Friday, January 25, 2013

The Yellowed Paper

There's a lead-up to this story, so bear with me for a minute.

The warehouse employees where I work are by large hispanic - probably 80 percent. I get along okay on a working basis with the huge majority, the key words being a working basis. I don't start any shit for the most part but don't take any, either. They generally keep to their own race which is pretty much the same everywhere - whites hang with whites, blacks with blacks asians with asians, hispanic with hispanics. Nothing wrong with it, it's all about common backgrounds and interests.
The hispanics I don't get along with are the illegals, the ones that don't speak english very well and the macho youngsters that think they have something to prove. No big deal, I'll work with them but I don't have to socialize with them.
But hell, I don't socialize much with anybody at work, just a select few that I've worked with and known for the past 20 years. There's 150 people out there on any given day and I can walk through the warehouse on my way to the time clock without saying good morning to a single motherfucker. No big deal to me or them. Nobody's life is any richer or poorer because I don't acknowledge their existence, yeah?
Hold on, I'm getting there.

Okay, so about 6 months ago this mexican dude walks past me in the morning and says "Good Morning, KennyLane." Fucking startled me - I've been working with this guy for 13-14 years and that was the first time he ever said a word to me. I wished him a good morning and then went and found out his name. I mean, if he's going to call me by name, I'm going to give him the same courtesy back, you know?
So after that, every morning we'd wish each other a good morning and then never say another fucking word all day to each other. Kinda odd, but whattya gonna do?

Today at lunchtime I'm in the locker room eating and reading and Jose walks in and tells me "We need to talk" in heavily accented but good english.
I put my book down and said "Fire away", wondering what I'd done that he needed to interrupt my fucking quiet time.
He goes on to explain that he was sent to me by one of the other employees to talk to him. He starts off by explaining how he came from a poor background in Mexico and that he came to El Norte on a work visa, sponsored by his uncle, started out working in the fields, then a tire shop and finally at the warehouse. He told me how much he loved this country.

He had my full undivided attention. I didn't say a fucking word, I just let him run with it.

He told me that America has given him many opportunities that he never would've had in Mexico, that his children are the most educated members of his family, that one of them was going to college, something that he never dreamed of being possible. He said he and his wife have studied hard to learn about America and were about to become full fledged citizens.
But something bothered him. Why are the crooks and jefes (politicians) trying to change this country? Why aren't they paying attention to the Yellowed Paper? Why are they trying to disarm the people? Was it about control? Corruption? Why?

I was having a hard time at first understanding his accent until I quit trying. I thought it was cool that he referred to the Constitution as the Yellowed Paper. Very articulate without realizing it. Poetry with his simple language, you know.

He said that he was told by Rob that I was the one to talk to about politics and the Constitution. I told him that I had no answers for him, I wondered the same things myself but that I thought he had a better grasp of things than most natural born citizens, maybe because he'd known worse.
He wanted to know if I would defend the Yellowed Paper and I told him yeah, to the death. He was quiet for a minute and wanted to know if my people would accept a Mexican in our ranks, that he wanted to know more than he could learn on his own and he figured we could help him out. I told him that we'd accept an American, no matter his race or background and just when was he going to become a citizen? Next month, he tells me.
I asked if he'd do me a favor. I took the III patch off my hat and handed to him and asked if he'd have this in his shirt pocket over his heart when he took his oath.
Motherfucker got all teary-eyed on me, man.
So now my lunchtimes are taken up on the days that our workdays coincide, Wednesday through Friday, for discussions on the Constitution, the Yellowed Paper.

56 comments:

Stretch said...

Damn, sure is dusty in here.

Walter Zoomie said...

...and then you stabbed him in the neck. Right?

Seriously...that is cool as fuck, Kenny.

Damn right we'd take him on our team...

Wraith said...

Racist! ;)

Tell Jose we're proud to have another true American joining us...God knows, we need all we can get!

AbbyS said...

the Yellowed Paper. Damn. My monitor just got really blurry all of a sudden. It hurts my heart to know that people are willing to die to come to this country. And the fuckers that run it, hate it. I will never understand!!
Fuck Obama and the fucking unicorn he rode in on!

Molon Labe
AbbyS

alcade said...

Awesome. Keep up the good work!

orbitup said...

We need more like him.

Is there something in my eye...

wirecutter said...

Zoomie - Ya don't try to out knife-fight a Mexican, man. Motherfuckers were born with knives in their hands.

Cheesy said...

Good for you, Kenny. By your works you are known.
Every day another one of them dies and another one of us is born.

Manure Master said...

Excellent.

Too bad so many of the natural born citizens don't know what he had to.

wirecutter said...

Well, our conversation (with him doing all the talking) went on for half an hour. Some of the things he was saying makes me realize how good we have it here - I've never seen anybody die of cholera or diarrhea or fever. I've never had to pay a bribe to the police just to travel a road. I've never had to look forward to meat for dinner.
We take a lot of things for granted.

Anonymous said...

This is one of the best post I've read in a long time.
I just recently discovered your site & it's rapidly becoming one of my favorites.
Please convey my respect & congratulations to your coworker.
Best regards
Mike B

Sara said...

Yeah, that one got me teary. But I'm a chick, it's to be expected, right?

Rodney Collester said...

Kenny,
I've been reading your blog for over a year, admiring your wit and wisdom from the sidelines so to speak. This one moved me enough to comment. Bravo Zulu!
Rod.

Phillip said...

I have some clients and acquaintances that are legal immigrants from Mexico and points south. Most of them are very conservative, very religious, and are more patriotic than many natural born citizens. Real salt of the earth people that fit right in with other patriots. There's the other type, but I don't deal with them.

pdwalker said...

No Sara, something that powerful can draw moisture from anything.

Not all Americans are born in America. Conversely, just being born in America doesn't necessarily make one American.

Jose is clearly one of the former.

wirecutter said...

I gotta tell y'all, I felt really fortunate today to have been approached. Definitely a high point, and to think I nearly called in this morning.

Anonymous said...

Ken-

OUTFREAKINGSTANDING

greenman227

timbo said...

Stories like this are what makes America great!

Jim22 said...

Good story. May I share it?

WiscoDave said...

I hate sinus trouble in the morning... Fuck. Hope my eyeballs don't freeze.
Cool as all hell Ken.

libertyandlead said...

Very moving. Thank you Brother.

Anonymous said...

Ken, nice work. We are all the children of immigrants. My maternal grandparents were both immigrants, Nana from Canada and Grandpa from Ireland. Welcome aboard to another new citizen. By the way, look up the oath, it's quite moving.

Russ III

WoodBurner said...

Great story WC, thanks for sharing.

cato said...

It's obvious that those who work with you think highly enough of your knowledge and experience to send Jose your way.

For you to share that knowledge is equally admirable.

Jose is one of the good guys.

sig94 said...

Well, I'll be dipped.

Brad_in_MA said...

Kenny,

I'll give you another one . . . here's a 6+ minute speech from a Chinese immigrant, now a naturalized US Citizen, who survived the massacre at Tiananmen square in 1989. The video was taken as a gun rights rally outside of the Massachusetts State House where the pols are trying to out do NY Gov. Cuomo. Here's the link.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=miEmIfhfxuc

taminator013 said...

What a way to start a Saturday morning. Just trying to have my breakfast (a cup of coffee and 5 cigarettes)and relax a little, but now I gotta keep getting up and blowing my nose and wiping my eyes. I need to pass this post to everyone that I know. We don't really appreciate most of what we have and what is being lost.Thanks Ken and Jose.

Heisenbug said...

Best thing I've read in weeks.

Richard

hiswiserangel said...

"born with knives in their hands..."

Ouch.

I have never been more proud to say I know a great Patriot. Kenny, you rock.

We need to follow your example. There are more out there looking for guidance. Do you keep to yourself, hiding your Patriotism? Don't, reach out, or at least be open when someone comes to you for advice and info.

crankyjohn said...

Mr Lane, just when I thought I could not respect you any more you go and pull shit like this. This has special meaning for me. What many or all don't know about me, is that I am of hispanic descent myself. To any commie progessives out that that means fucking mexican ok? I am totally AGAINST illegal immigration in any form, I am NOT that kind of hispanic. My paternal grandfather came here legally when he was a child. I have his family passport and immigration photos to prove it. My paternal grandfather loved this country, and served as a marine in ww2 to pay back the country he loved.
My father was career military, retired a First SGT. I did a brief tour myself in the military as well. I did one hitch and got out. I may have shoveled shit in jersey, but I did it wearing my countrys uniform.
My two children are in the Navy. My little brother is doing his second tour in Afghanistan. So I guess you could say we are a family of Patriots.
My point in this comment? Not ALL people of hispanic origin are illegal aliens, many are patriotic americans and love this county and would shed blood for her. Our own and others who would hurt her. My paternal grandmother and her family go back even further in being American citizens, so far back we can only go back a hundred years or so and we lose track.
Sorry for the long winded post, but damn man. I loved what you said Mr Kenny Lane. I salute you.

ghostsniper said...

"I've never had to pay a bribe to the police just to travel a road."
==================

I think you are mistaken.

Anonymous said...

There were Mexicans Tejanos) among the ranks of the Alamo defenders. If a Mexican becomes an American and wants to defend that Yellowed Paper, he is one of us.
-Rurik

ghostsniper said...

"Not all Americans are born in America."
================

America is not a place, it is a mindset. I have lived everywhere but have always been American. There are very few Americans living in america. Pay attention to capitalization.

Anonymous said...

It boggles the mind that our forefathers had the courage,foresight and intelligence to forge the document(s)we have to guide and protect us. To steel ourselves against petty tyrants with "words" that make "them" quiver with fear and anger. That a growing number of Americans/Patriots are getting ready for a fight, to the the death if necessary, for our God given, Natural rights as affirmed in the Constitution,Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence. Men like Wirecutter, who see not the color of your skin or country of origin,but people who want the same as we do and are willing to make the effort to become Americans and seek the promise in our documents, of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I pray that people such as Jose have the same fire inside to protect and defend our "Yellowed Papers"

Boarshide

Leavon said...

You know most folks take this country for granted, the freedoms we enjoy that have been diminishing over the years and at an accelerated rate here recently. I guess sometimes it takes a person that is experiencing them for the first time to understand what we're loosing and to truely appreciate them and that "Yellow" paper of which I carry a copy with me.

orbitup said...

@pdwalker - Great point!

The Chief said...

I am absolutely no fan of "wet backs". Most come to the US with no intention of becoming good citizens, they are here for the money and nothing else. If fact many are actually anti-American. But, people who come here actually chasing the "American Dream" and really appreciate the concept and want to be a part of it, I welcome with open arms and would exchange three of these people with every sorry liberal, socialist, or communist citizen who was born here.

wirecutter said...

Jim22 - Of course. I've stated before and I'll say it again, anything on this blog can be stolen.

BD said...

This is a cool little read. Glad to know that there's still a little bit of hope out there.

Gabe said...

Fuckin' A, Bubba!

SewerDweller said...

Wirecutter - You do, in fact, pay a bribe every time you drive on the roads. You just dont -see- it.

It's baked in, you see. a little tax here, a registration there, a smidgeon of excise tax on top, and -poof-, mordida!

Take some time, and look at what they collect in road taxes, vs what they spend on maintaining the roads...

wirecutter said...

Naw, I wasn't talking about taxation no matter how unreasonable it is (and I do agree with you), I'm talking about being pulled over by either bandidos or the police and not being allowed to proceed without giving up some cash or property on the spot. That's an everyday fact of life in some parts of Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Wirecutter, Thanks for that great post; it made my weekend! Very well done on your part; I will be forwarding your post to many of my retiree friends. And, congratulations to our soon to be newest fellow citizens. Both their and your patriotism make us better. regards, Alemaster, CW5, ret.

The Apprentice said...

Mr. WC,
WTF you knucklehead, now my nose is running and since I had to take my glasses off to wipe my eyes, I can't see if my smelling is fucking correct!
Sheesh...
Este hombre es un patriota. Darle la bienvenida por favor and teach him...ven y toma se for me brochacho.
When are you coming out this way with your hunting gear? The coyotes are rampaging in Riverside!

Blue said...

Damn, Kenny...

That's good work.

RichardR said...

DAMN! I'd ride with you any day.....if you had a bike.

Father Confessor said...

Well, from the comments you seem to have one or two other Latinos here Wirecutter.

Anonymous said...

Hitler as mardoom gun haro gereft. Ba'adan koshteshoon.
Stalin as mardoom gun haro gereft, va koshtwshoon...
Mao hamintor... Polpot va Castro hamintor...

Americans khar neestan, medonand donya chejor'eh...

God bless America and its gift of 2nd Amendment... Kind of tyrants above will have a tough time trying to pull off their atrocities here in America...
God bless America...

A Proud Naturalized Patriot...

Mr. Miracle said...

Out-Fuckin-Standing, WC. While I don't usually sing the praises of another man who isn't dead, I do believe you are one of the same ilk as those hooligans and rebels that started this country. Glad to know your practicing what you preach, and preaching what you know. I too, am a Latino, being of Portuguese and Mexican mix, and I too would stand and defend that "Yellowed Paper" with my last breath. Although, I would much rather they give up their last breath first. You all know who they are. Jose knows it too. I would hope that more of his brethren are listening and seeking wisdom. They are part of what made this country great, as well. Keep it up, WC, you Patriot!

Anonymous said...

Jose will spread the knowledge Kenny Lane gives him...

- Rumson

Borepatch said...

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Please pass on to your friend my comment: Welcome, citizen.

Joe said...

Joe here, I think it is safe to say that if "Patriots" had a issue with Jose, they don't qualify for that label.

My 6th Great Grandfather John Crieder was not born here and fought for that yellow paper when it was brand new. Just one of 3 of my ancestors who were counted in the original 3%. You either get it, or you don't. He gets it. Tell him he has a place up the road if he needs.

thebronze said...

Awesome story, Kenny!!

Old NFO said...

Well done sir, WELL DONE!

LT Prepper said...

Damn, Kenny. I needed a jump start... and that did it. As messed up as our country is right now, we still have it better than the vast majority of the world, and there are people who would go through a mile of crap just to be here, LEGALLY. We must never forget that. These folks who LEGALLY come here from other countries know better than many natural-born Americans what a great gift we have... thanks for the reminder!
Stay strong
LT

DaddyBear said...

Good on ya! The most patriotic Americans I know are citizens by choice, not by chance.