Tonight, W and I will be huddled around our TV watching the season premiere of A&E’s Hoarders.
Hoarders is a TV favorite of mine.
I started out with Clean House a few years back and soon moved up to the more heavy hitting Hoarders. It’s like starting out drinking Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers and transitioning to Mad Dog 20/20 straight from the bottle. Hoarders is Clean House on crack. Sorry, Niecy Nash.
I find it inspiring watching real-life people turn their lives around. If someone can clean up a doublewide loaded down with used Depends and petrified rat droppings in three days, why can’t I lose 30 pounds or write a short story or clean out my car?
Plus, it’s absolutely fascinating to see how some kind of trauma — a fire, a death, abuse — can cause someone to start collecting things like Chihuahuas or troll dolls. The human brain is a strange place.
Every episode of Hoarders features two hoarding situations. There’s always the basic hoarder, or level A hoarder, who maintains a house that is over-cluttered with run-of-the-mill things like paperwork, books, dishes, clothing. These are incompetent hoarders who really aren’t all that great at hoarding.
At the other end of the spectrum are the hardcore hoarders, or level F hoarders.
(Note: This is my personal gradient hoarding scale based on U.S. bra cup sizes. Small cup = small hoarding problem. Larger cup = larger hoarding problem. Scale can be adapted for almost every situation involving degrees or levels.)
Anyway, the hardcore hoarder might collect his own urine in Mountain Dew bottles or kitten carcasses or orphans from Vietnam. Extreme hoarders typically have homes crawling with insects and rodents and riddled with toxic mold and bacteria. Feces — fresh or petrified — is always involved in some capacity. You usually have to enter their residences by crawling through some type of primitive Chunnel system that might have been dug out by pet prairie dogs or Cambodian tunneling monkeys. These hoarders often face dire situations such as homelessness, institutionalization, illness.
Enter Dr. Robin Zasio.
In her voice over, Dr. Zasio informs the viewer that she is an expert in extreme hoarding.
The basic hoarders — or ineffectual hoarders — are assigned experts who are “extreme cleaners” or “professional organizers.”
Not so in extreme cases. A&E calls on Dr. Zasio when a hoarder’s very life is at stake.
Dr. Zasio is just like the Avengers, but there is only one of her.
I find myself instantly calmed when Dr. Zasio appears on the screen. She is gentle and soothing in voice and manner. She can walk into a home filled with overflowing buckets of cow semen and vampire blood and not be phased. “What do we have going on over here, Chester?” she might ask.
Certainly, Dr. Zasio with her long blonde locks and broad smile is easy on the eyes. Not really my type though, as I prefer a fuller-figured woman with darker hair. But I’m certain Dr. Zasio has a pleasant bedside manner. And, I have to admit that the thought of sleeping with a psychologist is a bit thrilling. You get free therapy. Sweet. And, she would be specially trained to use reverse psychology in bed. Which is kind of hot. “You don’t want me to do what?”
W thinks I am obsessed with Dr. Zasio because I find her comforting. She knows that every little thing stresses me out, like when the kids leave wrappers on the floor in the TV room or the cat poops outside the litter box or I have to fold fitted sheets.
Mostly, I love Dr. Zasio because she is nonjudgmental. She doesn’t think less of people because they use empty oatmeal cylinders for toilets or store dead cats in a freezer.
I don’t think Dr. Zasio would care that I need to lose a few pounds, dust the house or paint the front porch. She wouldn’t laugh if I told her that I started a diet this morning but ate a box of Suzy Qs at 10 a.m. or that I have a fear of produce stands and people on stilts.
The world could use a whole lot more of Dr. Robin Zasio, if you ask me.
If you think about it, we’re really all just one tragedy away from hoarding our urine in two-liter plastic soda bottles.