Illustration by Mark Dancey
Illustration by Mark Dancey

!Ask a Mexican!

Dear Mexican,
What is it about the operation of light-controlled intersections that your brethren on foot find so difficult? I understand their sensitivity about crossing against a red light or when the don't-walk sign is flashing on a green light because some cops may use that as an excuse to question them. But would you mind pointing out that when it's necessary to activate the walk sign, ONE push on the button is sufficient? Okay, a second one maybe to make sure, but IT'S NOT NECESSARY TO KEEP PUSHING THE DAMN THING UNTIL THE LIGHT CHANGES!!! True: if they push it long and hard enough, the light will change—but it will do that anyway and they're wearing out the hardware!
Pushed to the Limit

Dear Gabacho,
Wait a minute, Pushed—you think the walk button actually works?! Do you also believe man walked on the moon, Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone and that there's such a thing as a frigid Mexican hombre? Modern-day walk buttons are like nipples on men—vestigial, a diversion for idle fingers. Most traffic signals became automated long ago and rely on sensors that recognize traffic flow, not the needs of pedestrians, to decide when the little gabachito lights up and allows us to legally cross. And I don't know what Mexicans you roll with, Pushed, but Mexicans are people on the go—lawns to mow, houses to build, entire regions to take over. No buttons will ever dictate our day. And now you know why Mexican pedestrian deaths are so endemic that the United States Federal Highway Administration commissioned a 2004 study titled Hispanic Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety just to deal with our impatience.

Why do Mexican men always wear cowboy hats and boots?
Wetback Mountain

Dear Gabacho,
Americans would love to believe Mexicans will never assimilate into this great land, but the sartorial style you describe is the perfect counter-evidence. Each region in Mexico has its own traditional headgear, from the fabulously embroidered sombreros of Jalisco to the massive straw canopies immortalized by Emiliano Zapata, and all points in between for humility or ostentatiousness—but always big. As with all clothes, the sombrero serves the primary purpose of protecting against the elements—in Mexico's case, the unforgiving sun. When Mexicans sneak into the United States, though, they adopt the American hat best suited for working outside: the Stetson-style cowboy hat, which is native to the regions once owned by Mexico—hence their name in Mexican Spanish: tejanas (Texans). Why don't we keep the sombrero as we do our language, machismo and taste for chile-coated, lead-based candy, you ask? Because we're smart. Sombreros are so damn huge that they function as bull's eyes for immigration authorities. Wearing a sombrero here screams "POR FAVOR DEPORT ME." As for the cowboy boots? Then and now, on this side of the border and el otro lado, comfortable and pointedly perfect for kicking ass.

Got a spicy question about Mexicans? Ask the Mexican at And those of you who do submit questions: include a hilarious pseudonym,por favor, or we'll make one up for you!


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