Not like I’m an expert on Roman culture, mind you. But I’d like to think that I have a notch or two on my belt. Which is why I feel like I can proudly declare that my love for GG Belli knows no bounds, and not only because he was blessed with a name as fabulous as Giuseppe Gioachino. I’m thinking I should have totally named my son this. But I digress.
Point being, I always tell people that one of the reasons I love Rome is because there are two philosophies I’ve learned about life, while living in Rome, from the mouths of Romans themselves, that I honestly believe, when used separately or even together, can pretty much cover every situation you might encounter.
Holy crap man. That was a lot of commas.
Come close, yes, right here. I’ll whisper them in your ear.
1) Piano piano – Little by little.
I am obsessed with this blessed life philosophy. So much so that I managed to turn an entire blog post on it, over at the place where I punch my time card.
2) My personal favorite: Sticazzi. Or even better, “Stigrancazzi,” or even better, just plain and simple “‘Stigranca,” which, when loosely translated, is something along the lines of who gives a flying fuck. If you’ll kindly pardon my French. And yes, I really do think it would be a flying fuck, not a normal one. That kind of encompasses the spirit for me. Stigrancazzi, folks! Spread those wings and just fuck it all!
Oops, now would you look? Here I’ve gone and said swears and am losing all my readership.
But, for those few brave souls, oh ye of hardened heart, who are still here, I am coming to a logical connection. Just be patient.
These being cultural phenomena, they are clearly not a recent development. While I cannot speak to ancient Rome (that’s what my boss/crazy looking machete-wielder does) I can speak a least a bit to Roman dialect and Roman sonnets. They are divinely wise, and there is nothing more fun for me than getting a true “romano de’ Roma” to recite one for me out loud.
Ok, there are lots of things that are more fun. But this is still fun. Trust me.
Until you can read Roman dialect, you can’t truly and fully appreciate the Roman culture. Just IMHO. But I can say that knowing how to read and understand Roman dialect, which isn’t so much of a dialect as it is a way of pronouncing words and a style of speech, and then being able to read these sonnets in their original verse, gives me a real insight into why modern-day Romans think and act the way they do. And why I love them so, in spite of it all, and because of it all.
So, that being said, here’s your daily dose of Belli, explaining the wisdom of flying fucks from as far back as 1831. May God rest his blessed sticazzaro soul.
Accusì va er monno
Quanto sei bbono a stattene a ppijjà
Perché er monno vò ccurre pe l’ingiù:
Che tte ne frega a tté? llassel’annà:
Tanto che speri? aritirallo sù?
Che tte preme la ggente che vvierà,
Quanno a bbon conto sei crepato tu?
Oh ttira, fijjo mio, tira a ccampà,
E a ste cazzate nun penzacce ppiù.
Ma ppiù de Gges cristo che ssudò
‘Na camiscia de sangue pe vvedé
De sarvà ttutti; eppoi che ne cacciò?
Pe cchi vvò vvive l’anni de Novè
Ciò un zegreto sicuro, e tte lo do:
Lo ssciroppetto der dottor Me ne…
—Roma, 14 novembre 1831
That’s The Way The World Goes
(*clears throat* Roughly translated by yours truly. So don’t write me shitty comments about how I translated it wrong. This is the way I interpreted it.)
You’re really great, sitting there taking it and getting pissed
Because the world is going down the tubes:
What the hell do you care? Let it go:
What are you hoping for? To pick it back up?
Why should you care about the people who will come after you,
When, after all, you’ll be dead?
Come on, my son, just keep trying to make a living,
And as for all this other bullshit – forget about it.
Who better than Jesus Christ knows, who sweated
A whole huge mess of blood just to try
To save everyone; but then what the hell did he get out of it?
To anyone who wants to live to be as old as Noah
I’ve got a sure secret, and I’ll give it to you:
Take the syrup of Dr. I Don’t Give a …
xoxo Gioachino, love you!