This columnist does not believe everything she sees on television, because it isn't real

My daughter gets pretty entranced by the television programmes
that she watches. She becomes very emotionally involved, even if it is just cartoons – when baby Goofy gets lost, she is almost close to tears, and she feels extremely anxious as to whether Cinderella can make it to the ball in time.

My daughter also doesn't like witches, because she genuinely believes they dish out poison apples that put princesses to sleep, and cast spells that turn mothers into bears.

We constantly reassure her that it is only make-believe. So, whenever an anxious or scary situation arises on screen, she can now tell herself aloud that it is merely "pretend one" and that it exists strictly "inside the TV".

We as adults sometimes need reminding ourselves, especially when bombarded with advertisements promising anything from miracle weight loss to amazing hair growth.

We should always remember that actual results may, and very likely will, vary. Reality TV is a hit these days, but you would be well-advised to suspend your belief to a certain extent. Even current affairs programmes can be sensationalised and allow the truth to be exaggerated, such as the "documentary" on cable about the possible existence of mermaids. I had always assumed that documentaries were non-fictional, but now I know better.

Another instance where I felt misled by "real-life” television had to do with a valet incident. My husband and I went for dinner at a hotel where parking was strictly by valet service only. We went straight home after dinner and discovered only the next morning that there was a scuff on our car bumper that wasn’t there before.

Just a few weeks prior to the incident, a cable television series featured the hotel's 24-hour operations, with one particular episode focusing on its valet operations. The programme left us very impressed with how the valets are trained, the care they exercise in handling customers' cars, and the equipment they use. It showed how meticulous they are in ensuring all the vehicles are carefully inspected before entering the parking bay and prior to being returned to their owners.

On second thoughts, perhaps the programme did portray some degree of
truth. The cars filmed are all supercars, so maybe the special treatment by the valets is reserved for supercar owners.

For the rest of us lesser motorists in un-super cars, we just have to live with a scuffed bumper.

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This article first appeared in the November 2013 issue of Torque.

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