I read an article recently that made a lot of sense. The gist of the article was that our common perception of what is “average” has been vastly inflated by the media. The result is that most of us think what is “normal” is actually far above it. Let me cite an example: Granite countertops. Whenever I watch HGTV, all the young couples looking for their first home absolutely insist on granite. I mean, they actually say things like, “Granite countertops are a must. If the house doesn’t have them, we are afraid that’s a deal breaker.”

The article went on to say that all of this is an illusion. We need to stop feeling that “keeping up with the Joneses” is an indication of our relative merit as humans in this society. In actuality, most of us are “regular.” And regular people have Formica countertops.

So if one were to visit the homes of a whole bunch of middle class (I am pretending that this still exists) Americans, you would find a lot of things that HGTV might scorn. But this is ok! We are ok! We average Joes actually have a lot to be thankful for and actually proud of:

We have really great basements. Yeah. Full of old furnaces, sports equipment, and cat litter boxes. It doesn’t matter if it is musty down there. And there is plenty of room for lots of stuff. So we can save all of our kid’s school projects and those rusty lawn chairs that we plan to spray with Rustoleum. They will be as good as new!

We don’t have three story great rooms that make even the biggest sofas look tiny. Our heating bills are manageable, because we have regular, normal, eight foot ceilings in there. And we don’t have any chandeliers, either. Those things are a bitch to clean, unless you have a seventy foot ladder or a cousin named Wallenda.

We have one sink in the bathroom. We just take turns getting ready for work. And we have no idea what “en suite” means. Because we don’t have to.

We have one fireplace.

We don’t really like kitchen islands. Because you have to keep walking around them to get to the other side, where the pots and pans are. Then you have to walk around them again, carrying the big soup pot. And we don’t really appreciate pot fillers, either. Because filling a pot while it stands on the stove is ok, but what is wrong with just getting a pitcher of water and pouring it in there?

We live simply. We stand in the tub to take a shower. We wear bedroom slippers, because our floors aren’t heated. Our houses have three, maybe four bedrooms. Media rooms? If we want to watch a movie, we turn on HBO on our normal sized TV screens in the living room. We eat in the dining room, around the table that seats six. We go swimming at the Y. We think two thousand square feet is just fine.

But really, it boils down to this: we need to stop watching HGTV.


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