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Posted August 1, 2005
Growing up ¿Chicano¿ in the west side of San Antonio in the 1960s and 70s, my whole life seemed to be shaped by dichos, curanderas, and public assistance. In my barrio, inundated with brothers and sisters, friends and primos, tios y tias, and of course, Uncle Sam--representing governmental authority at the city, state and national level--I was never alone, yet I always managed to get into trouble to the delight of everyone around me. At night, if I didn¿t fall asleep quickly enough, my mom would remind me that ¿el cucuy se lleva a los que no duermen (the bogeyman takes away those who don¿t sleep)¿ foolishly expecting me to fall asleep after filling my head with visions of a terrifying end to my life. If I had a fever or a pain I couldn¿t explain, the curandera (who I¿m sure didn¿t have a license¿medical, drivers, ministry, or otherwise) would be summoned. Upon arrival, she would rub a whole raw egg all over my body, crack it open, pour it in a bowl, and place it under my bed. If I felt better in the morning, it meant the magic worked if I didn¿t, it was because I was a bad boy who was suffering for his sins. Speaking of eggs, I remember that the 3rd of the month was always a holiday at my house since that was the day the mailman would bring our authorization letter for food stamps! The visit to ¿la oficina de estampillas¿ was always followed by a trip to the grocery store, where mom would give me my monthly allowance of $5 in the form of a purple food stamp note. I would buy all the junk food I could with the government-issued currency and would not eat anything else until the last crumb was gone. All these images have flooded back into my consciousness after reading Mario Bosquez¿s (no relation¿honest!) ¿The Chalupa Rules: A Latino Guide to Gringolandia.¿ Even Mario has a place in my memories as I remember watching him live a life I longed for as he co-hosted a popular local television show with an attractive female co-star. Lucky devil! Little did I know then that he and I were living a life more similar than not. While the TV screen always projected an image of a suave and debonair gentleman explaining the wonders of the Alamo City, the cruel reality was that he was struggling to support his family¿mother and siblings--while living in a government sponsored FHA 235 home. Bosquez has taken his life experiences and has crafted what he calls ¿The Chalupa Rules,¿ using dichos (proverbs) as inspiration to overcome poverty and a childhood surrounded by domestic violence and alcoholism. For those of you unfamiliar with a ¿chalupa¿ (and no, I don¿t mean the tasty food concoction made with a fried corn tortilla coated on one side with refried beans and topped with grated cheese and chopped lettuce and tomatoes), it¿s a Mexican version of bingo, more commonly known as loteria. A caller pulls a card from a deck which contains a colorful imagery¿a rooster, a hand or a man holding the world, among others¿and calls the names of these items in Spanish--el gallo, la mano, el mundo. Players use pinto beans to mark the squares on their playing card and the first one to cover all the images on their card wins. The book contains 30 homespun rules for success that still ring true in today¿s world of the all-knowing internet. Among other things, Bosquez will gently remind you that the devil never sleeps, that it¿s okay to sleep on important decisions, and that there¿s no harm in proudly waving the banner of your identity. ¿The Chalupa Rules¿ is witty, entertaining and prevalent in today¿s world, regardless of race, creed or religion. It¿s written as if your favorite uncle has decided to devote a whole afternoon to you and only you, in order to tell you about the mistakes he¿s made so that they won¿t happen to you. Bosquez is now an anchor in the number one television market in the world, no doubt by following his collection of dichos. Pick up a copy of the book and try on some dichos for size¿see how they transcendWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.