When I told my parents I applied to be on The Real World they were less than pleased. Actually, my father had already disowned me earlier that year, so he wasn't speaking to me anyway; he disowns me at least once a year for a variety of indiscriminate reasons. But my mother worried that my presence on the show would cause my younger brother stress during his freshman year of high school. The slightest thing that marks you as "different" tends to draw ire and jealousy of your classmates--and having your brother be "the gay guy" on The Real World would certainly exacerbate the conflict. You know, kids-can-be-so-cruel and all that.
The producer of the show called me at 7:04 AM on a Monday, just a few hours before I was to start the first day of my final semester as a student at Rutgers. He said one short sentence: "Pack your bags." I said "Okay." He asked if I had any questions, I said no. And it was done. So I hung up, and dialed my parents' number right away, steeling my nerves to break the devastating news: with only one semester left, I was dropping out of college. I was basically running off to join the circus, to chase this dream of fabulousness and fame. And my mother had already told me she didn't want me to go on the show; dropping out of college was going to be the nail in the coffin.
Apparently, at some point, she figured out that if I was on the show...I could come home for a visit. And I'd bring the cameras with me.
Needless to say, the call didn't go the way I had planned.
The producers of the show just called.
I'm on the show. I leave in eleven days.
"Oh my God, I'm going to be on TV."
So I have to go to the Dean's office today and drop out of school.
"Maybe they'll see me and want to give me my own show! I can do a cooking show. I'll cook spaghetti."
I'm not sure when I'm going to go back, but I promise I'll finish my degree.
"But you're not allowed to bring those cameras here until I get new carpeting for the living room."
So tell Dad not to be mad, I promise I'll go back.
"I suppose if they come here, your father will have to be on the show too."
"I just don't want him messing up my episode. He has no sense of humor."
"And I have to figure out how to lose 15 pounds."
Hey Mom, by the way, I was the one actually cast on the show.
"Oh, congratulations honey."
My brother would just have to deal.