by Gilberto Acosta
Okay, so it’s Turkey Day again; or Thanksgiving Day, as it’s more commonly known. I’m sure that most of you already know that turkey isn’t even served in the first Thanksgiving Day celebration, which isn’t even Thanksgiving. It’s an age-old Harvest Festival that is commonly celebrated in England. However, the circumstances that lead to the celebrating of the first Thanksgiving might have been horrible. It involved the usual extermination of Native Americans.
Anyway, it’s Turkey Day, but I ain’t eating no turkey this year -- again. Turkeys aren’t too expensive when they’re on sale, but I can’t even afford to buy the smallest generic bird. I’m an older full-time student here at Texas State, so I’m pretty much broke most of the time. I’m just grateful that I have a roommate to help me with the rent, which is only $380.00 -- All Bills Paid! This price is excellent, considering that it’s 2006. Of course, the apartment is old, ugly, and small; only 450 square feet. They look very similar to housing projects because they are built with cheap-looking block. This small complex of 24, called Riverside, used to be apartments for the National Guard. The government sold the apartments to the university, which are adjacent to the school.
But as I was saying, I ain’t eating no turkey today; or any other day in the near future. For breakfast, I eat two toast breads with margarine (I can’t afford butter) with some peach and mango fruit spread that is a luxury item for me at a price of $1.99 for a small jar. I know that’s expensive, but I just can’t resist buying it. I also have a mug of strong Colombian coffee. I just have to splurge on this item at about $9.00 for a large plastic jar; I’m a big coffee-drinker and a writer. This breakfast will hold me up for about two hours. At almost six-feet and 200 lbs., I’ve got a healthy appetite. I’m actually somewhat of a scary sight to see when I’m half-starved and eating. My roommate already knows to keep his fingers clear away from me. He’s always kind enough to let me have the last portion of any remaining food; because he knows that if he doesn’t do that, I’ll just beat him up and take it from him, anyway. He also knows that I’m not a pretty sight to be with when I’m hungry and frustrated.
Well, since it’s Turkey Day, I guess that I should go over the whole “What am I thankful for” routine. What am I thankful for? Let me see. O my; good question. Well, I’m grateful that we, as Mexicanos and Chicanos, aren’t exterminated when the Anglos invade – twice. I’m grateful that we weren’t enslaved. I’m grateful that we only lose our land and livestock, and not our Integrity. I’m thankful for my Mexican culture, because Anglos have none. I’m grateful for my Romance language, even though The Conqueror tries to extinguish it. I’m grateful that mami teaches me not to lie, steal, hate, oppress, enslave, or to commit genocide. There; hey, I feel better, now. I have to do this every year.
Anyhow, for lunch I eat four chalupas. I warm up some refried beans that come with bits of jalapeño in a can, even though I don’t know why they’re called “refried.” I’ve been wondering that almost all the 47 years that I’ve been alive; it seems to be a mystery. If someone knows, please tell me. The generic can of beans only cost fifty-cents! Isn’t that a bargain? I warm up a third of the can of beans, and save the rest for two more meals. Then I fry the generic-brand white corn tortillas that come in a 36-count bag. They only cost .99 cents, and that, too, is a bargain. Though, they’re quite thin; but still tasty. Though, not anywhere near good to what my mother would make from scratch. I thinly spread the beans on the fried corn tortillas and then I add a small packet of condiment of hot sauce to give it more of a kick. I’m a real Mexican. The condiment packets are brought home by my roommate. I hope he isn’t planning to use them. In this apartment, everything in the refrigerator is up for grabs. I don’t have any cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, or onions to add to the chalupas. After gulping them down, I have a glass of cola which only cost .99 cents for a two-liter bottle. This meal, at a cost of less than one dollar, will hold me up until dinner time, which is only a few hours away.
Well, it’s evening time; Turkey Day, but of course -- no turkey. You guessed it; I’m having chalupas again for dinner. Heck, let me make a proposition: How about calling Turkey Day, “Chalupa Day,” for the rest of us who can’t afford to buy turkey. It’s true that chalupas are a Mexican dish, but Mexican cooking is quite popular in the southwest and other areas like California and Florida. That’s right; “Chalupa Day,” no matter how you serve the tortillas or what you put on top of them. “Chalupa Day,” just as there is a “Festivus for the rest of us.” Chalupa Day! Sounds catchy and I think I can get used to it. I might as well, because I’m not eating any turkey any time soon. Chalupa Day.
Here is what Gilberto wants us to know about him, in his own words:
My name is Gilberto T. Acosta. born and raised in san antonio, texas, USA. I am a graduate from Texas State University, where i majored in english and spanish literature. I'm 58 years old and i have lived in a homeless shelter for the past 3 years. i have been homeless for 7 years. i have been unable to work because of mental illness. i have bipolar, major depression, anxiety, PTSD, and ADHD. I have no publication history. i have pasted the best pic i have of myself.
Check out our interview with Gilberto here!