Like thousands upon thousands of other folks throughout this neck of the woods, I have cable. Now, I’m not going to fuss about some of our cable’s latest stunts. I’m not even going to complain about the misinformation the director of Digital Communications at Time Warner, Jeff Simmermon, wrote in the Beaumont Enterprise about customers not being billed an additional 99 cents for paper billing. How can I? He is an honorable man.

I’m not even going to gripe about my recent cable bill that came right out and stated in unequivocal black and white print a 99-cent charge for paper billing. How can I complain against all those honorable people?

Nope, today, I’m going to express my distaste with many of the “reality” programs we see on cable. Now, I’ll be the first to say “If you don’t like the program, flip the dial”, which I do with frustrating regularity. Every time I see a guy drop a scorpion down his throat or suck a gummy liquid from some insect, I flip the channel.

When I say “reality,” I’m not too sure what I mean for many programs are attempting to go “reality” one step better by proclaiming they are “actuality” programs.

According to the dictionary, reality is the quality or state of being actual or true; actuality is the state or fact of being actual reality.
So, how can two programs, one claiming reality and the other actuality, be any different? You suppose all those honorable people know something we don’t?

Well, that’s one of those philosophical mumbo-jumbos that someone who has nothing better to do can figure out.

The other day, I ran across a program called something like “Food Adventures.” The only reason I stopped on the channel is because the trailer said “Acme’s Oyster House Challenge.” Well, my wife and I have eaten at the Acme Oyster House in New Orleans, and the food was delicious, but this turned to be one of those “I bet you can’t eat it all” sort of challenges.

The host of the program was going eat fifteen dozen raw oysters at one sitting. That’s right, 15 dozen, 180 of those slimy little suckers.
And for the next 15 or 20 minutes – that’s all we did, watch him poke one oyster after another down his gullet. Oh, he did it, with accompanying sauces.

Another time, we caught bits and pieces of a program from the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. That’s where if you finish a 72-ounce steak – that’s five pounds, tossed salad, shrimp cocktail, buttered roll and baked potato in one hour – it’s free, so I heard.

Now those are all right, but somehow, sitting on the couch, glued to the screen while someone is tearing into a five-pound steak or a bucketful of oysters isn’t my idea of entertainment.

The ones that really gross me out are the ones gobbling down fried silk worms or sea snail salad. Perhaps such courses are tasty, but the idea of swallowing something like raw fish egg sacs doesn’t to anything to settle my stomach.

Some programs go beyond dog meat or sucking the brains from a baked pig. There is one program in which the host is dropped off a various wilderness locations throughout the world and works his way back to civilization. I enjoy it until he starts looking for supper. Then my stomach starts doing the two-step.

The guy eats raw fish, snails, bugs, beetles, snakes, worms, both earth and grub, and once, he even fished chunks of apples from bear scat, washed them off in a stream, and ate them.

That’s when I flip over to “I Love Lucy.”

If they’re trying to shock us, at least me, they’re succeeding. Obviously, there are folks out there who like that sort of entertainment; otherwise the programs wouldn’t be scheduled.
Just goes to show you, most of us have no idea how the rest of the world lives. As for me, give me pancakes in the morning, a BLT for lunch, and chicken fried steak at night.