Ask a Mexican on Spanish Refugees

Do Mexicans know that if just one of their grandparents was born in Spain, they could emigrate immediately not just to Spain, but also any other country in the European Union? I know this is not an option for a lot of Mexicans, but it certainly seems like a better one for those that have the "Spanish" option. Spain is a First World country with free health care and seven-hour work days and, quite simply, Spanish people seem to share much more in common with Mexicans. Don't get me wrong: I think that they are a great thing for America, and that anyone who wants to live here should be able to, yet I am also a realist. I only bring this up because, well, it just seems like it might be an easier option for grandchildren of those who fled Spain to come to Mexico during the times of Franco. A hell of a lot cheaper than a coyote, also. Learning to say "vosotros" and "vos" instead of ustedes and tu, and using "joder" instead of chingar seems a small price to pay. Then again, "Jodo tu mama" just doesn't have the same ring . . .

Genuinely Concerned Gabacho living in Mexico

Don't just limit your goodwill to Spanish refugees from the Franco regime. Last year, the Spanish government said anyone who could prove that their ancestors were Sephardic Jews cast out during the Inquisition could apply for Spanish citizenship (conveniently left out, of course, were descendents of the Moors because, you know, Muslims). Becoming a member of the European Union might sound appealing to gabachos looking to backpack for a year, but a mass migration to Al-Andalus ain't happening for Mexicans: only give a shit about Spain when they win the FIFA World Cup or a Mexican soccer player gets to ride the bench for Real Madrid or FC Barcelona.

Why is it that Mexicans call people from the United States norteamericanos instead of unidenses? Don't they know that Mexico and Canada are also in North America?

El Habrano

Because Mexicans are also U.S.-ers — the full name of their country in habla is Estados Unidos Mexicanos. And while mexicanos know that Canada — and Mexico, for that matter — are in North America, we didn't discover the Great Gabacho North until 1994, once the North American Free Trade Agreement let us know of another country to eventually conquer.

Public Health Announcement: Dr. Ron Romero, a dentist from Santa Fe, New Mexico, not only let the Mexican know at the annual Servicios de la Raza gala in Denver that dentists appreciated me discussing their profession in February (in the column answering why so many Mexican children have silver teeth), but also asked whether I can pass along the following public health announcement. He says that childhood caries (the disease that makes babies' teeth rot and is colloquially known as baby bottle tooth decay) is a communicable disease, and that it can be transmitted by the simple act of feeding each other from the same spoon or drinking from the same glass. Doc Ron also wants ustedes to know that childhood caries is easily preventable —just go to your local dentist, and they'll apply a simple wash that'll put you in the clear for a while. Consider your request done, Dr. Romero — and think you can fit a diamond in my front teeth à la Lenny in The Simpsons?

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Gustavo Arellano
Contact: Gustavo Arellano