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
Wednesday, June 28
In Las Vegas for reasons that may or may not become apparent. I operate in a world of shadows.
Thursday, June 29
Leaving Las Vegas. Yes, it's 10:30 in the morning as I bid Lady Vegas adieu—she demurs, feigns boredom, hands me my car keys and waits for a tip. Myself, my kids and my 74-year-old mother climb into the car for the four-hour drive home, though I'll let you in on a little secret: the trip is not going to take four hours. It will take 11 hours because 11 miles out of Baker, where resides the slowest Starbucks staff in the world—the WORLD!—a big rig and some small cars will get all kissy, then crashy, then somewhat explodey, closing down both lanes of the 15 South because apparently this Las Vegas thing is just a fad, so why would we need more than two—TWO!—lanes? It will take us four hours to go 11 miles from Baker to the site of the accident.
We amuse ourselves one way or another: we discuss Nanny and the Professorand mad-dog truck drivers, and we urinate in nearby scrub brush in 117-degree heat—I pee the body electric! But the highlight is a protracted recording session in which my children coax and cajole my mother into singing a verse from the Oscar-winning "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp." My mother resists, offering, "Oh, that song is vulgar." To which my daughter deadpans, "Hey, they're just speaking the truth the way they know it, from the street." Mom: "Well, I just don't think it's right." Daughter: "Well, Nana, don't you think it is hard out there for a pimp?" Mom: "Well, I suppose it is. You know, I don't know." I love my mom. Did I mention it was 117 degrees outside? Anyway, the kids eventually get my mom to sing the song, which is amazing because I couldn't talk this woman into buying me $14 sneakers—"They're just going to get dirty!" And so my mom, in 117-degree heat, is soon rapping,"It's hard out here for a pimp/When he tryin' to get this money for the rent," although there were a lot of missed takes, such as one that went "It's hard out there with the pimp" and "Pimps out there with the rent." But eventually she cut a usable portion that my son recorded and now uses as the ring tone on his cell phone.
Friday, June 30
Congratulations to The Orange County Registerand Lori Froelich of Ladera Ranch for succinctly summing up the American view of illegal immigration, which is, basically, we want them here to do our stuff, we just don't want them to want to be here to have any kind of life of their own. I mean, what are these people, animals? Froelich is quoted in a Thursday Register story about area hospitals getting federal funds to treat illegal immigrants. Froelich complains that she got no help paying her medical bills after a pregnancy years ago, saying, "Here I am, making $100-a-month payments and I'm fully insured, and my illegal nanny has her baby totally for free." America, thy name is Froelich. We want cheap labor. We'll settle for cheap, illegal labor. But we'll be God-damned if that cheap, illegal labor enjoys something resembling a life. It's just the kind of thing you'd expect from the Register, which also ran a story about Mexico's own Draconian immigration laws—a very popular theme in the American press, speaking as it does to a certain segment of outraged Americans. Outraged Americans like "Cassie," having reflected on the story, responded on the Register-owned SqueezeOC.com website, "i fuckin hate beaners i wish they would either go bak to their fuckin country or just burn inn helllll!!!!!!!!" And then there was the enigmatically dubbed "Beaner hater" who, surprisingly, thoughtfully observed, "The only good beaner is a dead beaner! Period . . . end of story, no if's, and's, or but's about it."
Saturday, July 1
Would the being or nonbeing who's been pressing my face into a pillow at night please cease? This brings up a question: "Can ghosts kill?" Discuss and advise.
Sunday, July 2
Monday, July 3
I'm driving on America's funnest freeway, the Garden Grove (22), and I come to that series of bitchen, hardcore S-curves, and, as I turn into the second one, I notice that one of the freeway signs has three squiggly arrows informing the driver that how they perform over the next 26 seconds will have a significant effect on whether they go home in one piece or as a fireball. And it occurs to me that the squiggly arrows look a lot like spermatozoa doing what spermatozoa do. And when I come into work, I mention this, and Will Swaim starts telling me that, in Freudian theory, the death impulse and the sex impulse compete to reproduce and destroy all life, and then he gives me the German name for each and makes sure that I spell them correctly. And then Gustavo Arellano brings up the movie Crash, which is not the movie Crash about that bane of racism, but the movie Crash about the bane of people having sex during car accidents. And that gets Theo Douglas talking about his wife being in Argentina, and soon Swaim is trying to guilt me into eating the Salvadoran food we got delivered to the office by telling me how I was disappointing all the poor El Salvadorans. And I just knew this would happen when I got my sandwich from Togos because eating has just got to be a political statement around this office. And can't a man just have some coldcuts? Who did coldcuts ever hurt? What secret war did coldcuts conduct? What international treaty did coldcuts violate? And Theo is still whining about his wife. Can't a man simply walk into the center of an office, announce loudly that a freeway sign has what appears to be three spermatozoa desperate to fertilize an egg on it, and be left in peace? Whatever happened to professionalism?
Tuesday, July 4
Independence . . . how's that working out?