Ask a Mexican

Call the wrong person a guey, and you'll get a kick in yours

Dear Mexican: I used to frequent a cantina in Chicago where half of the bar was Polack, the other half beaner. The Polacks would speak in their native tongue and either start or finish all of their sentences with the word kurwa. I understand this to mean "whore" in their language. On the other half of the bar, the beaners would utilize the word buey in all of their sentences. Sometimes the beaners would become emotional and interpolate buey with pinche, as in pinche buey. Perhaps the Polacks and beaners were talking about the other group at the bar! I understand that the word buey in mexicanismo is a castrated bull. But I've got to imagine that the beaners are not always talking about castrated bulls. However, I can understand why the Polacks were always talking about whores. What are the ramificaciones?

El Polaco Loco

Dear Loco Polack: Chingao, wabs and Polacks at a bar! Where's a mick when you need one? I think you misheard the word and meant güey, derived from buey, which you noted correctly is an ox, the word Mexicans use to call someone an ass — not a hooved ass, but an ass ass. Like madre, güey is a Swiss Army knife in Mexican-Spanish cussing: We use it affectionately ("¡No mames, güey!" translates as "Don't suck dick, ass!" but actually means "Don't bullshit me, brother!"), in anger ("Eres un pinche güey" is "You're a fucking idiot") or as a boast ("No me haces güey" — "You won't make an ass out of me"). Ramifications? Use with caution: If you say that to a man, you might get a backslap or a kick in the huevos, depending on the circumstance. Just like if you use its bro cousin, fuckface.

Dear Mexican: I'm half Hispanic and half white. I'm really opposed to illegal immigration and any type of free health care to illegals because, as a health-care worker, I see too many Americans who can't afford health care. I've noticed that people like Texas Governor Rick Perry appear tough on illegal immigration by showing a gay-looking photo of him standing next to border agents with a serious look on his face. I've seen Perry sit on both sides of the fence by adding more agents to sit on their butts on the border and passing legislation to allow in-state tuition for illegals.

My question: Would a Mexican support a bill that would tax only illegals who transfer money to Mexico? Now, you and I both know that the illegal has a cousin who is an American who will do the transfer for him. Anyway, if I was a Mexican who joined LULAC, I would kinda like it. The reason is that 100 percent of the tax goes to illegal-immigrant health care and not a dime would go to a homeless American. This is the only tax I know whose benefactor does not include green-card holders and American citizens. If this bill is passed, illegals can now claim they pay taxes! Wow, and since the majority are living in poverty, the majority would get the benefit from this tax. How would a Mexican vote?

Dr. Chichis, M.D.

Dear Wab: Before we begin, déjame deal with your health-care assertions. The Pew Hispanic Center found this year that illegals and their kids made up solamente 17 percent of the nation's total uninsured. A 2006 RAND report estimated that the undocumented make up only "1.5 percent of the country's total national medical costs, half as large as their 3.2 percent population share" — and even RAND thinks that number might be overblown, since the survey focused solely on the Los Angeles area, and the city "has the reputation of being an immigrant-friendly location for these services." So, for you and others to portray Mexicans as health-care leeches is false, not to mention immoral.

The answer to your actual question: A Mexican wouldn't care about your Mickey Mouse bill. Even if it were enacted, Mexicans would circumvent electronic transfers by using courier services or smuggling cash in tires on trips back home. We already know how to come into this country illegally — you think bad legislation can stop us? Craftiness is in our DNA the way güey-ness infests the Guatemalan mind.

Dear Mexican: Why do Mexicans creep forward at stoplights and stop signs? Honestly, it scares the

mierda out of us to have a little mustachioed brown dude nearly crash his PEE-kup into us every time we try to travel through an intersection.

El Hombre con Preguntas

Dear Gabacho With Questions: It's called defensive driving. We follow it, gabachos obviously don't. Next!

Dear Mexican: I accidentally broke out some Spanglish at an inappropriate time the other day, which elicited strange looks from my gabacho co-workers. It got me thinking: Do other immigrant populations mix languages the way Mexicans do? Do Koreans always find themselves accidentally slipping into the native tongues of their parents? How about when Italians were the new wave of immigrants — did their kids grow up speaking their own form of hybrid English? And what about immigrant populations in the rest of the world?

No Es Very Bueno

Dear Wab: Yes, ne, sì, sí, Don't believe the custodians of Cervantes: Spanglish is a beautiful cosa, as is every other pidgin tongue. Such mongrelization is inevitable, and is proof that a language is alive, that a culture can not only adapt to new environs, but can thrive and even enrich the host nation. I don't know about language patterns among immigration populations save for those that invaded America, and their impact on American English is what makes it so vibrant — on that subject, I defer to H.L. Mencken's pioneering The American Language or the recent How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads.

Ask the Mexican at [email protected]; find him at and or on Twitter.

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano

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