I was turning seven and my mother packed up my sister and some sandwiches so we could join her comadres and their respective clans at the supposed most magical place on earth. There were four adults and seven children, three of whom were celebrating birthdays. Once inside the park everyone remained with their kin. I remembered it was an unseasonably hot March afternoon. My mother had dressed me up like I was attending a combination prom-funeral because she wanted nice pictures of me.
What everyone had failed to mention was the immense size of Disneyland and the fact that a place like that is not designed for a child wearing wingtips.
The second detail everyone forgot to mention was the fact that Disneyland is not designed for kids who are used to causing a desmadre and not allergic to making a public scene. We were children that rose to the occasion when it came to mischief. I think deep down we all knew that our parents would not dare discipline us in Anaheim, in front of all those Japanese tourists with cameras around their necks. Besides, I knew that if I acted right on the ride home, my mother would be too tired and dismiss the charges and pardon my chingadazos.
The seven of us ran like God-abandoned mucks worthy of Loki’s fury. My best friend and I bit Donald Duck’s tail. We harassed Mickey Mouse into taking a picture with us. Some kids would ask politely. We simply ran up to him and ruined some poor kid’s childhood memory. We spit and we cried, as the day grew long and hot, the blisters on my feet emerged and popped, oozing out intolerance. The only one who could have brought down the hammer of authority was Walt Disney himself – but even his fun-loving and allegedly frozen hands would have been full with us.
Needless to say, my antics mortified my mother beyond belief.
Usually she could just fake her way by muttering something in Spanish, but that day even the other Mexicans were shaking their collective heads at her in disapproval. We had to pretend that we were a family of Filipinos. I got my birthday chingadazos when I got home. My mom raised the chancla over head and came down with sensibly priced vengeance. She even performed a ritual that I have only seen Mexican moms do when hitting their kids, she gave shout-outs:
“Y esta es por avergonzarme delante de los turistas alemanes.”
“Y esta es por avergonzarme delante de Mickey Mouse.”
“Y esta es por hacerme gastar todo ese dinero. Tu padre me dio ese dinero para arreglar los dientes de su hermana, y ahora ella va a necesitar un retenedor, por que el señor tenía que cumplir años y conocer al Pitufo Gruñón … ¿Pitufo? ¿Enano? ¿A quién le importa? Y esto es por corregirme.”
¡SAS! ¡SAS! ¡SAS¡
My next birthday was spent at McDonald’s where the my mother could be rest assured that Ronald McDonald was not going to come out of some curtain and criticize her parenting skills as the seven of us teamed up and muscled other kids out of the playground.
Follow Oscar Barajas on Twitter @Oscarcoatl
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