday parties and smiling on holiday - and look how they turned out. I feel better already.