"One day can change your life. One day can ruin your life. All life is is three or four big days that change everything."
Maybe you are into pop culture, perhaps not. But you would have to have been living under a rock to have not heard about the indictment and arrest of Joe and Teresa Giudice, of the Real Housewives Of New Jersey. The indictment was handed down on Monday, and on Tuesday the reality star couple faced a judge and heard the 39 counts, mostly for fraud, that's been leveled against them.I am not sure why my jaw dropped when I heard the news, there has been a lot of sketchy behavior from the two, but I have to admit, to this extent, and that they could each be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison if convicted of their crimes, well... yes... it's shocking... I find it shocking for so many reasons. Not the least of which is that they four daughters, the oldest turned 13 earlier this year!
You may have read a post I wrote, almost a year ago, about how the cast of the Real Housewives Of New Jersey visited Half Moon Bay, and Napa on a working vacation and spent time outside in the natural beauty of the California coastline, but somehow failed to see anything of around them. Not the gentle, blue Pacific Ocean, not the crisp morning air, not the amazing sunsets, not the sight of grapes of every color, maturing on the vine at the rolling vineyards throughout Napa and the surrounding towns in Napa County. Instead they continued with what keeps that particular chapter of the Real Housewives franchise going... friendship betrayal, ignorance, gossip, lying, and a host of other devastating behaviors that feeds the ratings, while damning the future of not just the "adults" but the children who are clearly caught in the middle.
To make the latest situation all the more difficult for the Giudices, Teresa in particular, it was disclosed that Joe is not even a U.S. citizen, which means that if he is convicted, and serves time, he will almost certainly be deported back to Italy upon his release... oh but wait... I am not talking about convicted of these 39 counts of fraud... I am talking about the fraud case he was indicted on in a different New Jersey county a couple years ago. His trial for fraudulently obtaining a driver's license in his brother's name, begins in late October of this year. If convicted, he could serve 10 years for that particular case of fraud alone.
It's a mess, but is it a tragedy? Yes. It most certainly is! It's tragic when one day life is going along fine, maybe not perfect, but okay, and a decision is made that changes the course of one's life so profoundly that it can't be fixed. I think about what their wedding day must have been like. They woke up that day, two single people, and finished the day as a married couple, with the whole future ahead of them. Marriage vows include the good times and the bad, rich and lean, and every couple, on their wedding day, believes in forever. Don't they? And every couple looks at each other on that day as if they are the only people in the room. Don't they?
So, if that's true, how could this have happened? When did the day come that brought with it the idea to put it all at risk? When the first daughter was born, didn't both Joe and Teresa look at her and see forever? How about when the second, third or fourth came along? Why did material things become more important than their daughters financial and emotional future? That is the tragedy! It's tragic that those girls may lose their parents to prison. No mom to pick out their own wedding gowns with one day. No dad to be there to walk them down the aisle. No grandparents for their children. None of the special moments, moments and rights of passages spent with the people who gave them life.
"We pass through this world but once. Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within."
~Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure Of Man
Call me a schmuck, but I can't help but feel devastated for these people, and the problems they have created for themselves. I find their continued denial of guilt, not just tragic, but indeed infuriating. If they could just face REALITY, perhaps they could find the peace they yearn for. But, unfortunately, it might already be too late, but who knows? I don't want to just throw away the key, but I do wish I could understand what set all this fraud in motion, not to mention asking why she has actively worked at destroying her relationship with her brother Joe, who is probably the one family member she was closest to in the whole world.
Reality TV can be blamed for a lot of things. To some extent I believe it was the pressures of Reality TV that contributed to the suicide of Russell Armstrong, husband of Taylor Armstrong, of the Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills. But like the Giudices, the Armstrong's troubles began years before they became a part of the show, in fact, the show only highlighted their clawing their way up the social latter and their incessant need to keep up with the mansion dwellers next to them. Taylor, in the opening for last season quips... "I have worked too hard for this zip code to go home now." She can say that after the suicide of Russell?
Now, here are a few of my own photos of the California Coastline, and a few from Napa, to show you what the cast of The Real Housewives Of New Jersey missed on their trek up the coast.
Half Moon Bay...
Point Montara, California
Ocean Beach, San Francisco California
Glen Ellen California
I am not sure why, but July was a month of tragedies. From Anthony Weiner, an otherwise talented political figure, who worked diligently for his constituents, but couldn't control his personal life, to the crash of Asiana Flight 214, to the death of Glee actor, Cory Monteith and the revelations of his personal demons. And then there was verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman. There are different schools of thoughts about the jury in that case, and the conclusion they came to, but in my own mind the law has acted as a fool, and Florida needs to reconsider the "Stand Your Ground Law" and the conditions for finding someone guilty under that law.
So, sigh, it's been a rather cruel summer, and we are only half way through. I don't remember this much bad news happening in a single month before, but I am sure there is one if you look hard enough. It's all so sad. And most of it so unnecessary. And that's the worst part. :(
"Actions are the first tragedy in life, words are the second. Words are perhaps the worst. Words are merciless... ."