I have an important question to ask.
Actually, I'm a little embarrassed to bring this up, because I suspect I am supposed to know the answer.
Everybody else seems to know.
Apparently, I am the last human being on the planet who doesn't know this.
WHO ARE JON AND KATE?
You know how it is. There is something that is dangling on the periphery of your awareness, something in the news, for instance, that keeps turning up but you can't summon the interest or energy to learn what it's about. Such as the latest shenanigans of Lindsay Lohan or that dippy hotel heiress.
It's the kind of thing you might delve into if you were stuck in the waiting room at the dentist's office with nothing but US Magazine.
But finally I asked. Jon and Kate, someone explained after wondering how this information had eluded me, are on a reality TV show about a married couple and their eight kids. But you already knew that.
"Jon & Kate Plus 8" — the Truman Show come to life — has run five seasons. Five? I'm still trying to figure out who J.R. was.
As nearly as I can piece together this story, Kate took some fertility medicine and, bingo, she hatched twins, then she took some more fertility medicine and hit the baby jackpot — sextuplets! — and then TV paid the couple $75,000 per show to follow them around with a camera.
And now they hate each other's guts.
See you next season when Kate takes more fertility medicine and gives birth to an entire football team.
If there is a next season. Jon and Kate are now supposedly getting a divorce — and they are asking to be left alone. NOW they want their privacy?
Let me just say that I have no problem with these people allowing cameras to follow them around 24/7 for $75,000 a show to chronicle their daily lives. For $75,000 a show, I would give birth to a yak if I could and let a camera crew move into my house.
What I don't get is this: Why would anyone watch?
I looked up some of the episodes on the show's Web site. Here's an abridged version of the episode summaries for thrill-a-minute Season 4 (I did not add the exclamation points):
EPISODE 1: Jon takes the boys to the golf course for a day of sporty fun! Kate and the girls head to the grocery store to get supplies for their favorite snack — Monkey Munch! Find out if the boys can master the game of golf at the ripe age of 3, and if they miss spending time with their sisterly counterparts!
I'm hooked. Wonder if I can catch the rerun?
EPISODE 2: Now it's the girls' turn to spend a day out with Mommy. Kate treats the girls to a day of painting and fun at a pottery painting studio! In the meantime, Jon goes to the gym and brings the boys along for a lesson in healthy exercise.
EPISODE 11: Jon and Kate celebrate (the Fourth of July) with yummy food, fun and fireworks. The girls get their hair braided and wrapped with colorful thread. Also, Kate and the kids make a patriotic cake that looks like the American flag. The kids get to play with sparklers for the first time and finish the day off watching fireworks!
Well, you certainly couldn't find excitement like that anywhere else — unless, of course, you HAVE KIDS OF YOUR OWN. Or a life of your own.
Anyone could star in a reality show. Even you. Or moi. We'll call my show "Doug, Plus 8 (Pounds)."
EPISODE 1: In this episode, Doug writes a column for tomorrow's newspaper! After writing the lead paragraph, he raids the fridge and eats last night's leftovers! Doug taps away on his keyboard and then returns to fridge and snarfs some cottage cheese — he eats it right out of the carton (don't tell his wife!). Also, he walks out to the mailbox to get the mail. Also, he checks his e-mails! Meanwhile, back at the fridge, he slams a few cold cuts, followed by chips and salsa and some cold macaroni and cheese! It's not even 10 a.m.! At noon he takes a shower, but will he shave?! He writes some more. Later, we see Doug push the SEND button to e-mail his column to the paper!
See if Jon and Kate can beat that for excitement.
Doug Robinson's column runs on Tuesdays. Please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org