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
DEAR MEXICAN: Why is it that every Mexican I know refuses to eat chocolate? My in-laws drink things I wouldn't clean my carburetor in. They fill piñatas with every kind of hard candy—but no chocolate! Mole doesn't count; it has chocolate, sure, but it's held in check by the chelating effects of a boiled chicken. I mean real chocolate—the kind my wife turns up her chato nose at. I bring out a bag of M&M's, and everyone backs away to the far side of the bar. I asked her about this on Valentine's Day. (I had to give her some strawberry something-or-other.) I told her that chocolate comes from Mexico, and yet no one in her family will go near it. Is there something her people hasn't been telling us? And she does that whistling-at-the ceiling bit. She thinks she is being funny. She is messing with my mind.
Have you noticed that Mexicans who refuse chocolate remain basically normal? A little slow to pick up the check in restaurants, but they are not drooling, bat-shit crazy. Meanwhile, white people—who named the Hershey bar after the site of the world's first nuclear meltdown—are disintegrating into madness? Jan Brewer sightings are rampant in Arizona. Orly Taitz was on the ballot in California. All of this, as civilization hurtles toward the end of the Aztec calendar; the Aztecs invented chocolate, and then vanished from the earth! Is it paranoia to speak of a coming chocolate apocalypse?
Concerned In Colorado
DEAR GABACHO: Last week, while the Mexican spoke to a high-school class, a student asked, "What would you rather confront—a horse-sized duck, or 100 duck-sized horses?" It was a silly question, but it was okay for the student to ask it because he's a high-schooler. (The answer I gave, by the way, was the horse-sized duck—you never want numbers to overwhelm you. Just ask the American Southwest or those who defended the Alamo.) Your query reminds me of that pregunta in its randomness, except without the charm, insight or any sense whatsoever. Ever think your in-laws might be diabetic? Ever think they won't eat American chocolate, which is essentially sugar colored in cacao? Did you know the Mayas were making chocolate when the Aztecs were still living in the swamps? Chocolate is still huge in Mexico, but it's markedly more bitter, better and largely made in artisanal batches that vary in taste from region to region; even the biggest seller, Nestlé-owned Carlos V, is far better than anything you can get in the Estados Jodidos. Kudos to you, though, for working "chelating" into your question, although the only part most Mexicans will get is the chela part.
* * *
DEAR MEXICAN: I commute a lot in the Los Angeles area and see many Mexican gardeners with trucks filled to impossible heights, piled up with shrubbery, tree clippings and the like—but where are they taking all this refuse? I have several theories. They are either driving around all day letting a branch drop one at a time until the truck bed is empty; they are scouting Dumpsters all over town into which they can illegally dump their refuse at night; or the piles of greenery are actually hiding a newly smuggled batch of illegals. Your feedback is most appreciated.
DEAR GABACHO: No, we hide our illegals in fake trunks and scout Dumpsters to toss concrete into. And those gardeners are taking their clippings to a place called the "municipal dump," which I hear has the same address as your brain.