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An Irregular Column
Column for MRR 333
by Mykel Board
aka Mykel Sells Out and Goes to Arizona... and Mexico
Imagine twin clown noses tightly squeezed together. Glowing red, so bright they seem lit from within. Those are my balls. Worse case of jock itch I ever had. Jock itch. I hate that term. How about jungle rot? Crotch mildew? I donno. I've got so much fungus growing between my legs that every time I take a piss, the air smells like mushroom soup.
I read on the internet that something called tea tree oil will fix you right up. It comes from Australia and costs $20 for 4 ounces. It smells like Eucalyptus... Halls cough drops, Dr. Bronners... I try it. Hurts like hell.
It makes my balls redder than ever. The itch... the pain has spread to my legs, to the taint. Used to be I couldn't go a minute without thinking about my dick. Now it's my balls that provoke even less noble thoughts.
And we three... my balls and I... are on a plane to Phoenix of all places. But let's zoom out a bit to get some perspective.
I'm glad I already wrote a column in praise of hypocrisy. Here I am... the month after urging my surging fandom to boycott Arizona. Here I am, Mr. Vivan Los Chicanos. Here, I am, Mr. Ethnically Correct. Sitting on a back porch in Tucson, waiting till Mr. Beef finishes the steak on the backyard barbecue grill. Do I get points that this house belongs to a Mexican American? That it's in a Mexican neighborhood? That the whole purpose of being here is Mexico... not Arizona? I don't think so.
Not by way of excuse, but by way of ego boost, I'll tell you why I'm here.
“Hey Mykel,” writes Gilberto, “some of your Mexican fans want to put together a band, learn your songs, and then have you come down and sing with them. You'll tour Mexico with Cojoba (a Puerto Rican band). What do you think?”
What the fuck do you think I think? I'm so there!
“Umm...,” he continues, “a couple shows will be in Arizona.”
“I'm boycotting Arizona,” I tell him.
“You're with Mexicans, Puerto Ricans. It's okay,” he says.
So the tour will be Sin Arte (the Artless coverband), Cojoba, La Merma in a reunion tour, plus shows with other groups in other places. It'll last 10 days, 4 shows in Mexico and 2 in Arizona. Every band will be Mexican or have Mexicans in it... except Cojoba. And they are half Puerto Rican, and a quarter each American Negro and Dominican American. Gilberto will be the tourmeister, pay for the van rental, take care of our special needs. He's also invited me to his birthday party... with his family in Agua Prieta.
Juarez is the most dangerous city in Mexico. Numbers two and three are Tijuana and Nogales. My pal Ivan, who lives on the US side near the Nogales border was awakened one night by the sound of a hand grenade. I will not be going to Juarez. The rest, oh yeah!
I wear my Greetings To Arizona from Mexico t-shirt. It shows a sunset behind a cactus... the cactus giving the finger to the gringos across the border.
I wear the boots I gave up because of severe leg pains. I can't tour Mexico wearing Payless sneakers. It's gotta be combat boots. Only ten days, what harm could they do in that time? Yeah right.
Flash to now: Medium shot inside the plane, still on the ground in New York: Me, my red balls and my combat boots. There are only a few empty seats. One next to me. Pretty good luck, I think.
Then they let on the stand-by passengers. A 30-something blond wearing a business suit. Her expression so stern and her demeanor so I-Mean-Business, that I don't even look at her tits. She sits down, crosses her legs, pointing the top one away from me. Then she begins to dribble snot.
Coughing, sneezing, nose blowing. By the time the plane takes off there is a Berlin Wall of snotty tissue between me and her. Fuck, just what I need on the way to Mexico, some dorky gringa to make me sick.
When the plane lands in Phoenix, I load up on vitamin C, but it's too late. The cough has already started and there's more to come.
It's three hours in the airport until the others show up: Gilberto, the best thing to come from Mexico since Texas, Pamela, a cute little Chicana whose got more balls than most guys and Ivan La Merma, a pal and the guy from Nogales who heard the grenade.
They're coming from Spain via Boston.
A recorded voice comes through the airport speakers: Welcome to America's friendliest airport.The current terror alert level is orange. When you proceed to the gates, please be advised that all liquids must be in containers of no more than three ounces each. They must be placed in clear plastic bottles, sealed in a Ziplock bag, and put separately in a tray. You will be subject to search at any time. Do not accept any gifts from strangers. Do not accept any ride offers from drivers inside the airport. The airport is equipped with surveillance cameras.... Welcome to America's friendliest...
Inside the airport are empty food concessions. A Starbucks. No. A McDonalds. No. I go to DICK CLARK'S for some too-expensive food and a beer to take care of my waiting time.
I remember Dick Clark's from a Michael Moore movie. Something about taking welfare mothers away from their babies. I can't recall the details.
When I walk in, there is no one on the floor. A blond bartender is talking with the only customer, somebody commenting on the football game on the TV. I'm trying to get someone to help me, but there is no one. The place looks deserted.
Behind the cash register is a bored-looking white woman-- as bland as daytime TV. Blond, mid-40s, completely forgettable. I ask her if I should just take a seat.
“See that sign behind you?” she says, pointing with her thumb.
PLEASE WAIT TO BE SEATED it says.
Couldn't she just say, “I'll be happy to show you to your seat?” Does she have to be an Arizona equivalent of Wassamatta you dumb?
She's the first of the Arizona White Girls. You'll hear more about them. One of 'em was elected governor. They are serious. They are nasty. I do not like them.
“Can I get you something to drink while you're waiting?” she asks when she shows me to my seat. I'm the only customer and it's 7PM. Maybe the boycott's working.
“I'll have a Sam Adams,” I tell her.
“Can I see your I.D.?” she says.
I'm 70 fuckin' years old, pretty bald, with gray chin hair. I can only guess she wants to check my ID to make sure I'm not an illegal Mexican.
I show her my driver's license. She nods and leaves.
The beer is okay. The food is awful. Before long Gilberto, Ivan and Pamela arrive at the airport. I meet them at the baggage collection area. Gilberto and I go from there to the car rental office. He hands his debit card to the woman behind the counter.
“Sorry,” she says. She's a white girl with a scrubbed face and an I'm gonna grow up to be Sara Palin smile.
“I see this is a one way rental,” she says, staring at Gilberto's DON'T WORRY GRINGO, I'M LEGAL t-shirt. “We can't rent one way to... I mean on... debit cards. Only real credit cards.”
“What do you mean...” starts Gilberto.
I kick him subtly.
“No, problem,” I say. “We'll bring it back here.”
He looks at me with wrinkled brow. I flash a wink, then rub my eye like it's got something in it. The white girl takes the debit card.
As we walk to the parking lot and the 7 person van, Gilberto speaks.
“You mean, all you have to do is lie?” he asks.
I nod... Then cough... uh oh!
“You tell 'em what they want to hear,” I say. “It's like speaking to the cops. Yes officer. I realize I shouldn't have run that red light. My mother is in the hospital I was just trying to reach her before she sucks in her last breath of air. I panicked, but it was wrong and I know it. I'm sorry. Just tell 'em what they want to hear. They don't care about truth anymore than your girlfriend does when she asks How do I look?”
I don't know what happens to Ivan and Pamela. I guess they take her car. It's only Gilberto and me who drive the 2 hours to Tucson.
“This is the only Mexican neighborhood I know that's right downtown,” says Gilberto.
“I wonder why?” I ask. “Don't they have any pretentious white artists to move in and kick out the Mexicans? In any case, we'd better lock the car doors and turn on the alarm when we get out.”
He knows me well enough to laugh. Others in the neighborhood, it will turn out, do not.
When we arrive, Güera meets us at the door. She looks like your typical Arizonan. Blonde, light skin, cute in a tough-looking country way. Weird that she lives in this Mexican neighborhood.
“Hi,” says I.
“Ola,” says she. She Mexican.
Also at the door is Mona. Mona doesn't bother with the formalities. She's all over me. Passionately kissing me, right from the start. Just on me like a dog in heat. In fact, she is a dog in heat. And she's shedding like a rattlesnake in the sun.
Then comes a rumble, a shake. Do they have earthquakes in Arizona? No. It's just the train passing. Right outside the front door. So THAT'S why the Mexican neighborhood is right downtown. It's next to the tracks!
On Güera's back porch is Ivan, and this huge white guy with jet black hair, combed Elvis style... Presley not Costello.
Ivan and I hug. The huge guy is broiling some meat on a tiny barbecue. Smells good.
“I'm Beef,” says the huge guy, shaking my hand.
I don't get it, but figure it must be Mexican-Arizona dialect that means I'm cooking beef.
“I'm hungry.” I say. “All I ate today was Dick... Clark.”
Then I cough some more-- God's punishment for breaking my boycott Arizona pledge. The bitch-goddess pays me back for my hypocrisy. After three hours next to the sick blonde on the plane, I've suddenly got a cough--- and I'm starting to drip snot myself. Are my glands swollen or am I happy to see you?
Beef takes the beef from the grill, carrying the hot meat in the aluminum foil it was cooked in. He does not offer it to me, but takes it past all of us into the kitchen. There, he delicately cuts the pieces, seasons them, rolls them into soft flour tortillas, and hands them to us: me, Güera, Ivan, and Gilberto.
“Here you are,” he says with more than a touch of modesty. “I really hope you like them.”
They're delicious. Such a big guy, but such a good cook, and so delicate with the spices. Such a meek and modest guy.
The next time I see him, he'll be pouring a drink over a white girl's head. He becomes one of two white guys I like on this trip.
Cojoba shows up: Taina, the singer and personality of the band, Javiar, boyfriend of Taina, guitar player and Hell's Angeles wannabe (long hair and a headscarf). They're both GG Allin fans. Then there's semen-inducing Moe, bass player and Dominican American, and Ray, the black drummer born in the USA. It's his first time on tour.
Those guys brought their sleeping bags. Me? I sleep on a mattress on the floor, covered with dog hair. Soon, I'm also covered with dog.
My cough gets worse during the night. And we have to leave tomorrow and drive all night to reach the show in Tijuana.
(By the way, the U.S. government has issued a travelers advisory against visiting Tijuana.)
It's the only Mexican show Sin Arte is not scheduled to play, and we have to drive 16 hours to get there. But that's grist for the next column.
-->You missed it department: I've been sick as a Chihuahua since I've been back in New York. I go to Mexico, two days after my return, go to some dumb sports bar in New York... eat bad nachos and get the shits. Go figure
That, plus the cough and several other diseases begun on the plane to Arizona, persist in New York. Despite this, I drove to Philadelphia with the multi-talanted performance artist, Sid Yiddish and the punkrock Trididadian, Randy Ali. I don't want to spoil it for you, but think Shlomo Carlebach meets Gypsy Rose Lee. The audience was small, but the reaction sure as fuck wasn't. See Sid when he comes in your town.
-->There goes that e-books save trees argument: Citizens of the Dutch city Alphen aan den Rijncommissioned a study of the effects of Wi-Fi on trees. They found that all deciduous trees in the western world are affected by radiation from mobile-phone networks and wireless LANs.
Over 70 per cent of trees in urban areas in the Netherlands are afflicted by Wi-Fi sickness They show significant variations in growth, with bleeding and fissures in their bark. That's compared with just 10 per cent showing these symptoms five years ago.
-->Basketball? That's what they do, isn't it? dept: President Obama needed 12 stitches on his upper lip after he was accidentally hit while playing basketball with friends and family at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C. The president was playing defense when Rey Decerega, an opposing player, turned into him to take a shot. His elbow hit Obama in the mouth. The president was given a local anesthetic for the procedure.
-->Milestone Dept: On Saturday Nov. 27, the US was in Afghanistan a day longer than the Soviet Union was in the same place. What's more, the U.S. announced during the NATO summit that it intends to spend at least four more years, and possibly longer. Even then, many Afghans -- perhaps even the president installed by the U.S. invasion -- appear to doubt that the Americans will succeed where their Cold War enemy failed.
-->Wadda surprise dept: New York Magazine reports study after study shows that having kids makes people less happy. Is that a surprise? Spending time and income on a drooling ball of wrinkled skin is supposed to make you happy? Yeah right.