So, I’m at AutoZone the other day, one of Morelia’s three branches, an entirely new experience for me, and I’m enthralled by the choices: strobe and neon lights for under the dash and around the license plates, sparkling lights for the hubcaps, vinyl flames, and a vast array of amazing decals. But it was just too difficult choosing between the weeping Jesus and the Virgen de Guadalupe. And, since they were plumb out of locking gas caps, I left empty-handed. But when the new car smell fades, I may be back there in search of a Virgen of Guadalupe rose-scented air freshener to hang from the rear-view mirror. Sure, it’s naco, but those things are just hard to resist.
Oh, sure, we can dress ourselves up like we’re straight out of Las Niñas Bien or Compro, Luego Existo and make ourselves appear as if we stepped straight from Guadalupe Loaeza’s books, and we can make ourselves as exiled and intellectual as everything from Ilan Stavans thinks and writes about, but the reality is that, no matter how hard we may try, our inner naco is always struggling to the surface.
And that’s what makes being Mexican very funny at times. No matter how bad times may be, we never lose our ability to laugh at ourselves. The usually very serious Ana Maria Salazar (here’s where we have to say “Harvard-educated lawyer”) asks “Are You Mexican?”