By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Illustration by Mark DancyDear Mexican,
Why do Mexicans love public restrooms so much? It seems like any one you visit in SoCal has a minivan-load of Mexicans waiting to get into it. Also, why do Mexicans wipe after a No. 2 and then throw the crappy toilet paper into the trash can rather than flushing it away? So gross! Let's try to put an end to that madness.
¡Felicidades! You have just stumbled upon the most surefire way to tell if a Mexican is fresh from the border—or, as Mexicans who have lived in this country for years like to describe them, "Si tienen un nopal en la frente" ("If they have a cactus growing from their forehead")! See, flushing toilets remain a novelty in rural Mexico, so Mexicans new to this country treat public restrooms with the same anticipatory awe Japanese tourists save for the Matterhorn—hence, the long lines. Regarding the popó-gunked Charmin: those precious few ranchos that do have indoor plumbing suffer from inferior pipes installed on the cheap by Mexico's government. Anything heavier than last night's menudo would rupture the sewage system and ruin the rancho's water supply, so used toilet paper must go in the wastebasket. Nopal-wearing Mexicans keep this tradition long after emigrating here, though . . . can you do me a favor, gabacho, and tell nopaleros that here in los Estados Unidos, we're much more sophisticated with our No. 2—we flush it into the ocean.
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, the Mexican won't answer questions next week—he needs to cook tamales for the January run across the border.