I’ve been hired to find out why some clothes are not being returned to patients at a nursing home in Newport Beach, California, even though these clothes are marked. I went down to the lavadero as a place to start my investigation and watched some señoras jóvenes selecting clothes that they put in their armarios or coches. I know that stealing from anyone, whether they are rich or poor, is incorrect, but part of me understands why they do it. My idea was to be employed as a deaf lavandera and just listen to what was going on around me, then I would take my findings to the administration. After explaining what I think is happening, I’d ask for a raise for the señoras jóvenes. ¿Son mis aspiraciones/sueños demasiado altos? Will any of this help?
Are your aspirations/dreams too high? What do you think? You want to play-act as a sorda, rat out the laundry workers, and then ask that they receive a raise? You really don’t think the bosses will fire them, or even call immigration? And trying to justify robbing viejitos and the sick? I don’t care how poor a Mexican is — a good Mexican honors the elderly and enfermos. Only a cretin would steal from them — or a Guatemalan.
What’s the deal with all the Mexican song lyrics about lágrimas and llorando? We all know most Mexican men are más machos dudes and all that, so why all the songs about tears and crying? Even if a gabacho cries, he doesn’t try to advertise it and certainly does not sing about it in 80 percent of the songs on the radio. ¿Por qué lloras?
— Gabacho Seco del Norte
Dear Dry Gabacho of the North,
Why do I cry? Why isn’t there a reason to cry for a Mexican man in this country? Besides a higher-than-average unemployment rate for us, narco-violence in our patria, horrendous high-school dropout rates for our kids, too many mexicanas marrying gabachos, and Mexico losing badly in the FIFA World Cup, an hombre’s life right now is rather miserable. But you know what? We’re not afraid to llorar y llorar, as the great Vicente Fernández wailed. Sure, most of the crying in songs refer to some ingrata with saucer eyes and chichis worthy of Brazzers.com, but the flip side of macho is vulnerability — you’ll have to buy my book for a further explanation, but know right now that you gabacho men can learn something from our soft side. Finally? You say gabachos don’t advertise when they cry, which probably means you must think Frank Sinatra circa In the Wee Small Hours was a pussy — and if you do, you have no sense of manhood, son!
GOOD MEXICANS OF THE WEEK! PBS doesn’t commission nearly enough documentaries or series on Mexicans — sorry, execs, but rebroadcasting that Sesame Street episode when Linda Ronstadt sang with a Muppet mariachi isn’t enough — so it’s heartening to know that it aired The Longoria Affair last week. This powerful, thoughtful documentary covers one of the most disturbing episodes of discrimination in the annals of America: the refusal of a funeral home in Three Rivers to allow the body of Felix Longoria — an Army private killed in action during World War II — to lie in state on account of him being Mexican, and the insistence by town fathers that Longoria’s family bury him in the segregated part of the backwater’s cemetery. The resulting furor sparked national attention and still divides Three Rivers decades later. Ask your local PBS affiliate to air The Longoria Affair again, or — better yet — buy your own copy at thelongoriaaffair.com.•