Five Vignettes from My Pendejo Youth

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Rocking that Collar

Uno. In 1995, when I was six years old, dad gave me two dollars. I treasured those two baros so much I decided to get a wallet to store them. So, at Harbor College swap meet that Sunday, I secretly bought a cheap ass wallet which cost two dollars. When it came time to store my wealth, my pendejo ass was puzzled that I no longer had any money.

Dos. When I was eight years old, mom took my siblings and I to visit a relative. Living in the Wilmington barrio meant we lived among junkyards and talleres and all kinds of shit. When approaching one of those junkyards, mom said to avoid the gate and walk in the street as a group. My pendejo ass thought I was badass so I disobeyed. An enraged Doberman Pincher with pointy ears lunged at me and took a chuck out of my back. I was at hospital for some time.

Tres. When I was in fifth grade, my school — Wilmington Park Elementary — held a Thanksgiving food drive. I took it seriously. There were poor people in our community who needed help. So, I contributed some food and helped organize the gift boxes. A few days later, I arrived home after school only to find one of those boxes at our door step. My pendejo ass figured it was a mistake. Then I looked at my dirty, raggedy poor ass and realized it wasn’t.

Cuatro. In second grade, as part of April Fool’s, my teacher trashed our classroom while students were at recess. When we returned, all were in shock. She explained it might have been a leprechaun and secretly pointed a green laser at the ceiling, which she said was the manifestation of that leprechaun. My pendejo ass believed it all year and would take all my things home every day in case that little green goblin came back.

Cinco. At nine years old, I was at the obligatory Sunday morning mass. Bored out of my mind, I kept dozing off which was always followed by an excruciating Latino pinch to my side. At the end, the priest invited the congregation to come up for a blessing. As the aspergillum made its way towards me, I yelled “shoot me, Father”. My pendejo ass got a nice ass whopping that day.

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