Every month or so a group of LA blogueros get together to talk shit, have some beers and share a meal. The meetings are fun, but they’re always missing El Chavo. I figured he didn’t attend because he was too busy sampling his favorite breakfast dish around town to stop by and set anyone who tried calling Echo Park and Silver Lake the Eastside straight. Yeah, sometimes there’s a clueless person who shows up to the gatherings.
This time around, he actually confirmed that he’d be attending. I was curious. What would El Chavo look and sound like? Unlike other blogueros, he’s never showed a picture of himself. Would he look like a veterano or would he have a heavy East LA accent? Would he be a pelÃ³n, long-haired Chicano or somewhere in between?
I soon found out and was very surprised.
El Chavo introduced himself as Memo. He didn’t look like a Memo to me. He didn’t even look like a Chavo to me. Now, I know raza comes in all colors and that there are some guero Mexicanos, so I didn’t want to assume. After all, I hate when people question my ethnicity. Still, I’m not good at hiding emotions and Memo could tell I was confused. He clarified the origin of his nicknames, both El Chavo and Memo.
“I moved to LA from Omaha in 1999. I got a job as a web designer, but it was only part-time. I got another job waiting tables in Hollywood. The cooks and busboys translated my name, William, to Guillermo. Soon enough, they were calling me Memo. The cooks were the ones who taught me to make the rice and beans and appreciate true Mexican food, not the Mexican-American fare more common around here.”
The rest of the blogueros stared blankly. Omaha? That’s where my Grandma was born, maybe his family had a similar story. Still, I was pretty shocked to find out he had not grown up in East LA. As for taking on the El Chavo moniker, he explained that too,
“The cooks started teasing me that I was like El Chavo del Ocho because I was always eating tortas de jamÃ³n — before I became a vegetarian — and wearing those hats with the flaps on them, baggy pants, and striped shirts. Plus, I have freckles and look kinda young. I had no clue I looked like him until they brought in a picture. It’s not like we got Telemundo or Univision back in Omaha.”
Crazy… you think you know a bloguero.
He was cool though. I still love that he’s started LA Eastside and enjoy his blog. Oh yeah, there was one thing that did not surprise me about El Chavo/Memo: he brought a 12-pack of some good beer and shared.