I have found a new purpose in life, a new mission, and it replaces all others — from playing Super Mario Galaxy to spoiling the twist endings of movies to eating bacon. This one is better than all those. From this point on, my goal in life is to watch Jersey Shore.

Yes, I know that Jersey Shore, a new reality show from MTV featuring a cast of self-proclaimed guidos and guidettes, is quite possibly the trashiest show in television history, but these are depressing times in America, and in depressing times, nothing makes us feel better than junk.

Think of it like this: When you’re down in the dumps, you grab a beer or a bag of chips or a tub of ice cream. It comforts you. It lifts your spirits. It embiggens the soul. But each one of these treats is little more than a trash can of empty calories. They are junk food. And, right now, I want them all.

The reason: Mark Sanford will not be impeached.

I shouldn’t care so much. I really shouldn’t. What happens between a man and his Argentinian mistress is nobody’s business but the maid. But Sanford should go. Like Tiger Woods, he gives infidelity a bad name.

There’s a fine art to cheating on your spouse, and, well, Sanford’s no Picasso. In fact, he’s so inept that I wouldn’t post one of his paintings on my refrigerator. And for that, he deserves to be punished.

Of course, impeachment was never the right thing to do anyway. It would have only further contributed to Sanford’s need to flagellate himself in public. Which is why Sanford needs to be punished in other ways.

Normally, I would be the first to call for a public spanking. Nothing is quite as demeaning as a bare bottom beaten red by a leather belt or a cat o’ nine tails. But not this time. Sanford’s transgressions deserve more than that.

Like Snooki, The Situation, and the rest of the hair gel-loving, spray tan-addicted gang on Jersey Shore, Sanford deserves a reality TV show. Only then will he suffer the embarrassment he so richly deserves. Only then will we be able to get over the embarrassment we so unjustly feel.

Now, before you begin thinking, oh, what a snooze fest, I say, hold on. Yes, there will be plenty of painful moments watching Sanford count out pennies as he sits in the drive-thru line at Burger Czar. Yes, there will be tense battles between Mark and his staff as they fight over the thermostat in the governor’s office. Yes, there will be plenty of gripping moments as we watch the Luv Guv painstakingly remove stamps from envelopes and reattach them to the letters he intends to send to his South American pen pal. That will all be there. But there will be so much more.

I’m talking about reality TV show standbys — bug eating contests, unexpected trips to a possibly haunted mental institution, a sexy photo shoot … and another and another and another. Seriously, am I the only one who salivates at the thought of seeing Sanford in a see-through chemise and boat shoes?

Once we’re done with those exercises in degradation, it’ll be time to move Mark on to the good stuff. For one week, he’ll be forced to live on the street instead of on Jenny’s inheritance. The next day, he’ll have to press “I Believe” license plates in Pound Your Ass Prison — knowing full well that those plates will never ever be placed on a single motor vehicle. After that, we’ll send the governor to Glenn McConnell’s house where Sanford will have to spend an entire day painting tiny die-cast Confederate soldiers and discussing the works of Harry Turtledove. The possibilities are endless.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a trashy good time to me. It’s not Jersey Shore, but it’s pretty close.

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