Listening in on “reality”

So, I’m eavesdropping on a conversation in a restaurant last week (one of the few benefits of dining alone), and I hear two women in intense discussion about how this guy ditched this girl after she told him she once dated FabioI mean, like, was he just overreacting? Is that a legitimate reason to be mad at somebody? And, omigosh, where did she meet Fabio anyway? Etcetera.

Well, I’m thinking, in L.A. it must be pretty common to know somebody who’s dated a celebrity (if Fabio, the heartthrob-turned-margarine pitchman, even qualifies as a celebrity anymore). And I’ve pretty much forgotten the whole conversation when, a couple hours later, I overhear a guy telling his buddy the same story, and a red flag goes up. So I listen further and realize they’re talking about the previous night’s episode of Average Joe: Hawaii, the latest sensation in a long line of mind-numbing reality TV shows.

Curiously, I haven’t overheard any talk about the upcoming presidential election or California’s budget crisis. It’s good to know people have their priorities straight.

A prediction: Pretty soon there will be a reality TV magazine (a la Soap Opera Digest) so folks can read up on all the “important stuff” they missed. If only I had glimpsed such a publication in the checkout line at the grocery store, I might have had some idea of what all these people were talking about.

Update: Looks like my prediction is about two months late. Reality Check, America’s first (and, let’s hope, last) reality-TV magazine, hit newsstands Jan. 13.