There are only a few reality shows that I really like to watch. First there’s Mantracker, that one’s not odd. I mean who wouldn’t find the idea of a pair of ‘prey’ running through the bush, being chased by a cowboy (mounted on a horse) and his sidekick (also mounted on a horse), interesting?

There’s different prey in each episode and the Mantracker, his name is actually Terry Grant, is rather mean so that you’re always rooting for the prey to win.

Mostly they lose.

I initially began watching this show because I was interested in tracking techniques. The ancient Arabs were experts at tracking and it started out as research.

It’s also a great way to see the forest scenery, although it’s remarkable how scraggly and scruffy the forests actually look.

Another reality show I started watching also began as research: Intervention. It’s all about addicts and their families who are trying to intervene and get them to kick their habits.

When I was writing Wanting Mor I knew the father was an opium addict and since I don’t have any experience with addiction in my immediate or extended family, I wanted to understand a bit about what kind of people they were.

And yet I often still watch the show. It’s not exactly entertaining–unless you consider watching a car crash entertainment. And I’ve come to the conclusion that most addicts are addicted because they’re selfish people who think they can just check out and get high, even when people are counting on them.

I don’t know. I really don’t understand it, despite my own weakness for spider solitaire.

Another reality show that I do like to watch, which has nothing to do with any research is called Till Debt Do Us Part. It’s about couples who don’t know how to budget, get into a load of debt, and then start snarling at each other, ready to divorce.

I think I like to watch this show because it makes me feel so superior! I’m not like that! And my relationship with my hubby isn’t like that! And we learned a long time ago to live within our means.

But as a result of that, I don’t actually have a lot of fancy stuff to show off with. I mean family and friends come by and our house is neat and tidy and functional, but not fancy. There isn’t that moment of ‘wow’.

Instead I’d like to think that instead, there’s a warm homey feel to my house.

I think a lot of people spend oodles of money so that other people will look at them in that moment of ‘wow’.  Or maybe they buy stuff far beyond what they need because they’re chasing it too.

Maybe they had that moment of ‘wow’ when they went to other people’s homes or when they saw them dressed to the nines.

It’s a moment, just that initial moment, and then it passes. People’s jaws come up off the floor and they act normal, and unimpressed, but then they go and want to get something or wear something that will elicit that feeling in others.

I know families who had perfectly nice homes, I mean very nice, but they kept buying up, getting something bigger and pricier, and going into more and more debt in order to do so. And yet it seems like they’re never happy.

The feeling of acquisition is gone, and they’re searching for the next ‘wow’.

You can always find someone who has more than you in beauty and wealth.

It’s so silly.

It’s childish.

No better than the first kid on the block with a colour T.V. or the newest skateboard.

How many books do we read that say it’s not what you have or what’s on the outside, but what’s inside that counts, and yet people act for the outside.

So when I sit there, watching these foolish people on T.V. who’ve messed up their lives by acquiring so much STUFF, I just sit there feeling, yes, I’ll admit it, a little smug.

I guess that’s petty.

It’s childish.

Why should I care?

But it sure does feel good.