A good father will leave his imprint on his daughter for the rest of her life. – Dr. James Dobson
The original title for this week’s feature painting was Madame l’Inspectrice et son chien Boris. It didn’t stick. Neither did Crisse de grosses chipies. Understandably so. The first one, a little boring, fails to capture the humor of the piece. As for the second title, the vulgarity and the angry tone are out of sync with the characters it is meant to describe. Madame l’Inspectrice and her dog Boris are not big fat bloody shrews. They’re just a little chipie. Hence, Les Chipies. It’s clean. It’s crisp. It’s perfect.
But what is a chipie?
To answer this question, consider Exhibit A.
Antoine has a dog: Bruce. Bruce is a 73-pound tank of a Pitbull with a big head. Sophie is a delicate looking little thing. She cuddles up next to Bruce, and the phones come out. Every time. Without fail. How is a dog supposed to get in any quality shut eye with all this clicking and flashing, clicking and flashing? So much fuss for nothing! Do these people have nothing better to do than take pictures of the same thing over and over and over? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to take a picture of something different, something more unique, more creative? Something like a delicate looking little dog sitting on a big dog’s big head, say?
But in case you don’t see, here is a definition from Le Robert: “Petite fille qui se plait à agacer les autres.” There is also this definition, better and more accurate in my opinion, from Wiktionnaire: “Femme ou fille de caractère, et encline à jouer des tours.”
Sophie, in other words.
“That little bitch!” my sister Iris texts in response to seeing the picture of Sophie sitting on Bruce’s head. “The eyes! They’re like in your paintings!”
Indeed. Sophie’s eyes are exactly like those of both Madame l’Inspectrice and her dog. They are also those of Madame Rossignol (see Wait for it, 10 September) and of Pierrette and Lucille (see Dumb as bricks, 24 September) to name a few. Unlike Madame l’Inspectrice and her dog, however, Madame Rossignol, Pierrette, and Lucille predate Sophie’s arrival into my life. Sophie, then, is not the muse. At least not for any of the characters who appear in the paintings before late April 2021.
That’s easy: the inner artist child’s favorite person in the whole entire world, of course. Vlegie. The man who calls her Toothpick. The jokester, the trickster; her hard-headed, hot-tempered, yet gentle, sweet, and lovable father. The man she takes after. The man whose strong character and penchant for playing tricks lives inside her, and thus in me. In Sophie, apparently, too, but not by virtue of being born of me, obviously. Sophie is my beagle, after all, not my child. And yet, the similarity of her character to mine is uncanny. Did she show up at my doorstep with it, as if drawn to it, to then bring it back out in me? Or did she learn it from me, the way Toothpick learned it from Vlegie?
Exhibit B indicates the latter.
There are people who believe that Sophie jumped up on that bathroom counter all by herself, that she curled up in that bathroom sink all on her own. Poor, naive, easily-tricked people. This is July 2021. Sophie’s barely been out of the medical lab now for three months; those hamstrings of hers are completely useless. Sophie wouldn’t be able to jump up on the couch even if she tried, never mind a counter top three times her height. Someone picked her up and put her in that sink. Someone with a penchant for playing tricks.
“Ya saber ayyoub!” Antoine implores God, exasperated, signing himself and holding his hands palms-up to the heavens. These troublemaking, misbehaving chipies he lives with do indeed require the patience of Job. Maybe more. Will God give it to him, this patience Antoine asks for? Let’s hope so; he’s going to need it. These bitches aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.