I am sorry to report that there is yet another craze that needs to be brought to the Rim country, and remember, you saw it here first.
I refer to reality-TV, that genre of which "Survivor" is the ultimate example. "Survivor," for those of you who spent the summer on a deserted island, is the show where 16 contestants spent 39 days this summer on a deserted island competing for a million dollars.
In the process, they ate rats and bugs and generally behaved like rats and bugs. In the end, 50-some million viewers tuned in to watch as (surprise, surprise) the biggest rat took home the cheese.
Anyway, the whole thing was so lucrative for CBS attracting more viewers than the five other networks combined that everybody now wants a piece of the reality-TV action. NBC, for example, has concocted a show called "Chains of Love" featuring four men chained to a single woman.
And on "Big Diet," a European effort, 10 overweight Germans will compete against each other to see who can lose the most weight while locked inside a deluxe fitness center ... along with a "golden cage" full of temptations.
And of course, it just wouldn't be America without a "Survivor" sequel. The first episode of "Survivor 2," relocated to the Australian outback, will debut right after the Super Bowl Jan. 28.
What I'm suggesting is that the Rim country get in on the action by offering our own reality-TV shows. Wouldn't you tune in to our local public access channel to watch the following:
Ruby Finney and the Town Council
No, this is not the name of a local rock band. It's a reality-TV show where 16 contestants are locked in the Town Hall council chambers and forced to watch endless reruns of council meetings. That's right, it's the "Ray and Dick Show," co-starring that eternal defender of the people's rights, Ruby Finney; the man who never met an old-fashioned idea he didn't like, Hoby Herron; and Ken "you people exasperate the heck out of me" Murphy.
The winner, the last person to run out of the chambers screaming, "I can't take it anymore," gets a new do at Barbara Brewer's beauty shop. "Say goodnight, Dick."
Each contestant is assigned one of the "rooms" at Shoofly Indian Ruins. For 39 days, these guests will live the good life at the well-ventilated Shoofly Hilton. We're betting that in the process, they will find out why the place is called Shoofly, and perhaps even why the people who lived there bailed out and took the walls with them.
The winner, the last person to run out of the ruins screaming, "I can't take it anymore," gets one of those nifty Mazatzal Casino flyswatters.
Main Street Mania
Two tribes, one comprised of pro-growthers and one of no-growthers, take positions on either side of the gaping nothingness that is Main Street. Armed only with Legos, the tribes race to build their vision of a revitalized Main Street. Features weekly guest appearances by Ruby Finney, who will demand of each tribe, "But how will the fire trucks get through?"
The winner, the last person to run down Main Street screaming, "I can't take it anymore," gets a souvenir Main Street water globe full of, you guessed it, nothing. (Water is a precious commodity in the Rim country, so if you want water with your globe you have to ask.)
World's Oldest Rodeo Brawl
To keep our Western heritage and traditions alive, the Pro Rodeo Committee Tribe and the Rim Country Chamber Tribe compete in a series of rodeo-related events. Only at this rodeo the part of the cows is played by the opposite tribe. Will "Buffalo" Tom Kaleta last 8 seconds on a bucking "Wild" Bill Armstrong? Can Al "Happy Trails" Ayers get a rope on a sure-footed Pat Johnson?
The winner, the last person to run out of the Payson Event Center screaming, "I can't take it anymore," wins a whole case of Mazatzal Casino flyswatters.
Zane Grey Water Conservation Camp
Do we have a water problem or don't we? We don't pretend you'll find the answers here at camp, but we do promise you a royal donnybrook involving a tribe of tree huggers that believes we do and a tribe (reputed to be primarily real estate people) that believes there are unlimited reserves just waiting to be tapped. Highlights include a water witching competition (known as "dowsing," according to my esteemed and learned colleague Mike Burkett) and a very special event called
"Half Full or Half Empty?"
The winner, the last person to run out of camp screaming, "I can't take it anymore," receives a lifetime supply of water out of the vending machine at Safeway (where the left hand dispenser is probably still out of order).
Damn Those Californians
The infiltrators you love to hate finally get a chance for revenge as a tribe of Golden Staters squares off against a tribe of native Rimaroos in a 39-day food fight within the friendly confines of the historic one-room Strawberry Schoolhouse. Yes, TV viewers, it's biscuits and gravy versus tofu and wheat grass juice, chicken-fried steak versus organic Cornish game hens, Keystone beer versus Napa Valley merlot (always pronounced "MerLOT," with heavy emphasis on the "T") in a deadly free-for-all. Will the folks with their perfectly capped pearly whites prevail, or will the ruthless, toothless gang find a way to return the Rim country to its pristine, pre-California state.
The winner, the last person to stagger out of the schoolhouse screaming, "Pfffflllltttt! (because his or her face is totally encrusted with food), gets an all-expense-paid one-way trip to the City of Angels where he or she will surely end up screaming...
"I can't take it anymore."