How to be a reality tv star
I was a loser who lived in Montana and worked as group home manager. Then one day, I was facing the bright lights of national television. I was splashed all over the internet. Now I may still be a group home manager who lives in Montana, but I’m a group home manager who lives in Montana who’s had fifteen minutes of fame.
One of my capacities at my work is that I coach a Special Olympics basketball team. I’ve played, refereed, watched, reported on, and coached basketball, so this it’s no wonder that this is the favorite part of my job. One of my least favorite roles at work is raising money for the Special Olympics.
We typically have the athletes go out and sell raffle tickets. In addition to that, we have an event called the ‘Passion Plunge’. This is where fools will jump into a frozen lake on the closest Saturday to Valentine’s Day. Before you leap into ice cold water, you have to have a bunch of people sponsor you. In other words a bunch of people pay to see a morons freeze their body parts off.
We needed a few more dollars for our team than usual, so we were trying to get our team to sell more tickets than they ever had before. My team encouraged me to take part in the Passion Plunge. I refused. They continued, unrelenting in their desire to see me miserable in the icy waters of Canyon Ferry Lake. Finally, I made the team a deal. If you sell three hundred dollars in raffle tickets in the first weekend, I would take the plunge.
They tripled that in the first day.
I really didn’t want to do this, but I don’t welsh. On top of that, the team did really well with the fundraising. So I decided to make it worth their time. I had to do something funny. Then I got an idea.
Occasionally people will dress in costumes when they jump. I figured the night before that I should dress up as Spider-Man and leap into the ice hole. But a superhero costume is not an easy thing to round up in February. I wound up going in the toy section of a store, looking for a plastic superhero mask. I had no luck, but then I saw a toy bow and arrow. That gave me an idea. It was just past Valentine’s Day. I’d go as Cupid.
The next day I was in the warming hut at the lake dressing up. I had everything I needed. I had the bow I’d bought the night before. I had little pink fairy wings I’d borrowed from my daughter. Most importantly, I had a large adult diaper. I was proud of myself up to this point. I figured this would be hilarious. Then I realized that the diaper left nothing to the imagination. What I mean by that is it wasn’t far from being a paper thong. I thought to myself, “Are you really going to do this?” I sighed and walked out of the hut.
My shame, the fame.
The reaction from the crowd was immediate. I heard lots of laughs and gasps. My grandma looked at me and seemed to wish she was somewhere else. Many people wanted to take their pictures with me, including the local roller derby team. The camera man for the local news went to great lengths to avoid me. Another video camera went to great lengths to film me. They whipped a release form at me for National Geographic, and I signed it without hesitation.
I changed into shorts before I jumped into the water, because I was afraid the diaper would fall apart in the water. Then I leaped into the icy lake. I was in the paper the next day, and my photo with the roller derby team circulated around Facebook. But that was the end of the story.
That is until I got a call from a coworker half a year later. “Did I just see you on Frontier Force?” I had no idea what she was talking about. Frontier Force is a National Geographic reality show that follows around Montana and Alaska cops. I was in an episode called “Marijuana Factory”. The cops that were their subjects were participating in the Passion Plunge, and I was featured. That was the release I’d signed.
It sounded funny, so I called a bunch of friends and family and let them know the episode was being rerun that night. I instantly regretted it. Part of the comedy of me dressing as cupid was that I was that I was overweight. But I’m used to looking at myself in the mirror head on. They filmed my back fat, which by the way, is enough to have its own back fat. So it was a little embarrassing.
So if you want to be a reality television star, do something you don’t want to do in an embarrassing way for charity in a very public forum. Or date a Kardashian. Either way should work.