August 15, 2019 in Dag

In praise of losing ungraciously

I have a terrible confession to make. I watch reality shows.

There. I’ve said it. I’ve given away my deepest, darkest secret.

There are a number of things I could claim in my defence. I could say that it’s not a deliberate choice, but it just happens to be where the tuning on the television ends up. I could say that I don’t give it my undivided attention, and usually find another way to occupy my mind while the program is running. I could say that as I’m too cheap to stump up for pay TV, there isn’t a lot of choice.

But when it comes down to it, none of these so-called mitigating factors holds water. The reality is clear. I watch the shows. I do pay some attention to them. I can even, at times, actually identify the subject of the show (i.e. is this a dating one or a singing one or a renovating a house one or just a competing to see who is the most abominable human being one?). Sometimes, I can even identify individual contestants by name (the horror, the horror).

A big one that was on recently was one of those singing ones. Where they start off with a bunch of bright-eyed hopefuls, all dreaming of fame and fortune, and then slowly, brutally, they whittle them down till only one is left. And while they were doing this whittling, one thing really caught my attention.

Everyone was so positive and well mannered and good natured. Even when they got rubbed out with all the subtlety of a lion pouncing on an antelope, they would still smile and hug their fellow contestants. They took rejection so nicely. It was absolutely sickening.

You wouldn’t see such a good attitude from me. I’d be furious. I’d be absolutely ropeable. No smiles. No good cheer. No comments about how great all the other contestants are, and what an amazing journey it’s been. I’d be gnashing my teeth. I’d be looking daggers at anyone who came near me, especially all those horrible and unworthy contestants who survived when I had not (even though I was clearly superior to them on all measures). I would be oozing fury and discontent.

Of course, I wouldn’t actually say what I really thought, or act on the impulses I’d sorely like to. I may be highly skilled at being a poor loser, but I also have a pathological aversion to any kind of conflict. So I’d just keep it all inside. No hugs or kisses. No fine or thoughtful words. Just tightly wound anger, stored deep inside but readily visible for anyone to see.

So three cheers for losing ungraciously. Because if I’m forced to see any more of those gracious losers on my telly, I may have to actually start paying for what I watch.

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