Mrs. Zeal, Meet Mrs. Satisfied


It was midnight on a Saturday and I was sprawled in bed with The Kr8z and a box of Gingersnaps. After working a long but fulfilling day that started at 7:30 a.m. I had the mental capacity of an amoeba. I watched the last ½ hour of Erin Brockovich and a tear slid down my cheek during the denouement. I don’t know if this lone tear was from exhaustion or the story of this powerful kick-ass woman. Either way I was touched. And then, the energy of the airwaves went ballistic.

I couldn’t find the remote (I think So-kr8z must have been sleeping on it as he’s wont to do) so I was torn asunder from my sentimentality and watched in utter horror as a show called  Wife-Swap came on*Show of hands* — Have y’all ever watched this show? Wow. I felt like I was watching a platypus give birth to a micro piglet in a tub filled with orange Jell-O. I. Just. Couldn’t. Look. Away.

The Storyline and a Side Note:

Side note: So I don’t remember the names of the wives but let’s call them Mrs. Zeal and Mrs. Satisfied for the purpose of my relaying their stories.

Storyline: Mrs. Zeal is a rather firm believer in affirmations and positive thinking. When I say “firm” I’m talking as “firm” as my 17-year old ass. Mrs. Zeal reads her affirmations every. single. morning. She wakes her children by saying “Be your best Me” and tells them they’re going to have a wonderful day and gushes over how beautiful they are. Mrs. Zeal works out religiously, cares for herself physically, and fixes healthy, organic meals for her family. She claims that she has “manifested” her large home, her husband, and her son and daughter — down to the color of their eyes. Her life is near to perfect.

Mrs. Satisfied, on the other hand, lives in an 800 square foot trailer with her husband and two sons. She appears to be living a life of joy in a tiny space that requires constant interaction amongst the members of her family because, well, frankly, there’s no place else to go. Mrs. Satisfied weighs approximately 300 lbs. and both of her children are classified as “obese” by today’s “Weight Standards for Kids.” Her husband is also overweight, has lost his job and has yet to find another. Both Mr. & Mrs. Satisfied are missing front teeth, and Mrs. Satisfied’s stained and holey clothing is kept in a filing cabinet. Mrs. Satisfied regularly fixes their favorite supper of “Butter Burgers” and chili-cheese fries (or they just head out to the shelter for a free meal a few times a week.) For fun the Satisfieds take the kids fishing for free right off the town bridge.

Both Mrs. Zeal and Mrs. Satisfied are owning their respective lives and seem perfectly fine; happy even. Well, from what I could garner, apparently it’s the job of Wife Swap to come in and muck about in that happiness and turn these folk’s blissful lives on their backsides by asking the wives to swap families for one week. So there’s the gist of the storyline.


Before you continue reading let me just warn you up front that I turned off the show about 25 minutes in so I have no idea how it ended. If there was a happy denouement that might have caused another lone tear to slide down my cheek, then I missed it. Frankly, I was more than a bit concerned that I would end up having nightmares if I continued to watch this program. (Like maybe my anal organized self would swap places with a hoarder or a scary clown named Charlie, or some such other horrifying scenario.) But I don’t need to tell you how the show ended in order to share some thoughts with you.

It struck me that, as Mrs. Zeal was trying to bring her positive affirmations to the Satisfieds, she continued to say “they will die” if they didn’t change their thoughts. It was as if she believed that a 3 x 5 note card emblazoned with “I love myself” would help her to avoid the inevitability of death. There was such a fear in her thought processes of “manifesting” and positive affirmations. Three times in that 25 minutes I heard her talk about death for the Satisfieds if they didn’t get on board the “Positive Thinking” train (leaving immediately, mind you). It felt creepy to hear her bubbly-spouting-of-affirmations-organic-eating-self so full of portending doom.

And don’t even get me started on Mrs. Satisfied. I wanted to reach into the airwaves and give her a hug. This was truly my first instance of seeing someone on my television screen with Magical Eyes. Yes… she claimed to be joyful but her lack of robust health and her utterances of “we can’t afford to eat healthy and buy vegetables” made me want to sob into my Gingersnap box. Her son, who is being teased at school because he’s overweight, seems to be the only member of the family who really wants their situation to change, but he dutifully ate the plate of chili-cheese fries that his mother placed before him. Mr. Satisfied didn’t seem to have an ounce of confidence in his ability to land another job and he just couldn’t grasp Mrs. Zeal’s “accusations” that he himself had created his own reality.

Owning the Middle of the Road

I’ll “Own” that I lie somewhere between Mrs. Zeal and Mrs. Satisfied. I believe in the power of being positive and of creating your own reality through your thoughts. I believe in our Purple Kangaroo Sebastian and I am constantly tinkering with my Vision Board. However, I don’t believe that I’m going to keel over and begin the process of rigor-mortis if I allow a negative thought to seep in or if I don’t write “I love myself” in passion pink lipstick on my bathroom mirror.

But like Mrs. Satisfied, in bed with my dwindling box o’ Gingersnaps, I don’t always make the best decisions for my “best me.” And sometimes, when I’m cutting out a picture of Venice for my Vision Board, my inner critic pops out and screams, “Dream on lady, by the time you get there the city will have sunk!” I also know, to the depths of my ever-lovin soul that, like Mrs. Satisfied, my life could use some more Mrs. Zeal. Further, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there are times when my positive-affirmation-loving self could use a bit of just relaxing and enjoying WHAT IS, just as it is, like Mrs. Satisfied.

How about you? Could you use more Mrs. Zeal in your life or would a visit from Mrs. Satisfied do you some good? Have you ever had an A-Ha moment inspired by watching mindless t.v.?


Melanie Bates

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