For years, I’ve rarely watched television, other than news programs. About a year ago, my wife was watching “Pawn Stars” a popular History Channel program that shows a Las Vegas pawn shop in action. It showcases three family members who run it and one goofy employee and all the unique items people bring in to pawn or sell. When I first saw it, it seemed like a stupid show with a stupid premise. As time went on, I found myself watching it here and there and as more time time went by, I started becoming friends with, or better put, I started liking the characters. In addition, the show had all kinds of great and unique items people brought in to sell. They’d often bring in experts to examine some of the items and while doing so, they’d explain all about some really great stuff. So, I started enjoying and also regularly watching, Pawn Stars. I wondered why I hated it in the beginning and why it had grown on me.
Another show I thought was nuts was on the same network. It was “Counting Cars”.
It had a guy called the Count who buys old cars and fixes them up to look fantastic. He was always dressed like he was going on a long distance motorcycle run or something similar. He always wore a bandana and garb that looked like he was a Mr. Cool. He talked like he was from the 70’s using the word cool more than I’ve heard since, well, the 70’s. Not only did he buy old vehicles to resell, but mainly, people came to him with cars they wanted refurbished or redone in a major way. And the Count and his group did an outstanding job at making motor vehicles, including trucks and motorcycles, look better than show room cool. Here’s the deal though for me. I don’t generally give a rat’s ass about cool cars and cool bikes, especially redone or old ones. But watching this reality show and mainly the main character, the Count, with his deep passion, zest, honesty and kindness to the people he deals with, well, I learned to love the show and now tune in as often as I can.
There’s more. There’s another show on The History Channel called “American Restoration”.
In this reality show; a man, his son, and several employees restore old or damaged items. But the main restorer is the owner of the shop, Rick. He’s got tattoos all over his arms and always wears cut off sleeves showing his guns. Having grown up all around macho most of my life I really didn’t want to see Rick’s arms and what I assumed was macho attitude. But Rick was a nice guy. Actually, a super nice guy. He was exuberant and passionate to the gills about being a part of making things look great again. And he treated people who came to his shop to redo meaningful memorabilia like a caring relative would. And this Rick is a genius. He can phenomenally restore anything; antiques, cars, bicycles, electronics, you name it, he can do it. Sometimes he makes things look better than brand new! I started liking this restoration genius and the characters in his shop. You got to know all the workers not just Rick and you start to have a oneness with them; just like with the Pawn Stars show and Counting Cars. I watched them do some stupid and goofy things while striving for excellence. Most of the time they all laugh about the dumb things they do. You become friends and almost family with the characters; flaws and all.
Now here’s the kicker for me. There’s another show on the network called “American Pickers”.
It’s about two guys who drive around the United States buying up antiques and other people’s junk. They resell what they buy in their store front business in Iowa. They’re guided by telephone by a curvy tattooed brunette who lines people up to visit throughout the U.S. They visit folks, many of whom seem to be certifiable hoarders of “stuff”. All kinds of stuff. Antiques, electronics, cars, motorcycles and in a recent show, a wooden jail door from the old-west where someone locked up had carved a poem into it. I told my wife that if she wanted to know if I was ever losing my mind it would be the day that I tell her that I start liking American Pickers! The main character, Mike is a nerdy guy who gets excited by items like an old door from the West or an old motorcycle that was said to be buried in a woman’s back yard. He dug up a quarter of her backyard (with her permission) to find a piece of rusted old junk. Finally, he found it and when he did, he just about had an orgasm. He seemed as if he had found the lost Holy Grail. He’s a geek and so is his side-kick but you know what? After watching bits of the show here and there, I started liking his genuineness and his passion for something in life that had some noble merit. And you may have guessed it, I started liking Mike, the curvy babe and his traveling side kick too. I got to see three people who were unpretentious and passionate about simple things in life. Friendly and kind with all whom they dealt with and simply, all around nice people. Yes, I really liked them all and yeah, I watch it whenever I can. But the good news for me though is that I’m not so sure if I’ve lost my mind or perhaps stumbled on a secret.
What secret you may be wondering? It seems to me that being liked for being your flawed, silly, sometimes stupid, geeky and sometimes out and out stupid self can and does help you to be successful. Being liked and being successful is not such a huge secret but don’t most people try to be successful by being something that they’re not or something that they think others will like? Don’t most people try being stoic, cool, or better than others? Don’t most people try and show others how good they are? How smart? How . . . everything? Well, I believe a key to being liked is being yourself. Not liked by everyone for sure, because some people are snobs, but most people are regular folks and they unconsciously like regular people just like themselves.
I think success comes from being ourselves and letting our flaws and personal stumbles out in the open while working towards excellence in our life’s passions—just like all these successful who would have “thunk it”, reality shows.
Steve's a three-time survivor of violence in his youth and was an award winning police officer.
For several years, Steve also did radio political and current event commentary and taught college Criminal Justice. He is the former host of the long running 'The Kovacs Perspective' Internet radio talk show.
Presently, Steve is the owner and Managing Director of one of the oldest martial art schools in Ohio, 'The Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense'.
Latest posts by Steve Kovacs (see all)
- Black Lives Really Mattering and My Friend the Boxer - September 7, 2017
- Meaning—Makes the Man and Woman–Makes the Difference - August 28, 2017
- Bars, Demonstrations, and Getting Thumped… - August 14, 2017