Writer’s Block: Reality Check

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By Corinne Wnek

One of the things I love most about living in New Jersey is that it’s like being in a reality show every day. Shakespeare was right when he said, “All the world’s a stage”, and he never even visited the Garden State. We are home to some of the best theatrics going minus the high price of a ticket.

For instance, the other day I was stopped at a red light with one other car ahead of me. The moment the light changed to green, the driver behind me blasted the horn, holding it down for several brain piercing seconds. This effort did not result in the cars ahead of him moving faster. In fact, we did not move at all for a while.

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So, just like a scene from right out of a bad movie, the horn man jumps out of his car, runs to the first car and pounds on the window yelling, “Wat’s a matter, you blind or somthin’. It don’t get no greener than this.” I tried not to make any sudden moves as he passed my car but double-checked to make sure the doors were locked. I know crazy when I see it.

The driver of the car, a frightened young girl who appeared to be about seventeen years old, fumbled for her cell phone yelling all the while, “It won’t start. I don’t know what to do”. She must have really been scared because no teenager I know ever fumbles for the cell phone. For starters, she should have called the police on this guy. Mr. Nice stormed back to his car mumbling something that sounded like “itch”, swerved into the opposite lane and nearly took me and my back bumper with him, as he burned rubber trying to make his way out of the line of cars.

At the same time, an older, kindly gentleman who watched this incident unfold from the sidewalk, made his way to the young girl’s car and helped move it to the side of the road. This act alone calmed her down. He stayed with her until help arrived. There were two different shows playing here and both were reality, Jersey style.

So why do people, most with temperaments like this driver, get to represent to the rest of the country what New Jerseyans are supposed to be like? Snookie, The Situation, The Real Housewives of New Jersey? No wonder people are leaving the state in droves. I get that “bad’ is more exciting than ‘nice’ and people like the villain. Even our governor knows that fist pounding, stare downs and ‘in your face’ tough talk are tomorrows headlines and always trumps kissing babies and shaking hands. Anyway, I can’t even picture Chris Christie kissing babies. But I can picture someone from a sleepy Midwestern town believing what is shown on the tube, over and over and over again.

The broad implication that being from Jersey assumes one lacks class, is rude, stupid, loud, self-centered, stiletto crazy and possibly connected to the mob, is troublesome. Actually, all of the above would be troublesome no matter where you lived but it just doesn’t play out the same way, say, in Nebraska, as it does here. Imagine watching “The Real Wives of Prairie Fork”. Most real New Jerseyans are actually well-educated, hard-working, generous, quick to lend a hand and kind-hearted, like the old gentleman who stopped to help that young driver.

Why don’t people like this get a reality series?


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