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The International Writers Magazine
:Hacktreks in Mexico

Mexico- World Cup Politics
Kevin Patterson

"Pobrecito Mexico, Que lejos de Dios pero que cerca de Estados Unidos"
Poor Mexico so far from God and so close to the United States.

It is not easy sharing a border with the world's super cop, especially with a corrupt chief of police. So imagine the importance of a United States versus Mexico World Cup Qualifying soccer game.
"U S A U S A " does not stand a chance at Estadio Azteca, the world's largest stadium. The concrete stands tremble in anticipation and at first whistle erupts with noise; poly-rhythmic chants crash on the vibrating concrete. As a reflex the "Wave" continuously spins around the stadium.
A hundred thousand people dialogue about the game as consistently as a radio announcer, if you know the codes, what the multitude of chants, stomps, and whistles mean you understand the running commentary of the last play, the coming play, the advancing moves, the coach's last decision, the players exaggerated antics.
The Mexican masses go to party, and watch their team trash the Pinche Gringos. Shocker; The game I went to was a tie. Eeohole.
This is when I first realized the problem.
We dominate everything in the World. You can stop at any given place in Mexico City, look around and see five influences of America.
Hell, even in Estadio Azteca itself they sell Dominos Pizza. Our military has unsurpassed power. CNN sets the global agenda. Our domination of international law is so absolute, only we can ignore it freely. We are the Roman Empire, but others live in our decay.

So sucking at soccer is a good thing. It's the safety valve. The rest of the world can say "Sure they might bomb our cities and make our Prime Ministers whores. Break international treaties on a whim. Call my dead sister collateral damage, while labeling me a terrorist. Bitch as they exploit us. But ohhhhhh Man do they suck at football!"

Our sucking at something the rest of the world holds so dear helps to soften the blow.
So for the good of your country, be a patriotic American. Play basketball.

Other People's Gods
© Photo of Paracutin by Kevin Patterson

I am not an overly religious or superstitious man. I walk around ladders, not under them, that is, when convenient. I believe in God, I just don't know if he's ever noticed me.
My first God-fearing experience occurred with someone else's god. I was one of several chaperones of a field trip to the still smoldering Volcano of Paracutin in Michoacan, Mexico. The volcano started spiting hell in 1945, drowning two pueblos off the map while rising out of a poor, terrified farmer's corn field.
It had taken me and the eighth graders 8 hours by bus, 3 hours by donkey and 2 hours by sweat to get to the top. After the science lesson we sent the Kids down and I stayed behind making sure I was last one because, after all, I was supposed to be one of the responsible adults.

As I took one last look at the raw angry earth I realized this was probably my last chance ever to pe-pe in a still-smoldering Volcano. I looked back over my shoulder and let lose a flowing yellow stream.
All hell broke loose.
Lightning striking everywhere, the mules became wild stallions, 8th grade boys wept in fear, water dumped on us. I thought, "Oh my god, we are all not going to survive."
And then it dawned on me, "This is my fault." I had pissed in the home of some ancient - Volcano God or another and the wrath of the unnamed and unknown God was what was surrounding all of us, punishing all us for my sin. Luckily, thank one god or another we all made it out alive.
Live Lesson 42: Try not to piss off or piss on other people's gods.

Mexico Redux
South American Conversations
After hiking all day I shared a cigarette with the man who had carried my shelter and food.
Where in America do you live?
Are there any jobs there?
What crops do they grow?
What do you do? How much do you get paid? How long of a bus ride from the border is it?
Is there any immigration police there? Is it hard to cross the border?
Is your home close to Georgia? (or New York, Chicago, Oregon.)
I hate these conversations because I never know what to tell him.
His life is so different from mine, and here in our America, his life would continue to be unlike mine.
I have never tried to live and work in a country illegally, I have never been considered an "alien," I have never had to skip picking up a paycheck, scarred they were on to me. I don't have to live with 8 people in a cinder blocked shack. I have never been forced to live outside of the system. I see the lives of our illegals and I think how hard that must be. I wonder it they are not better off staying in those deep canyons, but of course I don't know.

© Kevin Patterson Jan 2005

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