Saturday, May 28, 2011

America's Next Top Model

A few nights ago my wife was watching an episode of America’s Next Top Model (also known as Tyra Banks overusing the word “fierce” show) and Tyra was having a heartfelt conversation with the four finalists concerning their “realness.” What transpired next could only be described as a contest of emotionally-damaged one-upmanship of the highest caliber.

The first contestant revealed that her performance had suffered because she struggled with feelings of rejection since her birth-mother had given her up for adoption as an infant. Between rib-cracking sobs, she relived the waves of inadequacy that had permeated her childhood and prevented her from nurturing a healthy self-worth. Had her narrative continued escalating I was almost certain she would have recounted placing her head inside a gas oven after her first day of Kindergarten, but alas she was emotionally unable to continue.    

Not to be outdone, the second girl declared that her mother had suffered from extreme acrophobia and was mentally unable to leave the house when she was a child. This drew ridicule from her classmates which in turn caused her to withdraw from her surroundings. To this day it is difficult for her to trust again. The tale was so heart-wrenching it almost sounded like the girl had been brought up by a bridge ogre in a Disney film.

Taking her cue from the other contestants, the third girl dramatically admitted that she had once lived in a *gasp* trailer park! With soul-crushing detail, she reminisced about the horrors of dwelling in a pre-fabricated mobile estate and how the very fact that she was on TV proved that she was able to rise above the “adversity” life had dealt her. I felt the need to remind her that trailer park residents are often featured on television, it just usually occurs after a tornado passes through Arkansas.

I felt terrible for the third contestant because she was unable to produce a sufficiently-horrific circumstance to overcome. Do not misunderstand me, the rapid depreciation on a mobile home’s residual value is traumatic for anyone, but next to “I’ve never felt my mother’s embrace” and “I was raised by Quasimodo” it just rings a little hollow.

For that reason, I have fabricated the following fool-proof back story guaranteed to draw a tear from the audience while making the other contestant’s circumstances sound like a fairy tale:

My mother gave birth to me in a Waffle House men’s room, an area she often frequented to trade sexual favors for car parts. When I was three, my father was released from a mental health facility only to be recommitted a week later after attempting to eat a live parakeet at a Dallas-area pet store. He was later shot and killed while trying to rob an orphanage. I was then sent to live with my aunt and uncle at a religious compound where I was forced to fabricate explosives for the group’s “mission trips.”

After the ATF raid, I was placed with my paternal grandmother who had a debilitating fear of clouds and lived above a Vietnamese brothel. At the age of eight, she placed a handgun in front of me and requested that I “be a good girl” and assist her in “making the voices stop.” At the age of ten, I began sleeping outside of a crematorium, leaning against the exhaust port to stay warm in the harsh Colorado winters. By the age of fifteen, I was confined to a wheelchair (having lost my left leg in a bum-fight) and had developed a rare psychological condition that caused me to spontaneously urinate when I saw the color blue.

At the age of eighteen, I was kidnapped by pirates off the coast of Somalia where I was forced to manually animate propaganda films. By nineteen, I had contracted Bavarian herpes and was unable to digest pastries. By my twenty-first birthday I had saved enough money to purchase a one-way Greyhound bus ticket to New York for the America’s Next Top Model audition. If I am unsuccessful at this, I plan to end my life by consuming no less than 8 D-cell batteries.

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