An essay about Ty Pennington of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
|Ty Pennington, host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, has the best job in the world. His life is spent making people's dreams come true.
Ty first became familiar to me when he was a carpenter on TLCs Trading Spaces, but it was apparent to everyone watching that Ty stole the show. People loved him. He was beautiful, charismatic and funny. We were drawn to him, and we just KNEW Ty was destined for bigger and better things.
Then came Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I remember the first time I watched it I bawled like a baby. My husband refuses to watch it with me, saying things like, "Why the heck do you watch that? Why would you want to watch something that makes you sad? All you do is cry when you watch that stupid show."
That is when I explained to him what I am about to explain to you.
I don't cry because I'm sad. I cry because I'm a sucker for anything beautiful, and make no mistake--what Ty and his team of volunteers does for these families is beautiful. I'm also a sympathy crier.
We are inundated with images of hatred, prejudice and war. As a nurse, I'm surrounded by sickness, addiction and death. Every time I turn on the television I see the progressive degradation of our society: superstar so-and-so voluntarily checked themselves into some high-dollar rehab facility, and yet another neglected her children or ignored a court order. I hear reports of wildings--groups of children (some as young as 9) who go out at night in packs and beat the crap out of unsuspecting pedestrians, sometimes to death. I hear about yet another young girl giving birth in a gas station bathroom and throwing her baby in a dumpster like garbage. I see another Amber Alert with a photo of some beautiful blue-eyed blonde girl last seen being thrown into the back of some pedophile's van. I see stories about Americans--Americans--who are living under bridges with their children, sleeping in cardboard boxes and eating out of trash cans. I see stories about missing college students, usually found raped and murdered days later. I see story after story about female teachers having sex with young boys and the media acting as if it's OK; it's every young boy's fantasy. Sorry, folks, but a pedophile is a pedophile. If the offender was some obese, greasy 60-year-old biker (not that I have issues with obese people, greasy people, old people or bikers) having sex with a 14-year old girl we'd throw his ass in prison for life, but because the offender is a 24-year-old blonde straddling a motorcycle in her underwear--well, suddenly it's OK to have sex with children. Give her a slap on the wrist and a TV movie.
So when I get the opportunity to watch something beautiful for a change ... someone doing something genuinely kind for another human being just because he can and expecting absolutely NOTHING in return--I watch it. It gives me hope that there still is beauty in the world. There are still good people out there, that not everyone is out for #1. There is still such a thing as graciousness. There are still knights in shining armour--some just wear flannel shirts and tool belts and hard hats.
What is wrong with this society where our youth look up to and admire freaks like Britney Spears, thugs who wear professional football and basketball jerseys and drug-addicted musicians when people like Ty Pennington are so much more worthy of admiration? Sure he's made mistakes; he's human just like the rest of us, but he tries to make the world a better, more beautiful place to be. Why aren't people like him considered modern-day heroes?
Yes, I watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and yes, I cry every single time, but that's OK. With all the disgusting reality TV out there displaying human nature at its worst, Ty and his gang break up the monotony with one hour of television worth watching. How refreshing! Someone doing something nice for a change? What a concept!
Many of you may not know this, but Ty and his group of volunteers answered the prayers of a couple that live just a few short miles from me--The Stockdale family, so we as a community got to experience the miracle that is this show first-hand.
Thank you, Ty, for giving us something to believe in. Thank you for everything you do, for your kindness and generosity, and for the miracle that is Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. You are an inspiration, and as far as heroes go, you're at the top of my list. May God bless you and yours in 2008, and may you have a safe, happy, productive and very prosperous new year.
Originally written as a blog post on 1-12-08