It’s great to see the new television season get “real” again. I got tired of all the re-runs during the summer.
Some of my favourite reality programs are coming back. I have to admit reality TV wasn’t my way of being entertained at the start. However, as I got more and more into some of the shows, I started to enjoy them. I even became a fan of some.
I enjoy watching the gold miners from up north. I have never mined for gold, but I did go and pan for it one time. My uncle works as a mechanic in the Yukon, and in the evenings and on weekends he would go and pan for gold.
In my early teens, he would tell me stories of people striking it rich panning for gold. Once he gave me a nugget. The wee bit of gold was encrusted in stone. Even though he pointed to the gold inside the rock, I really couldn’t see it.
I left the rock alone until I was about 15. When my friends and I were low on cash, we went to see a man from down our street who was always trying to buy my rock. I told my buddies about it, and one of them went and traded it for a case of beer. When I told my uncle about it, he almost fell over. Apparently there was enough gold in that piece of rock for at least an ounce. It wasn’t a good start to recognizing valuable metals.
When I went panning in the Yukon, I had this grandiose image of finding the mother lode. I had planned on staying for several weeks in my quest to be rich. You know those beautiful photographs one sees of the Yukon, with the valleys and rivers? Yes, they are there. But what they don’t show are the mosquitoes, horse flies, black flies and almost any critter that can suck blood out of you. I mostly stayed in my tent hiding from them.
The crazy thing was the local people were walking around like nothing was going on. The women wore bikinis and the men went around without shirts. And here I was surrounded by what sounded like a buzz saw outside my tent. I hightailed it out of there after only five days.
I tried watching some of those reality shows from the southern United States. I can’t understand a word they are saying sometimes. They are, however, entertaining. It shows some of the hardships people have to live with to sustain life.
The silliest one has to be Mantracker. This is where a cowboy on horseback goes looking for people hiding on him. He’ll be on his horse looking around and then he’ll say something like, “I know he’s around here somewhere.”
I have a background in television production and I know it takes several cameras to get the angles for the show. If he wants to find someone, maybe the four cameras and the helicopter hovering overhead is a clue.
I got tired of the Survivor series. If they really wanted a program about surviving, maybe they should produce one called Survivor: The Rez. We would start by putting a group of white people on a northern Indian reserve in the middle of winter and see how they do. What a show that would be.
Without a doubt my favourite show has to be Yukon Men. This is a program about people living in the North, where they live a life of trapping, hunting and fishing.
It’s not a romantic view of the life, but a stark reality of the incredible hardships and struggles they have. Having grown up in a northern trap line, I can relate. Sort of, anyway, because my dad did all the hunting, fishing and trapping. I played with shadows that lurked behind every tree. But still I can relate.