Ask a Mexican

Dear Mexican: Can't we root for both World Cup teams?

Dear Mexican: I'm a half mexicana/half gabacha working as an appointment scheduler in a medical office. I'm one of a handful of schedulers there who speak Spanish. I've noticed in the years I've been working in this field that about seven to eight times out of ten, when a Spanish-speaking patient calls, gets one of the schedulers who doesn't speak español, and waits for myself or someone else to call them back...the patient actually speaks English well. I only find this out because (since mi mamá mexicana always told me to never assume someone can't speak English and do him/her the courtesy of waiting until he/she requests Spanish), I call back speaking in English and they respond in English. I don't mind speaking Spanish with any of my patients — in fact I'm happy I can be of service — but it makes me wonder why would anyone would want to wait and waste precious time to get their health situated by not speaking English if there is no Spanish speaker available at the time (given they have the capability). Some of my patients really need the help, and I am ready para hablar, but others probably have better English skills than several of the gabachas I know.
Chiquita Curiosa

Dear Chiquita: Sometimes Mexicans who can speak English pretend not to so they can gain an advantage over their gabacho adversaries — the classic "No espeak English" ruse when trying to get out of a situation or trying to make the gabachos think they're stupid Mexicans. Other times, the English-knowing Mexican will still prefer Spanish because he or she can be more exact. That seems to be the case here, especially given that you're in a medical profession and some Mexican health practices just don't translate well into the King's English. How do you tell your doctor, for instance, that your mom's remedy for a broken clavicle is Vicks and 7-Up?

Dear Mexican: For those of us living in California, the FIFA World Cup is a big deal. Since our huge Mexican population has been here a while, is it a safe bet that they'll root for the U.S. team and the one from Mexico? I know that I tend to place my hopes on Mexico once the Americans get the boot in the first round. Couldn't we get a little more love going for our SoCal community by showing our support in the World Cup?
Soccer Gabacho

Dear Gabacho: In the past, no Mexican in the U.S. ever rooted for los Estados Unidos — not so much because it was considered traitorous, but mostly because teams were middling at best and uber-gabacho. That has changed with the past generation, however, as the U.S. has not only become a mid-level power that consistently whips Mexico's ass on the pitch, but also because the squad is now diverse. At the same time, El Tri has underachieved behind the fresa foot of Javier "Chicharito" Hernández ("Little Pea," so nicknamed for the size of his huevos), the most overrated Mexican since Maná. Most Mexican-Americans will still root for Mexico over the U.S., but there's at least a grudging respect for the norteamericano side — and at least brown members of Uncle Sam's Army don't get pelted with urine bags anymore...much. Nevertheless, I don't foresee a fruitful Copa Mundial for either team, so Mexicans will probably do what they did during the last Cup: suddenly discover their Spanish roots and go for the goal-getting gachupines.

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