Reality TV Saves Teenager's Life

Emily Abbate

Fourteen-year-old Jake Denham loses a ski and can't keep up with his mom at an Oregon mountain. So logically, as dusk comes, he decides to build a snow cave so he'll survive the night.

"I dug a canal, and it went up a hill, so the wind would blow over it so the wind wouldn't hit me," Denham said.

How did a 14-year-old kid know how to build a snow cave? He saw it on the Discovery Channel's Man vs. Wild, of course. It seems that the show's British adventurer Bear Grylls, and his off-the-charts wacky personality and memorable antics, played a part in saving Denham's life. And people say reality TV rots young minds ...

The story gets even better: When Jake realizes he's getting a bit too cold, he finds some ski trails, follows them toward rescuers, and gets reunited with his mother Becky. Wahoooooo -- reality TV to the rescue again!

Jake's not alone. I too, have learned a thing or two from the reality kings and queens of today. For example:

The importance of GTL: Gym. Tanning. Laundry. In that order. We're talking about critical daily errands here, people. A healthy glow and a good workout boosts your endorphins. And of course -- what's a normal day without doing some laundry? I need a fresh one for T-shirt tiiiiiiimmmeeeeeeeee.

How to say no: Love is a great feeling. You know, the floating on air not a care in the world high that is oh-so-hard to explain. Brad Womack taught me that settling for "just OK" isn't an option. Even if "just OK" would have done anything for you, is a former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and absolutely gorgeous (Go team Jenni!).

How not to ice skate: Imagine my excitement when I first heard that Dancing With the Stars would be hitting the rinks. Oh the endless possibilities of spills on the slick terrain I had to look forward to. And after seeing a few episodes I can say this: I have no desire to complete an axle whatsoever in the near or distant future (because I, too, will fall). And if I do (attempt, that is), I won't be doing it if there are cameras within the nearest 100 yards.

Singing is an art form: Many housewives have taken their turn with a microphone and a mini skirt. From the actually impressive vocal stylings of Kandi Burress to the classy painful melodies of The Countess and Kim Zolciak's "Google Me," there's no doubting that singing a tune demands confidence. But man, sex appeal doesn't create a pop star.

Cooking isn't as fun without attitude: Zac, of Top Chef: Just Desserts Team Diva, showed me that mixing up a good wedding cake demands a little flair. So what if he got the boot because his creation was a little too bar-mitzvah? At least he had fun baking it!

What have you learned from your favorite Reality TV shows?

Image via Fred_v/Flickr

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