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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Hey, Want to Make a Run to Taco Bell With Me?

Let me tell you a short little story about race relations in Texas.

(And a short story of how uncomfortable it is when a strange naked old man strikes up a conversation in the showers).

Back in 2002 I was cleaning-up alone in the showers of a Bally's Gym in Houston, Texas, when -- you guessed it -- a strange naked old man walked in and chose the showerhead directly beside mine. After only about 30 seconds of silence, his voice woke up and echoed off the tile walls, slapping me in the face.

Naked Guy: I'm retiring next week.

Mr. Misery: [silence]

Naked Guy: I'm moving up to Kansas, where my daughter lives.

Mr. Misery: [more silence]

Naked Guy: You lived in Houston long?

Mr. Misery: (nodding, resigned to the fact he was actually speaking to me) A few years.

Naked Guy: There's not much left for us here anymore besides. You should get out soon yourself.

Mr. Misery: What? Why??

Naked Guy: Look around you. There's no more America left. This place is more like NEW Mexico anymore.

Mr. Misery: [More Silence] (thinking to myself, "No, dippy, that is the state to the WEST of us.")

Naked Guy: Well, no matter, if you are the last one out . . . make sure and bring the flag with you.

As if on cue, at that exact moment a very large hispanic guy joins us in the showers. Conveniently, Old Naked Guy has finished washing, grabs his towel, and leaves. Completely stunned, and worried that the newcomer to the showers had heard the conversation and might think I was a willing participant . . .

I stayed and washed my hair again. Oh, yeah, I'm sure that reassured him. Though I can't say he didn't start to worry about my motives for sticking around then . . .

The fact is, there are a lot of people very worried about illegal immigration and -- even more -- the failure of many of these immigrants to assimilate into American culture.

In my experience, I've never met a Mexican immigrant who wanted to bring the Mexican government with him. And I've never met a first or second generation immigrant choosing to "live in the lap of luxury" and just loooovin' those food stamps on taxpayer's dollars.

But that is just my experience.

Now, of course, if your entire experience consists of watching on television as thousands of teenagers chant:

"Long live Mexico!"

And attempt to run the Mexican flag up the Courthouse pole . . .

Then you might start to worry.

And that is completely understandable.


Blogger None said...

Is that who you were thinking about last thursday night?

3/29/2006 6:28 PM  

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