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Cholo, not pa’chuco


Órale, this of Caló episode features another iconic word, cholo. It comes from the Nahuatl, or Aztec, word for dog. It entered the Mexican lexicon during the Spanish colonial period as a pejorative for Natives.

El Low Rider and his sidekick, Sam, led their pack of bicycle lowriders to the park where the real lowriders made their vuelta. They liked to hang around the vatos who parked to polish their ramflas, cabulear with each other, and watchar las rucas.

“Órale, esa. Didn’t I see you at the dance last night?” one vato said in the direction of a gold El Camino stuffed with rucas de aquellas.

“Chale, we were asleep so we could get up early to go to church. Heeheehee!” the young woman driving the El Camino responded, all her friends cackling along with her.

“Oh, pos, then that’s why I didn’t see you at high mass,” the vato snarked.

“As if. You show up at mass and the vato on the cross’ll come down and kick you out himself. He’ll say get out pinche diablo. Heeheehee,” she responded and peeled off before the vato got a chance to come back.

El Low Rider and his crew enjoyed the exchange. But they moved on to a small crowd of pachucos squatting beside their ramflas around a grey-haired ruquillo in kakis and an old, unbuttoned army fatigue, who was doing all the talking.

“Simón, back in the day we didn’t do the vuelta. Le poniamos to the drive-in and watch the chucos drive by. And they never stopped cuz us cholos controlled it,” the old man said.

The vatos gathered around him nodded but otherwise didn’t say anything.

Cholos versus pachucos? El Low Rider was confused and looked over at Sam, who only shrugged.

The ruquillo noticed the disquiet among the ruqitos on biclas.

“Oh, you think cholos are chucos, do you?” he asked nobody in particular.

“Watcha, the cholos were here first. The chucos came later and brought in that El Chuco and Califas onda. My jefito was a cholo, and he didn’t get it from El Chuco.”

El Low Rider nodded, followed by Sam and the rest of their pack.

“I think my jefito was a cowboy,” said a boy who was double-mounted on a banana seat bike.

“Pos he could’ve been a cholo, too. Where’s he now?” the cholo said.

“Pinta,” answered the boy.

“Pos then cholo de amadres,” the ruquillo said nodding.

Oscar Rodriguez is the creator and host of Caló.