Dancing with my neuroses

I am not much of a fan of reality TV. Aside from the A&E offerings,  Intervention, Hoarders and Obsessed, I switch away. So I was puzzled somewhat when I read that Bristol Palin is among the latest selections for Dancing with the Stars. Since I don’t watch the show, I don’t know if she is supposed to be “the star” or the person who learns the moves with the dancer who is the “star.”  Is that even right?

If I know anything about any show on TV, it’s because I’m subjected to four screens full of it three nights weekly at the gym. So while I may not know one episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, I know who they are and that poor Bruce Jenner carries the family jewels around in a berry basket.

Back to Bristol Palin. What are her qualifications for this role? Are any needed beyond being tabloid fodder? Let’s see: She is a young woman who had a child out of wedlock. Her marriage to the baby daddy was on and then it was off and then it was on and then it was off. Oh, and she happens to be the daughter of a vice presidential candidate who quit her elected post to write books and work on her plan to conquer the world. I suppose that’s more than enough qualification for being on a reality show. After all, her mother’s qualifications to be one heartbeat away from running the free world were about as shaky. Just my opinion. I’m thinking the 2012 election year will feature a Dancing with the Candidates segment. It’s really the true test of leadership.

The whole self-fulfilling prophecy thing really is true. Consider this story: I had this beautiful piece of yard art, one of those metal garden stakes topped with a series of glass balls artfully coiled in copper.  It stood tall and proud over a triangular-shaped lily bed along my driveway.

It lasted one month before a thief plucked it from my garden. I happened to mention it in passing to my neighbors, who then felt responsible somehow since they were house sitting for us when it happened. Immediately I felt terrible. I had no intention of making them feel responsible. I was merely kvetching about petty thievery in the neighborhood.  A few days later they came over with a replacement. Not as nice as the original, but as a good will gesture, I poked it into the same lily bed.

Not one day went by in the last three years that I didn’t check that lily bed. (See above interest in show Obsessed.) Every day I peered around the fence to see if it was there. Every day. I was aware of how neurotic that felt.  That it remained in place for so long made me think the first theft was an isolated incident. Not so. Two weeks ago it disappeared just like that. I checked up and down the block to make sure it wasn’t pulled for some makeshift sword fight or thrown around as part of some late-night tomfoolery.

I’m thinking I expended so much energy worrying about a cheap piece of metal and glass that the universe felt obligated to relieve me of this burden.

Finally, it’s a good thing school starts in a few days. This has been the most taxing summer ever with kids at home. A good part of it is due to the unrelenting heat and humidity, which has been the highest on record. Another part is due to budget constraints and our wish to have a nice family vacation. In order to pull it off, we opted out of scheduled activities for the girls this summer. No day camps or sleep away camp or swimming lessons or enrichment programs. It was just me vs. them here all summer. Read that again, slowly. Imagine it. If nothing else, it confirmed without a doubt that I would never, ever be a homeschooling parent. Ever.

No wonder the recycling bin is so heavy with wine bottles each trash day.

That is all. Happy Labor Day.

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Life without TV

So, the writer’s strike presses on. Not only are this season’s shows jeopordized, but now it sounds like next season could be canned as well. Award shows are all facts, minus the glitz and glamor of the red carpet. Late-night talk show hosts are forced to wing it. What’s left? Reality shows. Ugh.

Does anyone care? As a former writer and member of a writer’s guild, I sympathize with the basic concept of the striking workers. If you don’t make a united stand now against the networks, while you have the strength, you never will be able to in the future. The trade union to which I once belonged is a largely deflated balloon, having lost most of its money and its might during a crippling strike in the 1990s. I know a little about the giving of the workers and the mostly taking of the big companies. The result, an erosion in quality. Case in point here: reality TV.

Funny. In doing some research on this, I read that the last writer’s strike in 1988 lasted longer than the current one. I don’t even remember. That’s because I don’t really watch TV much. Not then. Not now.
Except “LOST”, which hasn’t aired a new show since May 2007 and if we fans are lucky, maybe a handful this year. I watch about 1-1/2 hours of reruns (“Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Sex and the City,” “Simpsons”) nightly as I exercise in my basement. It’s just what’s on and gets the best reception. Otherwise the TV is off and books are open or games are played or I’m just doing something that’s not TV. So, I don’t care much. Even about “LOST.”
Which even shocks me.