© 2024 Marfa Public Radio
A 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Lobby Hours: Monday - Friday 10 AM to Noon & 1 PM to 4 PM
For general inquiries: (432) 729-4578
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A clica of tirilongos


Órale, this is another episode where we feature one of the words contributed by that carnal from Marfa who wrote to suggest some Caló words we hadn’t covered yet. The word this week is tirilongo. It’s a noun and an adjective that means a wannabe, hanger-on, or somebody who otherwise is pretending to be a pachuco or, worse, a vato arranque. You can tell who they are because they have a need to say they’re a “chuco” or “chuca.” But everybody knows, you don’t have to say it if you really are it. Watchas?

El Low Rider got his moniker at El Nick’s chante when he was 12 years old. He got for his bikla with an upholstered pillow banana seat, chrome steering wheel instead of handlebars, and dangling chrome letters that said, “El Low Rider.”

“That vatito is a born lowrider,” El Nick said one afternoon in the middle of the summer to start the meeting of the Southside Low Rider Club, which usually consisted of checking out one of its members’ car project and pisteando (drinking) beer.

“De amadres. His ride is more de aquellas than my Impala. But I’m gonna put hydrolics so it can jump high and beat your bikla, little low rider,” said a mountain of a vato who seemed to know the most about how to fix the old cars that showed up at the Low Rider Club.

All the kids who hung around El Nick’s chante watching the chucos work on cars took note.

“Eeee! He’s a low rider just cuz his bikla,” one of the youngest boys said.

All the boys gathered around El Low Rider to both congratulate him in silence and absorb some of the street cred he had just been handed.

El Low Rider showed no expression behind his big dark sunglasses and black tapita (lid).

“Hey, ese, wanna do a vuelta at the park? We’ll follow you in line,” said another boy.

“Simón, we can ride by the other clica and show’em,” said yet another boy, who didn’t have a bikla cuz he preferred to double up with one of his fellow bike low riders.

El Low Rider didn’t respond. He was gonna think about it bien slow, like he always did.

“Watcha those vatitos tirilando around el little lowrider,” a crew cut young man working on the mountain chuco’s lowrider Impala said.

“Siról. Trying to be chucos, like a lot of vatos,” responded El Nick without even looking up from the engine of a ‘59 Fairlane one of the club members was working on dropping.

The remark was lost on Crew Cut.

“Next you’ll see’em in a long line behind him getting in the way of the real low riders doing the vuelta,” Crew Cut persisted.

El Nick took a side glance at him and furrowed his brow at the mountain vato, who had just stepped back from his Impala.

“No that’s the tirilongos’ onda? Find a real chuco and follow him,” the Mountain said, rocking his head back at El Nick.

“Simón, that’s what tirilongos do,” El Nick said looking down at the Fairlane’s engine.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.