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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon




In 2003 I ditched my TV but as a relatively new homeowner I can’t help but be absorbed by home renovation channels when I visit relatives.  I have no sense of moderation and can easily watch back to back episodes for hours in front of the tube to make up for lost time. 


So when they wanted to use our house for a show I was ecstatic to have my few minutes of fame.  Some friends I know who had a similar experience told me about how they went shopping as a family for their TV debuting outfits and how they rehearsed pre made lines.  I just focused on not looking stupid.


There was no host on this particular show and we were supposed to work as they filmed, explaining what we were doing and trying to be interesting.  The producer and crew are rooting against you for a laugh in the name of good television because they have the daunting task of making a hopelessly introverted guy like me worth America’s time for 25 minutes.  Everyday while at the bank I would read homebuilding web sites and drive to Lowe’s for lunch and read the books in the front of the store about tearing out structural walls and building headers.  Then I would go home and do stupid things like frame walls outside and try and fit them through the kitchen door or wake up my neighbors to borrow tools at 2:00 AM that I already had.




A lot of the story lines were made up or glamorized and most of the speaking points were fed to us but the real aspect of the show was that we really did it ourselves and it really did take place at night because I was still a banker.  Five days of supposed work really spans over four weeks of 3:00 AM night shoots in the film set wrapped construction zone that I called home.  People have actually recognized me in public as the guy who builds walls outside and tries to fit them through the door and they ask me if it was all real.  I tell them the wall part was totally not my idea but to be honest with all of you reading here I would say my experience with reality TV is that it is about 51% real. 

If this were all it took for me to say my life was changed I would be a sad case.  If you’ve read my last few posts you know that I was meant to be a banker like I was meant to be in the NBA.  This all took place last year in the midst of banking’s subprime nighmare and I was going to work at a kicked over ant hill everyday.  My performance wasn’t fooling anybody and I had desperately been hanging on because of reasons I still don’t understand.


It’s amazing how far people will bend over backwards for something that they have no business doing at all.  I knew why; I was afraid.  I felt like my resume couldn’t handle another notch.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do anyway so why not stick it out?  I had my mortgage and a wife in school to think about.  I resented and lost all respect for myself and if any of you have heard the songs I wrote during this time you know that Ash and were going to call it quits if I didn’t acting like I had a spine and do something. 





After four weeks of all nighters and work days obsessing about how to fix my house I finally got the visit from corporate that I had been deserving.  I won’t go into it all here but basically the choice was mine to be a new me or go home early.  I told them that I could absolutely give them what they wanted.  Then I went back to my desk and realized that there was no way I could ever be that.  I went home early.



Floor joint hangers into my new header



The TV show had story lines to follow and the filming had to stay at night.  I find myself unemployed in a war zone of a house and I can’t do anything but precut things because it’s not dark outside.  While home alone during daytime hours without my tie for the first time in over two years I cut drywall and felt like a free man.  An amazing thing happens when you let go of what you think you have to have.  Life goes on. 


I look back at my reality TV experience as a very exhilarating and exhausting period of my life where some major things came to a head.  I hope I always have the courage to stay true to myself from now on because I’m pretty sure another reality show is not going to come the next time I need the kick in the pants it takes sometimes.  How you choose to look back at your experiences will determine whether or not you’ll learn anything or not. Reality TV is only 51% real but the other 49% is what makes it worth watching. 







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