Sure, judging by their products, you can be forgiven for thinking that the folks who dream up reality TV shows are half-drunk nitwits. But I tried to develop one and came to a different conclusion. I learned that they must be fully drunk nitwits.

The first rule of reality TV, of course, is to throw out everything even remotely resembling any notion of reality. Hey, I've got an idea - we'll have a bunch of women compete for the chance to marry a guy who may in fact be a potato and who may or may not be a millionaire. Won't it be a hoot when the winner finds out that the potato was actually a rutabaga and that it not only wasn't rich, it hadn't worked in years?

Sober people don't come up with those kinds of ideas. Neither do people with an IQ higher than a gnat's. Drunk people do, though. They sit around and get loaded and think this stuff is hilarious.

I wondered if it might be possible to do a reality show based on reality. I got the idea when a friend of mine showed me an e-mail she received about an evening her pre-teen daughter spent at a friend's house. The e-mail was from the other girl's mother. I changed the names. Other­wise, the e-mail is verbatim.

"I called last night to see how Lucinda was after the lovely window incident, but it was late. I had to go buy duct tape … I am not sure I am buying Mary's complete story. I'd be interested to hear Lucinda's version, if she has told one. The police were little help. I called and yelled at them and they eventually got back to me, but they hadn't even filed a report.


Pre-teens? Window incident? Duct tape? Police??? My friend just stared at the screen. Her daughter hadn't said a word. Apparently, something happened the night before. She was just happy that her daughter woke up in her own bed rather than in jail.