Dear Mexican: I live in Tijuana, and of the gabachos that put roots here, you can’t find a single professional. Those who aren’t swindling recovering drug addicts are arrogant drunks who always miss a piece of cheese from the other side named Rush Limburger and boast because they can count up to 187 without using their fingers. This is why I’m urged to ask you: Does Gringolandia lack professional people, or is it exporting solely its own undesirables? And how is it that none of them are even able to work in the fields? Please accept this hug from where (as we in Tijuana say) the motherland begins. —Xolotl de Tijuas
Dear Wab: Sure, gabachos who live in Mexico occupy white-collar jobs: They’re professional colonizers who do a terrible job of it. What else can you call groups of people who settle in a foreign land, stick to their own kind, proudly don’t bother to assimilate, stay in constant contact with their homelands, yet never bother to ingratiate themselves into the fabric of their new lands? Sí, the Mexican government makes it muy difficult for Americans to migrate and live in la suave patria, but at least Mexicans in the United States gamed the system enough so that they became indispensable to the Republic.
Dear Mexican: Recently, there was a death in the Mexican family that lives near me. Another neighbor and I debated about taking food, flowers and other tokens of comfort as our tradition dictates. She consulted with a Latino friend who told us to stay away— it was a private affair. The men just stood outside, drinking beer with their hats pulled down, barely speaking to one another. The women stayed inside. We wanted to do something for them but took the advice of her friend. For the next few weeks, the neighbors looked away from us; normally, they are very friendly. We respected their privacy and stayed away. Can you please explain? Is the tradition of grief so different? —Resquiat In Pacem
Dear Gabacho: Not really, so get a new Latino friend. You didn’t specify what religion your Mexican neighbors follow, a crucial fact because the bereavement process varies from faith to faith. Only the most esoteric ones prohibit outsiders, though, so I’m sure you could’ve stopped in with food and express your condolences without offending anyone. But let’s assume the Mexican family was Catholic, since every Mexican believes in the Virgen de Guadalupe. The neighbors looked away from ustedes because they suffered a loss in the family; it’s called “being sad.” The men stood outside while the women remained in the house because the ladies were praying the Rosary to guide the departed’s spirit out of Purgatory, and Catholic men are required by doctrine to help the journey along by waiting outside and getting borracho. No one brought food because the family’s relatives cooked fresh meals during the days of mourning. Your Latino friend should’ve explained this to you; how sad that you had to write to a columnist about such a personal matter!