replay 25 cents

5/31/04

I had the most harrowing bike ride of my life today, and it wasn’t down a cliff in Chile or across the Queensboro Bridge at rush hour – it was on the Santa Monica beach bike path on Memorial Day.

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Eight miles of every way to get your ass kicked. There were pissed-off Hungarian dads who didn’t understand the concept of the “bike path” when he invited his entire family to camp on it; there were skateboard thugs wearing Vans that said FUCK YOU on one shoe and FUCK ME on the other; and there were throngs of sweaty, obese Americans giving God the finger and asking for skin cancer. There were HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.

It reminded me of the video game “Paperboy,” in which you, the player, have to navigate your furiously-cycling paperboy through a daily route, while being sabotaged by breakdancers, dogs, bees, angry motorists and the occasional terrorist with a black bomb.

paperboy.gif

Once I started thinking about my ride as a video game, it got a lot more fun. Never mind that my actual limbs were at stake; it was like skiing. Having done this ride, I’ve come away with a few things:

1. Americans have gotten fatter, but they kept their old bathing suits. I can’t tell you how these gargantuan men and morbidly obese women fit into their Speedos and bikinis, but somehow, they manage to keep their nads and nipples in. I saw one guy in a navy blue Speedo that was so unbelievably leviathan that even fat people stopped to watch him walk by.

2. Boobs have gotten bigger. Maybe this is part of the weight thing, but your average teen didn’t have that kind of chest when I was in high school. Is it the Bovine Growth Hormone in the cheese supply, or is America breeding a gaggle of porn stars? Or did I just go to a conservative prep school in Southern Virginia?

3. The only thing more fun than being with your 15 Mormon cousins at the beach is being with your 15 Mexican cousins at the beach. I mean, I thought we had FUN down to a science when all us cousins got together back in 1983, but these Mexican* kids are a blast. I raced two of them over the Temescal hill, and we all high-fived the winners. Then, I was paid the ultimate compliment when a girl chucked a ball at me, and I caught it, mid-ride, to her delight. Oh, to be Mexican and young again!

* see comments

0 thoughts on “replay 25 cents

  1. lucy

    Hey there…I know that you were being sarcastic about the whole Mexican thing, but there are tons of nationalities of Latinos in LA. Mexicans are maybe 40% of the brown folks you see. It is fucked up, but “Mexican” is the lowest thing you can call a Guatemalan, Salvadoran, Argentinean, Costa Rican…

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  2. Sean

    Yeah, I always thought it was funny when my latino friends would be pissed at someone calling them Mexican if they were Puerto Rican or Dominican. As if that isn’t exactly as racist.
    A lot of people think we’re Irish, Ian’s red hair, my name, etc., and we aren’t really, but it never occurs to us to be *offended* by it. In fact, when we were living in England and our friends would make Irish jokes we were like “Ha ha! Wait… Huh?”

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  3. jon

    It’s a nitpicky point, to be sure. But the difference implies a degree of subtlety that speaks to national sensitivties — A non-Mexican Hispanic kid might conceivably don an Atlante jersey in the same way that Nigel Tufnel donned Sadaharu Oh’s Giants jersey, but he most likely would *never* sport a Mexican national team jersey if he hailed from, say, Chile. And if the shirt the kid was wearing did actually have those red and blue stripes, it’s also possible that it was not actually an Atlante shirt, but a national team shirt from a different country with similar markings. I think Chile, in fact, used to wear a jersey that had red and blue vertical stripes, although their current one does not, so I can’t prove it.
    I’d like to discuss this further but I have to get some work done so that tonight I can watch the US play Mexico, uhh, make that HONDURAS, in an international friendly.

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