Today is the celebration of Cinco de Mayo. A recent U.S. poll of non-Mexican Americans showed that 98% thought that cinco de mayo referred to five bottles of mayonnaise. What an insult to Mexican Americans who celebrate Mexican heritage and pride on this day, and to those here and in the Mexican state of Puebla who commemorate the Mexican victory over French forces on this date in 1862.
As is his senseless custom, my dad dresses me up on holidays and parades me around the neighborhood in a bizarre display of his declining sanity. Today, he left nothing to the stereotypical imagination. Heads turned as I walked down the avenues with a large sombrero on my head, an oversized fake mustache, bandoliers across my shoulders, a Taco Bell knapsack on my back, and a Viva Mexico flag hanging off my rear end. My embarrassment level was off the charts.
It was almost inevitable…Dad was confronted by a female neighbor of Mexican descent who told him in no uncertain terms that this display was offensive and inappropriate (I told him this 5 times while he was dressing me, and that obviously did a lot of good). When Dad told this nice lady that he was doing this only out of the deepest respect for our Mexican friends and neighbors, it only made matters worse. One only had to see how ridiculous I looked to interpret Dad’s purported “respect” as a satirical attempt at ethnic humor. And that was precisely the reaction of this growingly agitated lady. As the discussion became more heated, a crowd gathered. It was unimaginable to me that some in the crowd were actually siding with Dad. Others supported the more reasonable view of our offended neighbor, including yours truly.
I feared that this dispute was going to become violent. Weapons appeared out of nowhere. Someone called the police. I can’t say who threw the first blow, because my sombrero slipped over my eyes. In a few minutes, it was all-out warfare. Ironically, a small war was a far more fitting way of commemorating this holiday than dressing me up for a humiliating public display. The police appeared and arrested Dad for inciting a riot, and the show was over.
Mom showed up, quickly disrobed me to avoid further disturbance, and we drove down to the slammer to bail Dad out. He’s already preparing his defense for what should be a trial which will polarize our community…not quite what Dad intended when he outfitted me this morning. No good deed… Viva el Lunatic!!!!