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Borlo’s the last thing I want


Órale, the featured word this week on Caló is borlo. It’s one of the words suggested by that carnal from Marfa who also contributed two of the Caló words we used last month, tirilongo and clecha. It comes from the Mexican regional Spanish word, likely of Nahuatl or Aztec orgin, borlote. It means fuss, melee, uproar, commotion, or tumult. It’s a noun, but it can also be used as an adjective, as in "he's very borlotero", someone who’s always causing a fuss or uproar. Depending on the context, borlo can also have an almost neutral meaning, as in a big dance or event that may be drawing a lot of attention or visitors.

El Low Rider learned he’d gotten the reputation of being a borlotero when the word got out that he stopped a fight.

He didn’t want that reputation. He preferred to be quiet. It wasn’t that he was a listener. Chale. If he didn’t like what he was hearing, he’d just blank out, and there wasn’t much that was said around him that kept his attention. He didn’t talk much because he just wanted to be a vato of few words, like the ruquillo in the Kung Fu TV series. He liked that his friends saw that he said few words and no warnings, puro action de amadres.

So the feedback that people now thought of him as a borlotero irked him. It bothered him even more because he couldn’t do anything about it. If he jumped on somebody because they said he was a borlotero, it’d only make things worse.

What could he do?

“I stopped a fight. Now I’m a borlotero. Nel,” El Low Rider complained to his sidekick, Sam.

“Simón, ese,” said Sam.

“Can you think of why?” El Low Rider asked.

“Pos you le cantaste a both vatos who were about to fight,” said Sam.

“Pos that’s how I stopped it,” said El Low Rider.

Sam shrugged.

“Órale. De aquellas. I’m a borlotero, but for peace, ese,” said El Low Rider.

“Dale shine,” said Sam.

“Chale. I just want to mind my own business, watchas,” said El Low Rider.

Sam nodded.

“Just tell everybody I don’t like borlos. And I go to church. And I don’t say madres,” said El Low Rider.

“Pos it’s not me, ese. It’s everybody else,” said Sam.

El Low Rider didn’t say more to regain his few-words persona.

“Watcha, let’s go riding in our biclas and forget about it,” said El Low Rider.

“Machín,” said Sam.

They hopped on their lowrider biclas and headed for the park.

When they got to the big road, they spotted the rest of their gang on the other side.

“If anybody says anything about a borlo, just stay cool,” said El Low Rider.

Sam nodded.

Their friends waited patiently, but dropped their composure when El Low Rider was among them.

“Hey, vato, there’s a big borlo at the park. They said come get you cuz…” one of the boys started to say before El Low Rider cut him off.

“Chale, I’m not interested in borlos,” said El Low Rider.

“Eeee! Now it’s an even bigger borlo. Let’s go tell’m,” another kid in the pack said excitedly.

El Low Rider and Sam shook their heads.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.