Thursday, July 30, 2009

Private study on the wilderness proves that it can kill you.

One day, my friend and I decided that it would be nice to take a hike on a mountain in the wildlife refuge near town. It seems strange to me now that it started that innocently, a little whim no more dangerous than 'hey, let's go for a jog!' or, 'it's so nice out, lets head to the park!'

So we went to the mountains on this whim, choosing the top of "Charon's Gardens" as our destination. Things went perfectly fine.... at first. We went up the side of the mountain in more or less forty five minutes, no problem. We reached the top Charon's Gardens soon enough, and then, we made our error.

"I thought you said there were caves up here?" I asked.

"Yeah, there's supposed to be... maybe they're up there." My friend responded.

"Well let's go up there then!"

I wish I could rewind to that point, right there, when I suggested it. If I could, I would give myself a good old fashioned open-handed Mexican slap across the face, and then tell myself to go home. Just go home!!

But no, we kept on going.... only to find a buffalo blocking our path. The buffalo, none to be trifled with, looked pretty menacing. So we would simply go around the buffalo then climb back down, right? Simple enough....


Two hours, one rattlesnake, and what seemed to be an Indonesian typhoon later, I began cursing the buffalo. It was, after all, the buffalo's fault that we were lost in this god forsaken wilderness, and no fault of my own.

No, it was the buffalo, its black eyes a soulless pit of death, who had blocked our way and made us take this detour of doom. As I picked my way through what seemed like the thousandth thorny bush, I began to think how I might exact my revenge on this buffalo if I ever got out of this mess.

What's worse, I thought, is that at this very moment the buffalo is busy not giving a damn. The buffalo is probably still grazing on that stupid patch of grass that it was grazing on before. Blind to my suffering, unfeeling.

It was when the turkey vultures started flying above us that I was ready to call it quits. They sent a very strong message to me... a message that said,

"Now, there's a great number of woodland animals on this mountain. Yet, you are the best candidates for death. Not the wounded deer, not the old antelope, nor the sickly squirrel, it is you."

It really didn't matter, though, that I was ready to call it quits. Nature didn't care. Matter of fact, nature sent a rattlesnake my way under a rock just to show that it really didn't mind if I made it out alive or just became a delicious turkey vulture snack. It wasn't even rooting for one prospect or the other, that's how nature operates, it doesn't care either way.

I began thinking of stupid things, about how I had the show Burn Notice on TiVo and it would be a shame if I didn't see it tonight because I was lost on a mountain. I began wondering if I really could fashion a lean-to out of twigs and rocks if necessary. I began wondering... if maybe on the top of the mountain I could get some service on my cell phone?

It was a long shot, service obviously doesn't really get to phones in the wilderness. But somehow, some way, it worked on top of that mountain. So we made it back, after all that wandering, and I got to see my Burn Notice episode. I even forgave the buffalo, thinking that though it had sent me spiraling down a mountain packed with rattlesnakes, dead ends, and torrential rain... I at least got a story out of it.

Man on the Moon

I was watching the History Channel, my trusted companion during summer vacations, and saw something rather unsettling. It was talking about stars, and how they can accumulate little satellites over time, things that orbit around their pull of gravity.

They orbit that star and make up it's own little universe, a microcosm of the infinite nothingness (or everything-ness?) around it. But they have a little timer in their core, a pre-destined date of expiration, and on that day suddenly the gasses just implode on themselves and can't sustain the little star anymore.

The satellites, things like meteors and such orbiting around the star, just shoot off into space. Some are destroyed, some just find another pull of gravity to rotate around. That's it, bah, the star is gone and everything is redistributed.


The looming college experience has been sending me off into random moods lately. I get very cranky sometimes, snappy for no reason. Then I tell myself I have only a few weeks left to enjoy truly being an inhabitant of this town, and I should enjoy it. I feel better for a while, then I get very, very depressed. I start to push away the people I care about so I can be alone. Then I tell myself I'm only an hour and a half away and really it's not that big of a deal.

Had I accepted my admission letter to Duke University, well yes, things would change because I would be a plane ride away. Yet, nothing is settling me. I'm distraught, and very unstable for some reason still.

I really shouldn't be that attached to Lawton. What has Lawton done for me lately? I'll drive through it and just see the million and one markers of memories around town.

'There goes that Catholic school which I despised attending.'

'There goes my middle school that I despised attending.'

'There goes my high school which I loved and hated all at the same time.'

'There goes the mall where I had my first kiss with my then girlfriend.'

'There goes my best friend's house.'

'There goes the Mexican restaurant I worked at.'

'There it all goes....'

Lawton, though I never really cherished it, really is an integral part of me. I may have had a whole lot of bad times, and generally cursed the population of the place, but... here it was, it was me. From torturous bullies to good times with friends, from nuns to hick teachers, from the awful years to the good ones, it was all me.

I guess now that I'm about to more or less remove myself from it, I never noticed how much like one of those stars on History Channel I was. I had my own little pull of gravity, I had things revolving around me that made up my world. Some good, some bad. Some I wish I could get rid of, some I desperately want to keep. And I guess I'm about to reach that pre-destined expiration date where I explode in a torrent of hot gas and solar flares and everything around me either explodes with me or just shoots off to join some other star, some other pull of gravity, something that's not... me.

I guess that's what I'm most afraid of. That I'm just like one of those stars on the History Channel, and I'll just go bah, and it will be like I was never there.

I'm only an hour and a half away, I'm only an hour and a half away, though sometimes I feel like I'm going to the moon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dances With Wolves and Cowboys

I feel strongly about writing a little something over my "hometown" Cache, America. This won't be the first time, either. I may take one or two liberties, but I assure you, it's sadly not that exaggerated.

There were two different camps in Cache. On one side, you had the cowboys. The good ole' boys. Western plaid shirts, country accents, Wrangler jeans with a big circular mark on the back pocket where chewing tobacco cases had worn in an indentation, you get the idea.

On the other side were the 'Indians' who ranged from short and skinny to real earth-shakers. When I exited Catholic school, I started the sixth grade in Cache, Oklahoma. A lot of my classes were indicative of the two sides, Indians here, Cowboys there. Not to say there wasn't diversity, there was also the enormous special-ed department and a black dude. Well, he was more or less known as the black dude.

So when I arrived, a half Mexican, I awkwardly settled in the Indian territory. They were just more accepting. With the white cowboys it was all, "Well what 'n the hell are yoouu?"

I'm Mexican, well, half anyway. And I am half white."

"Mexi-Can huh? I guess you looookit. Hey boys, ask him what he is."

I never understood this aspect of pack mentality. I suppose they had wanted to know too, but really, he couldn't just relay what I had just said later? Perhaps the next time they all convened behind the school to enjoy their no doubt lively conversation in between chomps on their chewing tobacco one might mention, "Oh, you know that new fellow that just started school here?" One might ask,

"Yes, yes, he's in my English class! Why do you ask?"

"Well, I asked him today what race he is and he told me he was half Mexican and half white. Isn't that something?"

"Oh, how progressive!"

With the Indians, however, it was more like... "Yeah what up what tribe you from."

"I'm Mexican."

"Damn close enough I guess."

I enjoyed how they handled this. I felt like I could have said anything and would still be something like a Cherokee. Like if I had said "Czechoslovakian", or "Arabian", they would still say "Damn close enough."

"Want a smoke?" One asked me.

"No, I don't smoke." I said it with an air of accomplishment and almost laughed at myself. As if in my short life I had been given every opportunity in the world to take up the habit, me, a Catholic school kid. Then I thought of nuns toking up behind the church and almost choked trying to keep myself from laughing.

Then a Pow-Wow came to town, and everyone was invited. Well, not so much invited... in Cache, it was mandatory that we all attend. It was always the Indians sitting up front while the cowboys sat in the back looking depressed, no doubt thinking of all the tobacco they could be chewing.

"Welcome to the powww-woow, puh-lease take yer seats, thank yuh." Cache residents were notorious for their lifelessness and apathetic voices. A few people came out to set up the giant drum, and then I saw her, the enchantress, the Indian Princess.

In my memory she looked like Pocahontas, beautiful copper skin and a curvaceous body, though in reality she was chunky. She was actually quite chunky indeed. I think it was powerful suggestion that rewrote her in my personal history, the term princess just made it impossible for me to see her as the chunky woman who had just downed a six pack backstage.

When the pow-wow was over, I met up with her as we were walking back to class.

"Hi!" I said, poking her dress to get her attention.

"Hey there." She said, pulling a cigarette from her tribal fringed purse.

"I really like pow-wows," I said, trying to make conversation, "I'm Mexican but I still really do."

She took a deep breath on her cigarette then puffed a ring of smoke, "Mexican, huh? Y'all did a number on Geronimo's folks. Well kid, I gotta go. Have a good day."

Then she just up and left. At first I felt heartbreak, but then later I felt angry. She had basically denied my genuine interest and blew smoke in my face. What kind of girl is that, anyway? Smoke-ahontas and I would never come to be.

After that, I kind of shyed away from the Indians... but never warmed up to the cowboys either. So I just kind of drifted, somewhere in between, where there was just... me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mexican Cockfight

The feeling I experience when hanging around Lita, I imagine, is like the feeling girls get when shopping.

'Ooh, where can I wear this? Can I mix and match it with different things?' they might ask, enjoying the thrill of getting new stuff. My new stuff comes every time Lita speaks. The woman is a goldmine of writing material. Every once and a while she'll say something just too good to be true, something about race relations or politics or picking cotton, and I'll think to myself: 'That was awesome! When can I quote that? Can I make a story around that?'

Having one crazy Mexican lady around is more than I need for two books worth of material, but when I hear that her sister is coming into town, I mark it on my calendar. "Hey JP, want to hang out on Friday?" My best friend might ask, to which I'd respond "NO! Lupe is in town!" It's a matter of having my priorities straight.

Theirs is a story of two sisters that have been at each others throats since WWI, and when they're in the same vicinity, it's like a Mexican cockfight. I once had the privilege of observing one of their battles when Lupe came to Wichita Falls, Texas, no more than a thirty minute drive from us, to visit a relative. It went a little something like this...

"Well I'm so glad you stopped by Lupe, I know you miss out on everything in Colorado." Lita said this in a way that insinuated Lupe was actually missing something. It was as if the second she packed up and left we would give the all clear sign and bring the carnival back into town.

"Oh yes, I'll have to come more often. The sun is so strong here during the summer though, look you're getting darker." The little room abounded with foreign accents and Mexican phlegm.

"Well, anyways, have a good time. We'll be going now. Vaminos"

I was very disappointed at this announcement, I had a front row seat to what was supposed to be a fight. It was like getting box seats to a Yankee game and then hearing that it was canceled five minutes into play, or preparing to watch two lions fight over a gazelle carcass on a safari and then driving away from it.

We were walking through the front lawn to our car when I heard it,

"God, you've gotten short. I didn't notice until you stood up."

'Yes, yes, YES!' I thought, putting my 'TEAM LITA' shirt back on and racing to the battle scene.

"Lupe, I'm not having this argument. You've always been shorter than me and you're just jealous. That's all, bah. Vaminos"

"I doubt it, you go like that to me." At the word 'that', Lupe pounded her flat open hand on her neck to show that, were she standing in front of her, the top of Lita's head would go there. She did this in a hard way that made me hold my own throat and gag.

Lita's eyes narrowed, she pointed an accusing finger, "Lupe, you have always been shorter than me, you always will be shorter than me, and you will die shorter than me!"

"Let's measure and go back to back. What? You scared? Si, si, you scared! Get in your car and drag yourself back to Oklahoma, shortcake!"

"What what? I'm not scared! C'mon then," at this point I was jumping for joy, thinking that Lita might actually hit her, "let's go, back to back, let's go!"

The two slowly backed into one another, and noticing that Lita might in fact be taller, Lupe pulled another insult from her arsenal,

"Maybe if your ass wasn't so huge I could go back to back! But bah, I don't even fit!"

I danced like a happy dolphin dances at Seaworld for tuna.

"Aver, uh huh, uh huh, you know I'm taller! You see it, you all see it! Deal with it Lupe! Baha--ah--hack-ah!"

When we got back home, I was asked how my little day trip was.
"Perfect." I said.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Content Hobo

I have a name for my look, if you can even go so far as to call it a look.

I thought of it one day as I was walking through the mall and caught a glance at msyelf in one of those random mirrors in Dillard's. I like to call my look, The Content Hobo.

It really does make sense. Usually, and especially during the summertime, I have a routine where I roll out of bed, grab my basketball shorts and a t-shirt from one of my 1,001 high school clubs, and then walk out into the world to do whatever it is I do during my day. They aren't even really good high school club t-shirts, by the way. They look like the kind that you might find tsunami relief-effort volunteers tossing indiscriminately to crowds of naked villagers.

I've always been this way, and by this way, I don't mean the usual 'ohhh boys just don't care what they look like do they now?' way. I mean the 'daddy, can I please give that poor homeless boy the rest of my burger?' kind of way. I remember when I was in the sixth grade, freshly released from the oppression of Catholic school uniforms, I wore the same shirt every Monday and Friday. The shirt was from my dad, well he didn't really give it to me so much as I took it in as my own. He got it from his company while doing some kind of volunteer work involving children, the shirt was three sizes too big for me and was a kind of heather gray, or as I like to call it, oatmeal.

Across the chest were emblazoned the words, 'I Am My Kid's Dad', with the word 'Dad' being written in a scribbly font and with three different colors, one for each letter. Now, obviously, my classmates knew better. It was almost a given that I was not my kid's dad. I say almost though because I think a tiny, tiny part of them was saying 'well, you never know these days.' I know how mean kids can be, but for some reason, they were intimidated by the shirt. Too intimidated to walk up to me and ask, 'Oh, you have kids huh? With who?' I think it was the same kind of intimidation you get when you see an absolute ragmuffin walking the streets. If he were your uncle or cousin, you could say 'what the hell are you wearing?!' But because they didn't know me that way, and it was a public school, I could very well be a switchblade weilding vagabond of the hood.

It's a tradition I carry with me even today. I have nice things, I buy lots of nice things, but I don't wear them. I think if I wore nice things everyday, people would just expect it and get disappointed when I showed up with my black and neon green shirt with an air freshener on it that says 'Youth Council keeps it fresh!'

Also central to my philosophy is the effect it would have on my self esteem. As a hobo, I can think to myself 'Yeah, I could look nice if I really wanted to. Today I just don't feel like it. You'll just have to catch me on a day when I'm on top of my game.'

If I actually dressed nicely every day, I would think to myself 'well, this is as good as it gets, and it's still not doing me any good. I go through the effort of digging through my disheveled drawers to find a shirt from an actual store and no one appreciates it. I've plateaued.'

As you can see, the latter is not a fun thought to have. So, right now anyway, I'm perfectly happy to walk the streets of Lawton with my Mexican Superman shirt that I got from Spanish Club, thinking that if I really, really wanted to, I could look sharp. I just simply choose not to. For now, I'm perfectly content being a hobo.

If you like fashion, though, I suggest this blog... I doub't you'll get any pointers from mine!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Pessimist Society

I don't know a whole lot about what starts pessimism in a person, but I certainly know what doesn't end it: optimistic people.

God, there's nothing worse than an optimistic person, filled with the joy of life, skipping over to you across a flowery field to say to you: "C'mon, life is good! Why are you so negative?"

Then you, with your eternal rain cloud hovering above your head, can only shrug and say "I dunno." The positive person will eventually move on to go hang out with other positive people so they can pick bouquets for the elderly, teach baseball to the disabled, and make corny jokes about the weather with anyone they happen to bump into during their frantic skipping. 'I'm just as good as they are,' you say, glaring, "why, I volunteer and make jokes. What makes them any better?" The black raven perched on your shoulder then asks, "who was that?"

I've accepted that pessimism is just who I have to be. It's not like I have any other choice. While my classmates in elementary school were singing Old McDonald had a farm, I was reading Animal Farm and discovering what canniving beasts animals really are when you're not looking. Old McDonald's days were probably numbered, it was only a matter of time before the oink-oink pig plotted a successful revolt and led the other animals to a socialist government. While my Catholic school classmates drew pictures of a cross and a sun with the words 'Happy Easter Mommy!' on it, I chose to draw the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. There's the Bible stories where Jesus turns water into wine, and then there are the real action stories where God brings fire down upon the heretics, sparing only a select few. I enjoyed the latter.

Anyway, I feel now that the only way pessimistic people can possibly feel better about the world they inhabit is simply to encounter other equally negative pessimists. Hence: The Pessimist Society.

I haven't got the rules all straight in my head yet, but it will go something like this...


You've been accepted as a member of The Pessimist Society! It requires absolutely no skill to become a member, but still, it's something right?

As a new member, you've been awarded the level of The Order of the Half-Empty Glass.

It's also the only level, we would make more... but we figure people lack the dedication to really move up from there.

In fact, we would continue the rules but we sincerely doubt that anyone will follow them. In the first place, we need readers and members and that probably won't happen either. We're just a group floating out in cyberspace, eating up bandwidth.... you know?


Well, hopefully it would be better than that. Perhaps I'll make a Pessimist Club to counter the Optimist Club. Who knows, all I know is that it's in the works! I'll post an official Facebook link to the group when it's finished!

Assuming I have the drive to create it in the first place... who knows... I probably don't :(

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Taco Bell, Ayn Rand, and the History Channel.

Nothing good happens after midnight, and this includes my mood. So, I guess I'm just going to write it out.

Sometimes I think I might be a negative, or pessimistic person, and the worst kind too! The kind that thinks they have every right to be negative. Still, sometimes it can't be helped. For example...

I went to patronize my friendly neighborhood Taco Bell today, fully intent on buying myself a chicken quesadilla. I walked to the front counter and no one was there. Normally, I'd get really pissed off and glare at anyone doing anything other than asking for my order, a trait I picked up from my mother. But I was in an exceptionally good mood, so I decided to give them the benefit of a doubt. I myself have worked in the food business, and I knew there was a multitude of things they could be doing. Maybe there was a small grease fire in the back, and a lone worker was trying to extinguish it. Thinking of this scenario suddenly made me feel guilty.

Finally, a woman came to the counter. She laid her hands on top of the cash register and gave me a look that said, "What?" An aggravated what, the what a mother gives her child while she's on the phone but the child won't stop interrupting her conversation to beg for food before he or she starves to death.

"Ummm I'll have a chicken quesadilla and a medium sweet tea and that's all." I packed a lot of my feelings into that ummm, I can only hope she spent a few minutes analyzing it in her head until she finally arrived at the conclusion that I was pissed.

She took a cup and slapped it on the counter, giving me another look. Except this one said, "take it, bitch."

It's my pet peeve, anyone will tell you, when I see service people giving you an attitude. My friend once almost had to witness me attacking a Subway sandwich artist because she wouldn't stop throwing metal cookie sheets around and sounding whiney to the customers. I just hate it. It might be because I hated working at Rosa's but I still kept a good attitude, at least to peoples' faces. It might be because I feel that if someone is paying you to do something then why aren't you doing it right? It might just be because, again, I am inherently negative person. Who knows? I just know that I get extremely annoyed by it.

In addition, I think Ayn Rand has hijacked my sanity. I'm reading Atlas Shrugged in order to enter a scholarhip about the book. I made it past the first chapter. Okay that was a lie, I read the bulk and got the gist of chapter one. Some parts were just begging me to skip them. Like when what's-his-face wouldn't stop whining about how his oak tree got struck by lightening. SUCK IT UP!

I know a lot of people support her philosophies, and that's fine with me, I just feel that the book is an enormous bitch-slap because it assumes you can make it past chapter 4 without getting sick of the adjective "mockingly" and names like Dingy Taggert. Or Dagny Tiggert. Dandy Tavern? Whatever, her female characters are hoes anyway. In addition, she expects you to read every word of her 1,008 page book which is really just her manifestos as shouted via radio by John Galt. In short: Atlas shrugged, and I shrug with him. You can't fully trust a book written by an author who can't even spell Anne.

Aside from exercise and my light summer reading, I've been watching a ton of the History Channel and have come to the conclusion that it hates people, and even more than I do!

It shows stuff like Life After People, where it goes through crazy scenarios in which our empty homes are consumed by termites, bears lord over the roads, and of course, a multitude of monuments fall to the ground in a pile of rubble. It's the staple of a genre nowadays, you can't make a movie without tipping the Eiffel Tower or biting off the Statue of Liberty's head. A movie just isn't a movie anymore until a huge preying mantis is clawing away at the White House while battling a killer moth who, coincidentally, uses Big Ben as a nest.

If it's not discussing scenarios about life after you're all dead, it's talking about ways to get rid of you in the first place. The Bible is a great place to start for the History Channel, for it's full of armageddon. There's fire and earthquakes and tribulation all over the place. Not a Christian? Don't worry, the History Channel has other options. A tsunami perhaps, and if you're not a coast-dweller, then an earthquake will finish you off. If none of the above works, there's still the chance that at any given moment a comet will strike and end us all.

The History Channel concedes that none of the above may happen, and in fact, you may live to see another day. So then they want to make sure that you're as paranoid as possible while still alive. I can see the History Channel, angry that not so much as a moon rock has fallen from the sky and no visible signs of bears roaming the highway, saying something like...
"oh, yeah maybe the comet thing didn't happen... looks like we get to live after all! I just wish we didn't have to deal with the aliens... sigh... what's that? You haven't heard of the pending alien invasion? Watch The UFO Files, that will surely convince you. You know, sometimes I wish we were all wiped out at once due to a massive solar flare... then we wouldn't have to deal with the ghost hauntings... WHAT?! Never heard of the ghost hauntings?! Watch This Haunted House, that will teach you a thing or two."

In short, the History Channel's main message is that you may not be dead yet, but you soon will be, and then nature can slowly take over your home. While waiting for the inevitable apocalypse at the hands of God or natural disasters, enjoy being visited by UFOs and ghosts.

I think I've written too much, but that's just all that's on my mind right now.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Both is Beautiful!

"So what's your last name? Naw wait, don't tell me! Gonzalez, Hernandez... some ezz." I stood there in silence as my co-worker cackled and walked away without my reply. I breathed a sigh of relief, little did she know that my last name was so far from any of those that in fact it had crossed the Atlantic and lived in Germany.

I felt awkward and slightly sick, the feeling you get after you've told a big fat lie to someone. I felt nasty and kind of dirty because I was mixed. I wasn't what everyone thought I was. I gave her every reason to believe that I was fully Mexican: I was wearing the world's most convincing costume. Rosa's Cantina was emblazoned on my hat, my skin had been recently blackened by the summer sun, I had the physical features of a Hispanic, I was wearing my bracelet from Mexico with Our Lady of Guadalupe on every bead, and at the very moment of our conversation I had happened to be rolling tortillas. I looked like some kind of exaggerated stereotype, like a character you might find someone dressed as on Halloween. That person would have to be incredibly racist to come as The Tortilla Maker, but you get the idea.

For some reason, I kind of enjoyed it. I enjoyed it when customers would come in and think, "There's some Mexican kid working at a Mexican restaurant." And I would think to myself, "Why yes, I am that Mexican kid! How kind of you to notice." The whole thing was like a show I had put on for myself, a front that I had created that maybe, just maybe, I would actually start to believe. I'm not usually in the business of fooling myself, but this was an exception. I didn't want to be mixed anymore, mixed is confusing.

Mixed meant people stopping me to guess my race, and me having to say meekly that I was Hispanic. Mixed meant being called "too white" everytime I showed any sign of academic success. Mixed meant I had to deal with America's disapproval of Mexicans while at the same time not truly feeling Mexican myself. So maybe, if I tried hard enough, I would convince myself that I was simply one thing.

I started to lose faith in my plan after a random redneck cussed at me for speaking Spanish in front of him. I suppose at that point I said to myself, "Hmmm, maybe I'm doing this too well and in fact have become too Mexican." After my hillybilly assaliant had exited, I had some reflecting to do. I had to come to terms with being mixed.

It wasn't easy. I think maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, I run searches on google for things that I know will make me mad. For example, I felt the urge to get the KKK's philosophy on mixed people... just to see things from a racist point of view. After learning that mixed people are in fact the scourge of the earth, I felt no better. How would I reconcile the two races in me? My internal dialog went something like this, (I promise im not schizophrinic!):

"You're Mexican, it's undeniable, your mom is Mexican!"

"No I'm not, I'm half white and therefore not Mexican."

"Well you're not white either!"

"Maybe I am, just with something else in me. Like those white people that claim to have Cherokee in their blood because they have a picture of an Indian Chief in their grandparent's house."

"Well you don't look white! Have you checked the size of your lips lately?!"

Sometimes I insult myself for no reason.

"Well you don't look Mexican either!"

"Yes I do."

"No you don't."

"So maybe I'm just neither."

"Did you just quote the KKK?"

"But maybe I really am neither or nothing, race shouldn't matter so I should be okay with it."

"Everyone is something!"

"So are you Mexican?"


"So are you white?"


"Then what?!"

"Then what" is the question I had to answer, and here's what I've come up with... I'm both.
It's an over-simplified answer, but that's what makes it true. You see, I figured out I'm not inconsistent. I'm not a polka song that suddenly breaks halfway and becomes the Macarena. I'm not two different people in one body, and I'm not two halves that are constantly battling each other. I am one consistent mix, I'm both.

"So are you Mexican?"


"So are you white?"


It's the race of both. There will always be people telling you that you are one or the other, or that you are neither, but they're wrong. You aren't half and half, you're just one. It's not something to be confused about, just simplify it! Because both is beautiful.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Twisted Sister

Sometimes when I'm very bored or pretending to listen to someone, I begin slouching in my chair... and then I hear it, CRACK! The sound of a ruler smacking a desk.

With the rapid reflexes of a jungle-dwelling ocelot I spring back up in my chair, cursing the day I was ever forced to attend Catholic school.

Weird people aren't born weird, Catholic school makes them that way. If you see a man smoking weed in front of the mall with a towering pink mohawk and a giant nosering, you can bet that his parents are in the nearest church just begging the good Lord above to get their son to move out of the house. Following this logic makes it easy for me to blame everything wrong with me on Catholic school.

When I learned my first curse word in the seventh grade, I blamed Catholic school. In Lawton, you're a certified gangster as soon as you hit second grade. If you're not stealing things in the fifth grade from the nearest Wal Mart and bragging about it to your friends while incorporating three different obscene words in the retelling, then you're seriously slacking. In Catholic school, this was not so. In Catholic school, not eating your vegetables meant a stern talking to and five years added to your purgatory. Saying you didn't like a classmate meant a two-page written apology, and the risk of an eternity in hell. The apology lessens these chances.

But most of all, I blame everything on the first teacher I ever had: Sister Herman Mary, or the Herm for short. I guess it's just because I feel I started off wrong. In books and movies I always saw the same thing, a tender hearted twenty-something teacher kindly nurturing and reading stories to her attentive students. She always had a handkerchief when you were crying and always had snacks and games to bring to the table. Not the Herm, the only things the Herm brought to the table were ass-whoopings. Just as that tender hearted twenty-something southern belle never ran out of handkerchiefs and kind words, the Herm was never short on whoop-ass.

She wore thin silver-wire glasses, her gray hair always went in every single direction as if it was trying to flee from her scalp, and only cracked a smile when she saw that someone's uniform was untucked and she had the opportunity to ram it back into place with her giant, yellow, crooked nails. I find the whole uniform thing hypocritical in the first place, Jesus practically lived in a simple bath robe.

I still recall one particularly brutal day of kindergarten where we were all making art for the archbishop. Our job was to paint different colors on a styrofoam plate. My classmates were all using reds, yellows, blues, and pinks, and using the same colors would just make me feel like a conformist. So, always the artist, I chose to be edgier and use blacks and grays. After handing in all of our work, I felt like Picasso. I had broken the mold, no one could deny it. I envisioned the archbishop shuffling through twenty plates that all looked the same, tossing them one by one into the nearest garbage can, and then stopping as he reached mine. "Why, here's a creative little student!" he would say, "Now this one I will keep!"

Then I saw the Herm stomping towards me with my artwork in hand. I thought at first she might be coming to applaud my artistic efforts, but by the look on her face I began to doubt it.

"Do you know what the archbishop will think when he sees this?" she wheezed, the journey from one side of the room to the other had taken its toll on her.

"No." is what I said. I wanted to say, 'that he likes it', but I didn't think we were seeing eye to eye on this one.

"He will probably cry!" she declared, waving my black and gray plate in my face, "He will think you're a sad boy for making it so dark!" Her eyes narrowed, it was the kind of look a hawk gets when it sees a mouse in the field. I noticed my uniform was untucked. The Herm was ready to hand out yet another heavy dose of whoop-ass.

But not today, I had suffered enough today. I had been pushed to the egde. I darted for the door, leaving her yellow claws in my wind, still groping for something.

I ran out the door and into the boy's bathroom, hoping that she wouldn't follow me. I was wrong. I heard the door begin to open, and I darted into a stall and started making gagging noises. She waited. Eventually, I walked out.

"What was that?!" she demanded. I had to think quick.

"You made me sick, I got nervous and had to throw up."

She thought about it a while, grabbed me, walked me back to the classroom, and firmly sat me down in my seat. She was obviously too upset to just let it go, but too afraid that I might actually be sick and cause a conference.

I looked down at my plate, what at first was a masterpiece now looked like sad blobs of gray and black thrown randomly in every direction. I glared at the Herm, hoping that one day I would paint a masterpiece similar in nature to my plate, and then, in time, make my triumphant return just to rub it in her face.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Another trip to Texas + Lita's memory loss

The family and I yet again traveled down to Wichita Falls, Texas simply because they have a Target and we don't. Like any other car trip with my Lita, it involved her claiming that she had never traveled on this road with us before, claiming songs like Boom Boom Pow were from the 80's, and listening to her say "I picked cotton in that field right there mijo" after we passed any patch of land without trees. I laugh, but maybe she just picked a lot of cotton... who knows... she certainly doesn't.

Anyway, we went to Bill's Catfish in Waurika, a little catfish place that doesn't feel that it needs a sign saying who or what they are because anyone who goes there already knows who and what it is. I guess you don't have to advertise as much when your town population can only choose between you and Sonic. Anyway, the place has one of those signs that say: "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone!"

Naturally, I begin to wonder just who they would deny service to. I guess it is a small town in Oklahoma, and I guess you could be a minority, but still... we're Mexican and we got "service". So on what grounds do they deny someone? Does someone just walk in and the cashier just says "Oh hell no" and tells them to turn around and leave? I thought about it for a long time, then ultimately decided that they must be racist and today was just our lucky day.

After eating, we continued on to Wichita Falls. On the way, Lita tells us that she can't remember a certain part of her life and she's not sure which part it is. She says she lost it during the heart surgery where they gave her a pig's valve.

"Well you remember taking us everywhere when we were little, right Lita?" I ask.
"Oh you mean you, Alex, and the cousins?" She replies with more Mexican phlegm in her voice than ever.
"Nope. Nothin."
"You don't remember it at all?"
"....taking us to Texas, eating fried chicken every day, tortillas, longhorn cheese, the old van, picking pecans from public parks?!"
"Nope. But that stuff I don't wanna remember mijo I'm talking about how I forgot other important things."

It was a sucker punch, not only did this woman completely toss out any memories of me during my childhood but she chose to forget that part. The same woman who is completely excited to recall the days when she picked cotton would rather not go through the trouble of trying to recall my adorable toddler years.

"But you remember picking cotton, huh?" I say in a defeated tone.
"Oh yes, yes, yes, mijo that's the kind of stuff you remember. Ohhh it was so much fun, me and the kids picking cotton. See that field over there? I picked cotton right there."

I gave up, secretely hoping that if it was indeed her pig valve that removed all memory of her practically raising me then it also replaced those memories with the pig's memories... like hearing a dinner bell and rushing to the feeding trough for slop.

There was a long silence.

"See now mijo everywhere I go is like doing something I already did for the first time."
"I'm envious."

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Reverse racism doesn't exist

I keep hearing that term over and over again, reverse racism, as in people discriminating against white people.

But why? What's... reverse about it?

As a Mexican-American and a person of mixed race, I've been the recipient of some pretty racist comments... one time I was told I would work in construction the rest of my life: Racism. So, I'm supposed to believe that when a caucasian person is called something malicious by a non-white person, it's... reverse racism?

I want to know exactly who coined that phrase, was it started by white people or what? It just doesn't make sense. Reverse racism implies that when it's done correctly, it's against people of color. It makes me laugh to think there's a right way to do racism, or... a non-reverse way.

Yet all over the internet I see comments like: "Stop with your reverse racism!" I don't get it. It's like yes, you just called me a cracker, but because 75% of racist statements are directed towards non-white people, you did it wrong and reversely. Don't you know that when it comes from white people it's just the regular kind?

It's wrong on every level, to everyone.

1. If someone says racist and malicious things towards a white person, it is racism. There's nothing reverse about it. Just because usually one thinks of it being directed towards non-whites, it doesn't make it a different breed of hate.

2. If white people keep saying "reverse" racism, then it doesn't reflect well on them either. Yes, the person who said something to you is probably a bigot, probably immature, and probably not worth two seconds of time spent thinking about what was said. Yet, when you call it reverse racism, you imply that regular racism only comes from white people talking to non-white people. There is only one racism, and it's that feeling you get when you hate a certain race!!

I don't think we should start discriminating on discrimination itself, it's a waste of time. It's time spent labeling something that, one way or another, is still hate.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Rambling Insomniac: Vol. 1

Okay so maybe I'm not an insomniac, that would require a professional diagnosis. And I think I would know if there were really cool pills just laying about at my disposal. So I'm just a guy that stays up for absolutely no reason, knowing full well that I have a flight in the morning to California... I'm just that guy.

Well, I have had a ton of nights like these... and the thing is when I have them, I'm not really all there in the head. So I guess from now on I'll just blog here and laugh about the weird stuff I said in the morning... or cry, whatever. I'm so positive that there will be more nights like this, I titled this "Volume One." Many more installations to come... so, let's ramble!

I thought My Sister's Keeper was a different movie entirely, so when people brought it up I would always respond "Yeah it's supposed to be really funny." I glared at a "Sandwich Artist" at Subway the entire time she was making my sandwich because she kept laughing with her coworkers and looking pissed off everytime I interrupted her to request cheese. I had a dream last night that I was Jigglypuff in the Super Smash Brothers game. I was excited to purchase a new flavor of Special K the other day, one of the few things I get excited about nowadays. The flavor was cinnamon and pecan, and I was enraged to find it tasted exactly like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I cussed twice. When I learned the truth about the subject matter of My Sister's Keeper while watching a trailer on TV I laughed for 10 minutes, then felt awful and filthy. During our Father's Day dinner at Salas Mexican restaurant, my Lita pulled an old Lemon from her shirt pocket and put it in her water... she did this without an ounce of shame, and even told the waiter happily that she brought an extra lemon with her. Why can't I sleep?!?! It's really quiet down here. I have really weird tics, when I set my alarm I don't trust that it's actually set, so I get up to check it three or four times during the night. I guess I'm done here.