Reality TV Shows: Your Real Life Is So Much Better

I’m sure that you’re all very nice people, but please don’t be offended if I say that I’m not interested in watching your lives on a reality show.

You certainly don’t want to see mine.

If you watch too much reality TV, it's easy to overlook that you have a colorful, amazing, beautiful and unique life that is far more interesting than anything on the screen. Autumnal Reflections by Steve Henderson

Like now — I’m sitting in front of the keyboard, typing. I’ll do this for hours, occasionally taking a break to put on a load of laundry (it’s underwear day), lift a few weights (10 pounds, three sets of 8 reps this week), or walk the dog with the Norwegian Artist.

As for the Norwegian, he’s out at the studio, painting, which shouldn’t be tremendously surprising. It’s also not a flashy demo — you know, Mick Jagger getting satisfaction from splattering paint or Tom Cruise hanging upside down from the ceiling while he dabs.

Oh, wait — I’ve got a message for the Norwegian Artist from the website tech. Why don’t you follow me out to the studio and watch us in action?

Back again. That was exciting.

We didn’t fling things, yell at one another, stomp, curse, or rend our garments. The Norwegian nodded and said, “That’s good to know. I’ll get on it later this morning.”

I know — watched from the outside, it seems tremendously boring, but it really isn’t — it’s reality, our reality, the reality of two people who have been married a long time (30 years, this year), run a business together, take walks, talk, eat dinner around the family table, do the dishes, discuss our dreams and aspirations one moment and the need for new socks (white or black? crew or calf?) the next.

It looks . . . ordinary, which is supposedly what reality shows capture but really don’t, because if they did — even distilling one week’s worth of life down to an hour — nobody would watch them because they’re so . . . ordinary.

But like most of what Hollywood pipes into our homes and we accept, the reality of reality shows encompass oddly dysfunctional people, hurling dishes at one another, pulling hair, histrionically acting, demanding, wailing, sobbing, emoting.

I have no problem about escaping, mentally, to a peaceful, beautiful place. A good painting takes me there more easily than a TV show. Shore Leave by Steve Henderson

Otherwise, why would we waste valuable time watching them?

Actually, why do we waste valuable time watching them?

While I have no problem with escapism — I love a couple hours with car crashes and yachts leaping 200 feet through the air and sinister people out to blow up the world — I know that this is make believe, allowing myself a brief indulgence in caloric-dense, nutrient-free mental sustenance.

But reality shows trick us into accepting that the make-believe is real, that Ozzie’s “real” life is so much more compelling than our own, that Snookie is fun and we are not, that our ordinary lives are dismal failures, lived in quiet desperation of inconsequential and tedious ennui.

This is so untrue.

The ordinary lives of ordinary people are beautiful, honorable things — the work we do to put food on the table, the preparation of that food, the sitting around and consuming it — the laughing, talking, crying, joking, observing, doing push-ups, answering phones, replacing light bulbs, mowing lawns, plopping doggie doo in plastic bags, vacuuming, sleeping — these are what make up the bulk of many of our days, and they are good things.

Rather than sit around and watch other people either 1) do strange things to give the illusion of being extraordinarily exciting or 2) be exploited in their genuine weaknesses by sociopathic producers of pain, why don’t we focus on living our honorable, beautiful, one-of-a-kind, worthy and valuable lives?

Your life is uniquely yours. Celebrate it. Spirit of the Canyon by Steve Henderson

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3 Responses to “Reality TV Shows: Your Real Life Is So Much Better”

  1. Georg-Anne Phillips says:

    Thank you…you are right on!!!!!…. on a lot of feelings I have. I am of Norwegian decent, and I like the way you address your Norwegian. My hubby does the same. I love the connection you two have and glad that I am not the only one! Keep up this venue. And I will keep looking forward to reading and absorbing the wonderful watercolors of your Norwegian… to work on my own watercolors. Thanks for all you do for us over the AGE….

    paint all over the place.


    • Such kind words, Georg-Anne. Thank you.

      The Norwegian Artist has been my best friend for a long, long time, and I treasure who and what he is. I am glad that you have a similar understanding with your own best friend — this is, I believe, how it was meant to be.

      Thank you, also, for your encouragement of my writing and message, and I encourage you to continue to pass me on. I firmly believe that we ordinary people are wonderful people indeed, but so much of today’s message — through media, work, relationships, the establishment — hammers in the opposite. I throw my knitted hat into the ring with my words that we regular people — the millions and millions of us — are special and valuable indeed.

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