Sunday, December 8, 2013

Gypsy Sisters

Numerous people have had access to the remote control on the TV in my room in recent weeks. Yesterday I found a few programs on my DVR that someone other than I must have told it to record. At least one of the recordings was of a program that I never knew esisted until I found it on my DVR. Perhaps you've watched it. It's called Gypsy Sisters.
I had seen my Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding before. As far as I can tell, this is a spinoff featuring a few of the women who were especially popular with the TLC viewers, much as Honey Boo Boo was such a hit on Toddlers and Tiaras that she got her own show.

If my reasoning as to how Gypsy Sisters came into existence is correct, I'll take it one step further. The attraction TLC and its viewers felt toward the female members of the American Romany community chosen to be featured in this spinoff was most likely due to the rather warlike nature of said females. It's not unlike the relationship between the Hatfields and the McCoys would have been if the Hatfields and the McCoys had been closely related along multiple family lines.

The Romani gypsies shown on this program have names like Nukkie, Pookey, Ninny, and Mellie.
They whiten their teeth with Clorox and self-tan with motor oil. I swear I'm not making this up. Many of the people on this show have either married their cousins or are seriously pondering doing so. Ninny's and Mellie's mother Robby was recently released from prison for bank robbery and possibly some involvement in a murder, yet she [Robby] wa horrified that her daughter Mellie was working as a stripper. Robby was not too horrified to hit Mellie up for a portion of the money she earned as a stripped, but was horrified, nonetheless.(No clarification was made as to whether Mellie had taken a leave of absence from her stripper job or if she was continuing to work through her pregnancy.)
At some point Robby supposedly falsely told at least one of her children that the child's father was killed in a plane crash. The motive for her lie, if indeed there was a motive, has not yet been explained.
All of the American Romanis I've seen so far on either the Mother Ship or the spinoff speak as though they're carrying five to ten Atomic Fireballs in their mouths at any given moment. I don't know where they were when speech therapists at their schools were conducting routine screenings, unless the speech therapists concluded (in major bouts of laziness) that the condition was dialectical in nature.  Such would be similar to the refusal to correct any articulation-related or syntactical error of a black child based on the error being part of the African-American vernacular , i.e. related to Ebonics.

The primary action in Gypsy Sisters was woman-to-woman combat. The women trash talked each other or spoke of wanting to have extra-marital relations with each other's husbands until one group of cousins caravanned to another Romani's home, and they screamed obscenities at each other with babies and toddlers  hanging onto every word  until one of them [Ninny in this particular case] jumped in what might best be described as orangutan-style on top of another one, pulled her hair, landed a punch or two, and squeezed her jaw into strange contortions until theone one the ground [in this particular instance Kayla] screamed for mercy. Later Kayla was shown boasting that Ninny really didn't beat her down, and that she was just fine. Ninny was shown saying that it broke her heart to attack Kayla but that it was something she absolutely had to do and about which she had no choice. In talking head shots, multiple characters (they're probably no more genuine [or talented, which highlight all the mor just how un-genuine they are] than are the Kardashians, so I'll refer to them as characters)  commented about  Mellie's actions and said that if she were to start something again, they would fight her regardless of her state of pregnancy. Numerous people on both sides of the divide alluded to Mellie's rather precarious state of mental health. While I wouldn't argue with anyone on the point that Mellie's marble pouch is missing more than a few cat-eyes, I'm not sure just how sane any person was that I saw the entire time I was watching.  Even the state of mental health people on commercials for the show was more than a smidgen suspect.

One side of my family is highly dysfunctional to the degree that my father was held against his will  for over seventy-two hours by his father and two of his sisters' husbands when his father learned that he was marrying outside of the LDS faith. I've seen dysfunctionality up close and personal.  Still, other than my grandfather slapping and kicking me and my Uncle Michael slapping my grandfather after my grandfather slapped me, I've witnessed no physical violence in my rather crazy extended family. We use words to attack each other, but it stops with words.  I don't think any female relative of mine has ever considered having a fight with anyyone. I don't think the males in my family have fought after they were out of third or fourth grade, though my brother allegedly [he denies it] threatened to bean the boy who dumped me as a prom date when I was confined to a wheelchair with multiple broken bones after a freak track and field accident. (As it ended up, the catcher of the team evened the score by throwing a baseball at the jerk during practice when the jerk ran  on the baseline instead of in the running lane on a dropped third strike, relieving my brother of any obligation to bean the jerk. The jerk was well connected in the local Catholic parish, and the non-beaning incident, along with a dart board bearing the jerk's photo,  was implicated in my entire immediate family's excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, but I digress.) My family uses words with precision and with venom, but we leave it at words.  Hence, the violence with which this particular branch of the Romani community lives is most foreign to me. I usually am somewhat sickened by violence, but the painkillers and anti-nausea meds I'm taken seem to de-sensitize me to more than just pain and nausea. I was able to watch the nutcases on Gypsy Sisters and think, "What in the hell are they thinking?" as opposed to having nightmares about them.

My parents had my shrink and his wife over for dinner tonight. My shrink was my dad's good friend long before he became my shrink. Usually a person wouldn't treat his good friend's daughter, especially in a psychiatric specialty. It's also somewhat unusual, despite public perception due to the way psychiatrists have been protrayed in the media, for a psychiatrist  to provide actual therapy. Psychiatrists more commonly prescribe medication and meet with patients monthly or at other specified intervals to inquire as to whether  medication is being taken as directed and seems to be producing the desired results. The more time-consuming nuts-and-bolts aspects of talking through one's issues usually happens with someone who doesn't charge in the neighborhood of fifteen thousand dollars an hour. Dr. Jeff, otherwise known as Chairman Mao, handles my therapy because it was discovered that I had better rapport with him than with the actual therapists on his staff.  I can't talk about personal issues with Chairman Mao or with anyone else when I'm sitting face-to-face or reclining on an office couch, so the two of us play tennis or ping pong or shoot pool or go running or walk my dog during my therapy sessions. It's a good deal for him. He can work out and then bill my parents' insurance carrier for the time. I don't actually know for a fact that he charges anyone for anything, but at the very least he probably gets a tax deduction on the cost of his running shoes.

I was a bit upset with my parents for entertaining in our home when I look the way I do. I barricaded myself in my bedroom. My mom thought I was being melodramatic and silly. Chaiman Mao (I gave him the nickname back in the days of my treatment in the residential facility he oversees, primarily because of his almost dictatorial need for control of the facilty; three years later no one there has any recollection of me but the name still sticks. It's my legacy and I like it ) came upstairs and knocked on my door. I told him to go away but he refused, so I put on my biggest Jackie Onassis sunglasses because I knew he'd come barging in once he determined that I wasn't in a state of undress. Chairman Mao is far from issue-free (he looks in mirrors and touches up his hair more than any man I've ever seen) but he's not into little girls or anything gross like that.  As it turns out, he only wanted to congratulate me on my medical school acceptance. He could have congratulated me just fine with the door closed, but that's neither here nor there.

Eventually I gave in and emerged from my room -- with my Jackie O sunglasses. I watched the Fresno State game in the family room with my dad and Chairman Mao. The two of them can use swear words more articulately and creatively than anyone I know.  The "F" word can function as virtually any par of speech when one of them says it. Either one of them could give swearing lessons to the Romani women in Gypsy Sisters.


  1. Not sure which is crazier--tanning with motor oil or kidnapping your dad. If it's any consolation, the atheists in my mom's family are pretty dysfunctional too.

  2. I like that you refer to your dad's friend as Chairman Mao.