All or Nothing

The new season of Dancing with the Stars has started with what they call "the most talked-about celebrities ever!” and if you're preparing to click right by this post because dear god, the woman is rabbiting on about reality shows again, please stick around, because DWS is incidental to this post. Much as I'm enjoying myself watching the show, it's serving as a jumping off point today.

Kate Gosselin is one of the contestants and… hang on. Brief sidetrack. I had no idea who she was before the divorce from her husband. I'm pretty connected to entertainment news, know about shows even though I don't watch them, but somehow, completely missed Jon and Kate Plus 8 for years. When I found out about it, I was gobsmacked. Sure, raising that many kids is expensive and you do what you can to bring in money, but seriously? I mean, seriously?? Anyway, she's now on DWS, representing (I guess) regular people who can't dance. And boy, she really can't dance. There have been wooden dancers on the show before, but they've all had more musicality and flair for performance than she does (check out one of the judges, the hilarious Bruno Tonioli on the George Lopez Show opining about her). There's even an Internet campaign called Free Tony to save her pro dancer from his misery.

On Monday night, the package introducing her dance (where she was still awful, but slightly less so than in the first couple of weeks) had her talking about how much she wants to be there, how intimidated she is by the other contestants who have performance experience and how much she wants to be there (she mentioned that a lot) and how she couldn't leave the custody battle taking place in public behind so it was hard to learn and… Seriously? If you want more privacy about your divorce, why are you on a reality show? But my main question is this: if you agree to be on DWS, why are you not letting go and throwing yourself into it? You know you have no dancing experience, you know you're going to suck compared to some of the other contestants (although Buzz Aldrin gave her a run for her money, but c’mon, the man’s 81 years old and has an excellent excuse for moving sort of stiffly), but do you best anyway.

It bugs the snot out of me. It really does. Aside from the fact that there are dozens, if not hundreds of other D-list celebrities who’d give their eye teeth to get the kind of name recognition that comes with being on DWS, why do anything if you're not going to do it wholeheartedly? There were times where I’d suggest to my father that perhaps he didn't need to pay the same attention to mowing the lawn as he did to the details of a business deal, but I get the all or nothing deal. I especially get the all or nothing deal when you take on a job where people give you money for something. I've been exposed to people who work very hard at not working, finding ways to do what’s minimally required and find it incredibly offensive.

Being unemployed for a long time is part of it – when you can’t find a job and watch people making $20 an hour doing their best to not work, it gets on your nerves, but it's not just that. It's more than someone agreeing to perform a job in return for which you get money and then not doing the job, even more than the fact that there is no such thing as a bad job - you may not want to scrub other people's toilets, if but if they give you money for it, aren't you going to leave that for the bowl so clean you can eat off of it? - it's the part where you promise to do something and then don't do it. You hate your job that much? Go find another one. You're having trouble at home? Leave it outside the door - you don't get paid to be moody. And sure, there are times when the stress is so high that it ripples into other areas of your life, but we’re all adults and that means you suck it up and act professionally. You may be quiet, but you do the job and you certainly don't take your anger and frustration out on the people you work for or the people you work with.

Maybe I do understand my dad and the lawn after all…