Down the road in St. Joe, Mo, there is a pig processing plant. I think they slaughter like 2,000 pigs a day – and it takes a gob of Mexicans to get the job done. They have about 2,500 workers, about one fourth of which are either Hispanic, Latino, or just plain old Mexican. Most of these Latinos were recruited by the pig plant – they look Mexican. Around here we can tell a Mexican when we see one. The Human Resources Department employs people whose job is to make sure the Hispanics have proper papers to be in this country. On the surface this process seems to work – proper documentation suggests legality. I don’t care much about paperwork, but I do care about shopping at Wal Mart.
In a small town like St. Joe 2,500 workers is a bunch. A bunch is four gobs. That means there are a gob of Mexicans running around St. Joe, shopping their stores, creating more jobs at Wal Mart. The National Immigration Police go to St. Joe once or twice a year to check the papers – creating more jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs – the Chamber of Commerce shouts from their luxurious office suites. It is all about jobs – good jobs – like ten dollars-an-hour – good jobs.
The local Missouri Driver’s License bureau had to create more jobs – like Spanish interpreters. Not only that – they had to create two more jobs because of the new Missouri regulations on driver’s licenses to catch illegal immigrants. Missouri now requires a birth certificate to get a driver’s license – it make no difference if you have been a licensed Missouri driver for fifty years – you gotta have the birth certificate. That requirement created a new job at the Social Welfare Board – that is where we have to go to get a certified copy of our birth certificate. They charge fifteen dollars for the copy. That must be what the politicians mean when they talk about the cost of freedom. With all these new jobs and the sales of birth certificates the Missouri economy should be booming.
There are two Wal Mart stores in St. Joe. The north side store is located in a middle to upper class part of town. The south Wal Mart caters to the lower class folks like myself. The north store has a seafood department – they have real lobsters in a fish aquarium. Really, I’m not kidding. The south story has a “Latino Food” section. Really, I am not kidding.
The north store is not for me – those women with their hair all done up and lathered with make-up stand at the seafood counter, contemplating which crab legs best meet their need. They make me nervous. All those crab legs look alike to me. Some of the folks around northwest Missouri don’t like the south store. “Too many Mexicans,” they say. I had not noticed so I went to Wal Mart the other day and looked around while shopping. I saw the sign showing the Mexicans where to shop – right there in the Latino Food section. It seems to me like those Mexicans can’t read English because they were all over the store. Is that what they mean when they call’em immigrants – they just go anywhere?
Well, not everywhere. I did not see any Mexicans in the sporting goods department or the hardware department. There were some loitering around the ‘boys clothes.’ I wondered what they were up to – cause you know that stuff you hear about the Mexicans being criminals and all. One old boy at the check out said that most Mexicans are sex abusers, whatever that is. Maybe he was just thinking that most Mexicans are Catholic. He sounded like he was a couple of bricks short of a load. My Pa used to say some people are a couple of cards short of a deck – but I aint never been on a boat so I don’t know about that. The old boy talking about Mexicans was scratching himself in a place I don’t want to talk about so I went to a different check out line.
Right there in front of me was a half-gob of Mexicans, a couple of men, couple of women, and four or five children. They had two shopping carts loaded with food (I noticed that a lot of the food was not from the Latino Food section). Anyway, I only had some night-crawlers and fish hooks so the Mexican woman motioned for me to go ahead of her. That was right kind so I said, “Do you speak English.” She must have understood me because she shook her head like she was saying ‘No.” I know some Spanish, things like ‘asta la vista baby’ and ‘See, see, Senior.’ I think they mean goodbye and hello. Anyway I said to the nice woman, “Gracious.” She smiled and looked at her children – they all laughed together.
I had to look them over pretty close – I don’t know exactly what sex abusers look like so I was not sure about what I was seeing. Are they all nice and polite and let people go ahead of them in the Wal Mart check out line? Is that something they do to trick a person? It seemed like from what I been hearing around that I was supposed to be scared of the Mexicans or something. Maybe I’m not real smart or something but I was not scared.
I am more scared of the woman at the north store that smells like hair spray and has crab legs.