My ideal . . . reality show


I was in my bedroom, toying with the idea of starting a meme. I don’t know what a meme is and I couldn’t ask anybody because there was nobody in my bedroom with me. Crazy, right? A super-hot wedge of griddled cornbread like this Mamacita! All alone? Que pasa with that? I felt myself becoming irate, so I decided to imagine instead the perfect reality television show.

Loosen those braces, big-time network executive, and rest that big gut of yours on a nearby surface. Make yourself an Old Fashioned and don’t forget the cherry because I’m about to reveal the secret to a hit show! You’ve just got to make the audience feel for the contestants what I feel for professional athletes – intellectual superiority tinged with pity, alongside an unmentionable desire to actually be them. You’re sweating, a lot. Maybe it’s the bourbon. Maybe this plucky kid is actually onto something.

Ratings hit no.1: I’m hungry, celebrity parent. Famous people try to feed themselves and three children . . . on €60 a week! Shake your head, smiling, as Andrea Boccelli breaks down in Lidl, unable to choose between four loaves of bread or one salmon fillet. Howl with laughter as Clint Eastwood forgets to budget for formula. Screech with glee as Drake blows €10 on a huge box of out-of-date parsnips, only to realise his freezer is bust and his dream of perpetual soup unattainable.

Ratings hit no.2: Turns out you’re actually bad. Self-righteous people see what they will become. Martyred mother types visit the brittle future they’ve baked and fake-smiled themselves into. There, they witness themselves playing a role they’ve waited their whole lives for – grandmother.

They watch, eyes shining, as their ultimate selves push a grandchild on a swing. Suddenly, the child kicks the old lady. The contestant flushes, but recovers fast. “Ah sure, he’s only a babba.” Her future self, 40 years of repressed anger straining beneath her apron, cracks. Young Fintan goes sailing over the hedge. All the apple tart in the world won’t bring him back.

Ratings hit no.3: Shergar’s Best Foal. The grown up sons and daughters of an icon compete in categories like running, having nice hair, and being careful. These horses never knew their father, so it’s all extremely poignant.

My dream reality show stars me as a beautiful woman who has finally understood life is finite. I forgive past hurts and learn to express myself through nail art. The final episode culminates in a phone call from the president himself – my ex-husband, Michael D. He needs “the best in the business” to do his inauguration nails. I spend hours applying long, tri-coloured acrylics to his little fingertips. We high five before he steps on to the stage, careful not to smudge the glittery top coat. The crowd goes wild.

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