No matter how far we traveled, where or why, she never forgot to bring along her treasure trunk of "Psychic Paraphernalia" which included a fractured Crystal Ball bequeathed to her by her own legendary shape shifting Grandmother, Mama Mezeppa. A Gypsy gormandizer who, by her own admission, made a better pumpkin soup than any of her cookhouse or chuck wagon rivals. That trunk included some of Mama Mezeppa's favorite secret recipes salvaged from the 19th Century when Mama Mezeppa was better known for her dare devil trick riding and daring daylight stage coach robberies than she was for her cooking.
As the original "Octo Mom" when the circus failed to provide sufficient food and supplies for her unruly brood of Big Top Bambinos, as a single working mother she had no qualms about using her extraordinary equestrian abilities, shooting skills and sex appeal, which were the mainstay of her Circus & Wild West Show performances, by moonlighting as what was The Old West's most colorful and fetching Lady Outlaw. Survival has always been the name of the game for any circus past or present. When it's chicken one day and feathers the next -- you do what you have to, even if what you "have to" falls on the wrong side of the law.
Besides those treasured old time recipes, that trunk was home to dozens of handicapped miniature statues and road weary saints who, over the years of traveling bumpy back roads and being shoved on and off loading ramps had lost a hand, an arm, a piece of leg, and in some cases an entire head. Amputations and decapitations which apparently had little effect on their power to summon the attentions of the saints they represented, who presumably remained totally intact in their heavenly home. Included in the "trunk of many wonders" was an arsenal of silver and gold metals representative of those very same saints, which when worn apparently added to the power of life and death of the people who wore them. My mother -- a daring aerialist and fervent none believer who wasn't even a lapsed Catholic, wore a dozen of them strung together on a large safety pin attached to the inside of her costume --- as though they represented some invisible net that would miraculously sustain her if by some horrendous accident of fate she should in performing the impossible, lose her grip and go plummeting to her death. After which according to my Grandmother, she would go straight to hell where she belonged. (Emma never forgot my Mother's Aryan Ancestry or the fact that Gypsies, next to Jews were the largest ethnic minority to succumb to the Nazi ovens.)
Given the animus that existed between my German Mother and my Gypsy Grandmother, I was always amazed that Queen Emma had parted with those medals on my Mothers behalf. Maybe it was because due to my Mothers atheistic proclivities, my Grandmother simply assumed they wouldn't work for her. I often wondered if my Mother wore those medals as less of a protection against the sudden death syndrome and more as a protection against the wicked wiles of my cunning and conspiratorial Gypsy Grandmother. She was known to have certain Machiavellian traits, murderous inclinations and long standing jealousies. Emmalina Corliani's trunk also included a favorite costume from her own glory days as the elite aerialist who grabbed the spotlight and enthralled the public with her beauty and her daring. A costume she could easily slide into before 16 children had robbed her of the former slender and svelte physique which sadly had long since been replaced by a massive and corpulent, singularly stupefying, she-devil stand in that required this dangerous and dynamic circus queen to rule her hybrid canvas domain from the back of a humongous black Friesian Stallion. His tremendous tasseled hooves made the ground quake when he walked and made you tremble at his presence even if you had spent your entire life around horses. But this horse was different. His mission in life was to act as "The Enforcer" dedicated not only to transporting my Grandmother massive frame to every corner of the circus lot that required her attention but to scare the hell out of you in the process. Even the elephants cast a wary eye at the prospect of "El Diablo" & "La Gitana Corliani" headed in their direction. As if my Grandmother even needed this monstrous equus presence to accompany her in her daily rounds given the sheer strength of "The Spaghetti Umbilical" by which she maintained a "Psychic" strangle hold around each and every member of our extended clan of in-laws and outlaws. Nevertheless as oppressed as we all were as America most celebrated equestrian marvels (with the exception of our very famous distant cousins "The Cristiani's") who were not Gypsies nor known for their Wild West traditions or Spaghetti Western Origins whose name I sometimes use when engaged in nefarious activities I know my Gypsy Grandmother wouldn't approve of. None of us knew how to break the ties that bind.
Despite our rage at being managed and manipulated we all knew on which side our bread was buttered and were entirely cognizant of the need our "Big Top Biosphere" had of the one person that could make it all work... that "Wise Latina Woman With The Richness Of Her Experience" could do what others could not. She was the center of gravity around which our mobile family grocery store revolved. And of course we were equally aware of the remaining contents of that "terrible trunk" in which Emmalina Corliana kept dozens of carefully wrapped vials of potions that could contribute to your undoing should anyone even contemplate the possibility of some kind of "Circus Coup" where by she would be replaced as its sole totalitarian dictator.
Like the Moral Majority -- my Grandmother managed to mix religion, politics, and various venal objectives into a faith based compost heap of potent possibilities, non sequitur factoids, mangled mythologies, medieval religious ritual, and mind boggling mystical crapola, with which we were all brainwashed into a cockamamie belief system into which she incorporated Jesus, the infallibility of the Pope, eating fish on Fridays, praying for the lost soul of Buffalo Bill and some tall tale about a Gypsy ancestor being present at the crucifixion where by he stealthily deprived the Roman executioners of the last six nails needed to complete their torturous deed --- by stealing them. According to her, Jesus wouldn't allow such a political travesty as her removal from the throne of power.
Personally I had my doubts, because apparently JESUS, as backed by the Religious Right allowed George Dubya to become President where by the "Doctrine Of Pre-Emption" was birthed and "Mission Accomplished" has since been delayed so long --- nobody even remembers what the original "Mission Impossible" was all about. A scenario which along with my Gypsy Grandmothers "Identity Politics" and self serving agenda added fuel to the fire of my relentless contrarian disposition. As an avowed oppositional systems buster with a messianic drive to "save the world", when in fact it was I that was most in need of salvation --- all that ever impeded my head long dive into the world of Show Business For Ugly People IE: "Politics" was my ongoing confusion as to which world I owed my allegiance.
Was it the insulated Gemeinschaft World of our Mafiosi Midway that left no carbon footprint within which our "Cowboy Cosa Nostra" was still practicing the unimpeded freedoms of the "Western Frontier" which, after all, is the foundation upon which America was built. That is, until corporate America took over. (Read: Life Inc.)
Was it "The Grinch Gringo Land Of Bureaucrats And Subdivision Sickos" infected by the Affluenza Virus whose carbon footprint has created Global Warming and for whom The Code Of The West no longer has any meaning, in that the only frontier to which Americans currently relate is "The Expanding Universe Of The Astronomers" -- that civilized society that traded in Mano A Mano Shootouts for Thermo Nuclear Warfare.
Obviously for me it was the 64,000 Dollar question that was to determine my future!
Since I couldn't make a choice --- I simply decided to overthrow the government & the tyranny of the two party system, which after all, was only The Government Of The Few, By The Few, And For The Few -- and simultaneously -- to devote equal energies to a diabolical scheme to initiate "Regime Change" on Mama Corliani's 3 Ring Circus & Wild West Show by stealing her "Trunk" and installing myself as Queen Of The Circus & Star Of The Wild West Show.
And They Think Obama Bit Off More Than He Can Chew!!!
Thus it was, that long before I became an identifiable canker on The Body Social, The Fly In The Ointment Of The New World Order and The Square Peg in everybody's round hole -- before my bruised and battered consciousness was raised to the possibilities of THE PLANET BIZZARRO as being an attractive alternative to life's unfair and stressful demands -- in that previous incarnation of manifest idiocy --- what others refer to as my Che Guevara period of Revolutionary Fervor And Political Crackpotism --- during a time of radical reflection and soulful meditation --- the cultural phenomenon known as CITIZEN SCREWED came into being. Bridget Jones Diaries not withstanding --- THE MAD MOTORCYCLE DIARIES OF A BIG TOP REVOLUTIONARY jump started the movement where by this neurotic misunderstood misfit from the wrong side of the Digital Divide became Homeland Securities most sought after terrorist. Next to Bin Laden of course. Him they couldn't keep track of even with his dialysis machine. Me they kept their eye on. A key indication of Big Brothers Priorities during The Bush Administration. Go Figure?
Like a shocked and amazed Nate Salisbury said to Buffalo Bill when he heard that Sitting Bull, the Hunkpapa Sioux who murdered Custer in cold blood was joining the Wild West Show ---
"This Show Business Is Really Something -- There's No Business Like IT"
BETTY HUTTON Staring in "Annie Get Your Gun"
song & video
"There's No Business Like Show Business"
song & video
"There's No Business Like Show Business"