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 are Mexicans always selling oranges on street corners? Is that like the national fruit of Mexico?
A. Hot Tamale
What do you want them to sell—Steinways? Oranges are easy to carry, in demand year-round and earn vendors great profits. According to Dolores, who sells oranges off the 91 freeway/Euclid on-ramp in Anaheim, she can earn almost $100 per week hawking the fruit. That averages out to more than $5,000 per year—and since it's the underground economy, she doesn't pay taxes! But, no, oranges aren't Mexico's national fruit—it's our most secret of assault weapons. Ever see the movie Born in East L.A., a 1987 Cheech Marin vehicle that is Mexico's Nanook of the North? Marin's character, Rudy, sells oranges in Tijuana to earn enough cash for his passage across the border. Rudy ends up giving most of his inventory away, though, to a destitute family. That same family eventually saves Rudy from a beating when they chuck oranges at his assailants. If Santa Ana cops are smart, they'll arm residents with one-pound bags of oranges. Betcha that'll do more to stop the city's recent drive-by murder epidemic than the P.D.'s current crime-stopping strategy of harassing those annoying street vendors.
Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at email@example.com. And those of you who do submit questions: give your name or a pseudonym, por favor, or I'll make one up for you!