“Whatcha doin’ for Cinco de Mayo?”
Whenever I hear this, I get the urge to suffocate someone in a vat of steaming menudo.
A long, long time ago, I somehow escaped four years of high school Spanish without ever having heard of this “holiday,” which is approximately the seventeenth most important National observance on the Mexican calendar.
Enter the marketing machine responsible for foisting on the unsuspecting and unrefined palate of the American “beer” drinker, the piss-water plague that is Corona Beer. Corona’s import folks masterminded the meteoric rise of a brand that more represented an “attitude” or a “lifestyle” than it did a “drinkable malt beverage.”
You have to put a fucking lime wedge in it, so as to mask the flavor. Case closed.
The Jose Cuervo tequila empire is just as guilty of helping to expand the celebration of this fake-ass holiday in America. While Cuervo’s product line is, for the most part, not nearly as offensive as that offered by Corona, you still have to climb waaaaay up their price-point ladder to find anything that even hints at quality tequila.
Never mind that the average American’s awareness of Mexican culture begins and ends with the menu at their local Chevy’s. It’s Fiesta Time (baby!!!), so let’s take a quick peek at what you can expect to find on this most ridiculous of all Amateur Drinking Holidays.
Hordes of young men and women drinking margaritas, Coronas and Cuervo shooters, while going “WHOOOOOOO!!!” If you think I’m wrong on this, check your friends’ facebook pages tomorrow. As the evening wears on, the conversations will begin to consist entirely of “DUUUUDE…That’s FUCKED UP!!!” and “Oh my God, I am, like, oh my God, like, SOOOO DRUNK, like, oh my GAWWWD!!!” It will make the Trentonian news room look like a Mensa meeting.
Beads. I don’t know whether to hate Mardi Gras for this or apologize to it, but because of Mardi Gras, you can no longer have an Amateur Drinking Holiday without strings of plastic beads. Cinco de Mayo is a flagrant offender in this regard. Hopefully, someone will choke himself on a string of Cinco de Mayo beads, in the midst of painting a restroom stall with a slurry of halfway digested margaritas and refried beans.
Music. By “music,” I mean the entire Jimmy Buffett catalog, “La Bamba,” and lots of Mariachi tunes. Note (and I may well catch some shit for this, but): All Mariachi music will sound exactly the same after your fifth round of Mexi-swill. It’s not your ears deceiving you. All Maricahi tunes sound exactly the same, whether you’re a Latter Day Saint or a latter-day Charles Bukowski.
So there you have it – Cinco de Mayo in a nutshell: Vile drink, plastic beads, lame music, frat boys, vomiting, and woo-girls, in conjunction with their ancillary trappings (bar brawls, alcohol poisoning, date rape, and weeknight DWI checkpoints).
Vaya con dios, amigos.
[BF&A Note: This piece originally appeared here on May 5, 2009. I’m giving it a curtain call today because (a) my opinion of this fake-ass ‘holiday’ has not changed in the past 365 days, (b) re-reading this piece, after it’s had a year to fester, did not make me want to slit my throat, and (c) I’m buying time, because my tenth and final Handicapped Trenton 2010 piece is suffering from a ridiculous case of writer’s block. If you don’t like it, bite me.]