It honor of Cinco de Mayo I’m sending my fan mail today to the most famous Mexican person I can think of, Salma Hayek. At first I thought Penelope Cruz was Mexican and started writing to her, but it turns out she’s not Mexican, I’m just racist. Woops! Mi mal!
Growing up in Erie, Pennsylvania you don’t meet a lot of Mexicans. Erie is so far north it’s practically in Canada, and you know what they say in Canada — “no hablo espanol!” (and then of course, “je ne parle pas espagnol!”). In an effort to introduce the sheltered kids of Our Lady’s Christian School to latino culture, my fifth grade class took a field trip to the Mexican chain restaurant Chi Chi’s*. It was a pretty big deal because: (1) we didn’t have to wear our uniforms (instructed, rather, to “dress like Mexicans… they wear really bright colors!”); (2) we got to eat “real” Mexican food (we were idiots); and (3) we got to put on a show!!!! We had learned a few Mexican songs in Music Class so all the Chi Chi’s lunch patrons that day were treated to 60 10-year-olds, dressed like they were on their way to a gay pride parade, belting out “La Cucaracha” and the “Mexican Hat Dance” — how lucky were they?!! Nothing makes your Fried Ice Cream experience more authentic than white kids with finger cymbals and maracas! Ole!
* Fun sidenote: Chi Chi’s went bankrupt in 2003 after a Hepatitis A outbreak — ay carumba!