Stars in My Eyes, Cheese on My Face


“Must see TV” means little to me. I have never had to watch, set a video recorder for, or in current parlance, TiVo any television show. Except one, when I was about six or seven, I was an Emergency! groupie. I had a childhood crush on John Gage and Roy DeSoto that would make any teeny-bopper Justin Bieber fan blush. I would dash off angry letters to the local NBC affiliate every time the show was preempted for special programming (though now I suspect that my mother never mailed any of those letters). Other than Emergency! though (and perhaps the original Electric Company on PBS) no TV show ever managed to capture my interest for long.

Yes, I caught reruns of Gilligan’s Island, and I used to have dreams eerily similar to the scene transitions used in Adam West’s Batman show. I watched enough TV to be familiar with June Cleaver and Opie Taylor, and later Hawkeye and BJ. I enjoy the Big Bang Theory on occasion now, but I don’t go out of my way to watch it. I never have been a big TV fan. For the longest time in college and graduate school, my only TV was a small black-and-white, 15-inch tube TV that I later rigged a VCR to, so that I could watch low-quality videos of Dr. Who episodes.

I’ve always been a book person. Give me a book and some quiet time any day.

So it’s highly unusual for me to get impatient with my daughter performing her bedtime routine too slowly because I want to watch TV, and it’s unlike me to seize control of the remote, not once, but twice a week, subjecting my husband to my viewing desires after the little one is in bed.

But Donald Driver is on Dancing with the Stars, and I really like Donald Driver. He may be one of the best things about moving to Wisconsin and becoming a Green Bay Packer fan. His story is amazing. His character is unassailable, and if ever someone could be said to be living a life to make the world a better place for his having been in it, he does. Through his tweets (yes, since he started on DWTS I have started following him on Twitter), I have discovered more about the amazing charitable work he has done through Goodwill, the Donald Driver Foundation and other organizations. He really is attempting to make the world a better place, and what a refreshing thing that is—someone acting, not just giving lip service to good work. Here is someone who had a rough start in life, who has every right to complain a little, but who doesn’t. Instead he works hard, and he works hard to help others.

When asked about her star dance partner this year, Peta Murgatroyd, his pro dance partner said that he was great—he comes to rehearsal on time and works hard. Driver describes his family as his “backbone”—his support, and it is clear that they are. When asked about the show, apparently he’s always been a fan, but Driver says he is doing it to highlight the work of his foundation to help families rise out of homelessness. What a wonderful reason to dance—and it’s obvious he’s working for a real purpose. As a Packer he has always had a reputation for an excellent work ethic, and it’s becoming clear that is just part of who he is. He is a true leader—one who leads by doing the basic things, the things which unfortunately are so uncommon these days, showing up on time, working hard and caring about others. And, oh—what a wonderful smile.

I can’t wait to see what his endzone dance and Lambeau leap look like this fall.

© 2012 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

Author: Michele

Michele Arduengo is a life science and medical writer by profession and a creative non-fiction writer by hobby. In addition to publishing Grits and Purls since 2008, Michele has published essays in Wisconsin Woman, Chicken Soup for the Soul and has a weekly column in her local newspaper.

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