There’s an unwritten commandment in the collective Mexican mind: Even if you hate a person, you must offer them food, or you’ll be shamed for the rest of your blasphemous life. You can lie to that person, bang their significant other, or murder them, if you want. That’s fine. But not sharing whatever you’re digesting with someone is considered truly disgraceful.
I will now provide you with three examples of this unbreakable code so that, if you happen to be Mexican, you never play stupid. If you’ve been playing stupid, stop. Read this, but then go kneel in front of Juan Gabriel’s tomb and ask for forgiveness.
Example #1: The politicians who took a meeting with a group of Rarámuri women in the middle of breakfast, offered them nothing, and are now being hunted down on the internet
Recently Animal Político published a story about a group of politicians from the Mexican state of Chihuahua and their failure to convidar (offer) food — they appeared to be having a communal breakfast — to a group Rarámuri women.
The women wanted to protest the illegal collection of rent by shady landlords, and that probably would have been the lede in any other publication, but not in Mexican media:
Two politicians apologized quickly and publicly, but it was futile attempt to quell the outrage. Still, over 275,000 people tuned in to hear them beg for forgiveness.
Example #2: The time an asshole neighbor didn’t share his brand-new bag of Rancheritos chips with us, his homeboys
I was hanging out somewhere in the Mexican state of Jalisco with a crew of other 12-year-old Mexicans when my neighbor, a short kid we used to call Vampirin (little bat), bought a bag of delicious Rancheritos, which happen to be my favorite brand of chips.
He’s Mexican, we’re Mexican, so we didn’t even ask for a portion of the chips. Instead, we extended our arms expecting to receive a handful crunchy, spicy, corn-based deliciousness.
Then, like a damn fool, Vampirin said “No. What if I don’t want to share them?” I, along with the other four boys, actually gasped. We looked at each other in disbelief.
But that was the last time Vampirin made that mistake among us, since we took his Rancheritos, passed the bag around so that everyone would spit into it, and then gave the chips back to him.
Vampirin cried, but he learned a valuable lesson: As a Mexican, he has to share his fucking food.
Example #3: Vicente Fox, the former Mexican president, got pissed at Fidel Castro for trying to hang out in Mexico uninvited. Fox ultimately invited Castro, but told him to eat quickly and then GTFO
In April of 2003, or in May, depending on the source, Vicente Fox, then president of Mexico, was hosting a conference for heads of state in the Mexican state of Monterrey. George W. Bush was scheduled to attend.
Fidel Castro apparently wanted to crash that awesome party, but Fox didn’t want to piss off Dubyuh, so he told El Comandante, in somewhat polite terms, he could swing by earlier, eat, and then GTFO. Unbeknownst to Vicente, Castro recorded the conversation.
The Cuban leader then showed up in Mexico, did his thing — he never met with Bush — and left. There would be no complications for Fox, it would seem, if Castro would’ve abstained from publishing the recorded audio upon his return to Cuba. But he didn’t:
Why would Fidel do such a thing? Probably to remind everyone what everyone already knows: Mexican leaders always bend over backwards for the US.
This hilarity now logged in the history books as the “Comes y te vas” incident (eat and get out). But even if Fox is an idiot — don’t let his anti-Trump tweets win you over, he was a horrible president — Vicente didn’t break the most sacred of Mexican rules: offering people, even the ones you hate, food.
Andrés Cantor, the most important sportscaster of a generation, liked my Tweet
This past Sunday I logged on to Twitter to see what 45 was up to, and a friend had tweeted a video clip of Andrés Cantor, the Argentine sportscaster, belting an elongated “gooooooool” after Colombia had scored against Poland. I immediately replied with a simple innocuous response acknowledging I grew up listening to him, and his emotion never gets old.
Monday morning I woke up with a notification on my phone: “ANDRES CANTOR liked your reply.” Having worked around celebrities in a previous life, something like this wouldn’t make me giddy, but this was different. I remember Andrés, along with Norberto Longo, announcing the Italia 1990 World Cup matches on Univision.
At the time, Univision was the only broadcaster airing all the matches, so non-Spanish speakers also got to experience Cantor’s signature phrase. He made watching the matches so much more exciting. It wasn’t just his particular enunciation, but his narration, which adds nail-biting suspense, and has a way of scrambling one’s feelings.
He knows his audience very well; just this week, during Mexico vs. Sweden, in the last minute of the match, he began to narrate the results of the match, which allowed Mexico to advance to the next stage. His energy matched those of the stadium, as he announced in Spanish: “Korea takes out the champion (Germany), Korea advances Mexico!”
OH. MY. GOD. How can you not get caught up in the drama?
It’s not the same, but there have been some improvements with soccer matches called in English. Fox’s F1 has the English language rights for the world cup. They had two Latinos with thick accents announce Mexico vs. Sweden, and they added their own flair with dramatic cadences in English. But it’s Andrés Cantor who has laid the foundation for dramatic futbol game calling.
I remember during the 1998 World Cup, when Mexico played Germany in the round of 16, the match was tied 1-1. Pavel Pardo tried to do some fancy footwork against a German player, and Cantor quickly commented to stop it and not to do this against Germany. I was thinking the SAME thing — what an idiot! That match had me on the edge of my seat, and Cantor read my mind. Mexico ended up losing the match and getting eliminated.
I heard Andrés for the first time during the 1990 World Cup, but it was in 1987 that he was hired at Univision to call the matches for the Liga MX. For most, it wasn’t until the 1994 World Cup that Cantor came into the limelight. He was recognized with several awards, including a regional Emmy and a National Career Achievement Emmy, for his work during the tournament. He even made an appearance on the David Letterman show.
From a 1994 interview in the LA TIMES:
He said his ‘Gooooooaalllll!’ call isn’t really a trademark, and not even unique. That’s the style of the announcers he listened to as a youngster in Argentina.
Andrés Cantor is very much the voice of soccer in the USA. He came up a time when there was only one network broadcasting the World Cup, and he called the matches like the announcers from his childhood. Ultimately he’s written the announcers playbook, and many who’ve come after him have been influenced by his style. Yes, Cantor’s booming voice has become an unmistakable trademark, but for me his observations are just as important. He’s always saying what I’m shouting at the screen, and, apparently, liking my tweets.
Tizoc Schwartz co-wrote a short film on the word ‘Chingar’ and has written other stuff you’ve never heard of. He’s a carb enthusiast, and dislikes social media.
Drunkards in the night: A hallway, two keys, and one lasting memory
Last night I met a student from upstate New York. She was drunk and locked out from the apartment across from mine, which she leased through Airbnb. She was given two keys; one unlocked the front door of the building, the other one unlocked her anxiety, frustration, and some other door elsewhere, but not the front door of her leased apartment.
I asked her if she was okay and she said “yes” with plenty of confidence. I entered my apartment only to be distracted by her weeping a few minutes later. I don’t know my neighbor — I mean, I’ve seen him, we wave at each other. But I don’t know his name and definitely don’t have his number because, well, it’s New York. Not having to speak to your neighbors about pleasantries — or at all — is one of the perks of the city.
I walked back to the hallway and asked the woman, who was in her early twenties, at most, if she had my neighbor’s number. In her state, my question barely registered, so instead I asked for her name, and to unlock her cell phone, which she was fumbling with. “Nawn…cie. Here.” She handed me her phone where, coincidentally, a group text was blowing up on the screen.
I got in on that: “This isn’t Nancy, but a stranger who found your drunk friend in a hallway in the LES. Someone should come get her. She’s locked out.” I offered her a glass of water, but instead she bolted inside my apartment, ran directly towards the toilet, and threw up. She figured out the layout of my place almost instantly, which was very surprising considering her altered state.
After handing her a wad of napkins and the glass of water, Nancy crawled towards the living room. “Sorry. You’re so kind, and decent, I think. I’m from Ithaca. That’s not relevant to this situation, but yeah, I’m from Ithaca,” she explained while climbing on top of an office chair (I don’t have real living room furniture).
Her friend, Rachel, texted back: “OMG. I’ll be there in 20 minutes! Please take care of her.” I relayed the information to my sudden guest. “Well, Nancy. I guess Ithaca rolls pretty hard on Monday nights,” I quipped. “Naw. Just me,” she replied, before adding that she’s a “computer science student.” “Is that relevant to this situation?” I asked. “Yes. There’s nothing wrong with computer science, actually, but my dad forced me to study that. I’m not good at it, so I’m always getting wasted.”
Nancy’s struggle was all kinds of endearing, but it wasn’t my place to dish out advice because 1) she didn’t ask for it, and 2) she already knew shit was wrong, but simply decided to deal with it in an unhealthy, self-destructive way, just like most young people. It’s actually an important stepping stone in youth, the kind that simply needs to play out.
Rachel finally showed up, adding: “Thanks for taking care of her. We didn’t think she was this drunk when she left the bar.” Still woozy, Nancy looked in my general direction before she left, and mentioned a parting gift. “It’s next to your toothbrush. Thanks, dude.”
She left a memory — yeah, figuratively, but also literally. A 4 gigabyte Samsung DDR3 RAM laptop memory module.
Nancy’s funny. Nancy’s gonna be alright.