john [carlos] doe

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About 20 years ago, I was visiting an older cousin in Korea. She wasn’t married yet then, was a few years outta college, and was working as a piano tutor from home. Apparently, she earned some boola buckaroos with that self-employed job, that she often had to give loans to her two married older brother’s families from time to time.

When I was a kid, the parents made me go through piano lessons after the Pops had bought a piano to put into our home. What I didn’t get was how come the parents didn’t make the sis (aka “Midget / Twerp / da Sidekick / Shorty”) take piano lessons also. The butt was somehow exempted from those dreary, hello-get-me-outta-here-please lessons that I had to go through each week. Lookin’ back at those days now, I’m guessin’ that maybe the parents had hoped that since I was such a lousy school student, maybe I might become a talented pianist, instead.  Neither path had fruited to have a positive ending for me.

That cousin I was visiting taught the students who came to her home (they all seemed to be female) in the same manner the meanie piano tutors I had in the past had. She ever so sternly instructed a student to play a part of the giant piano book’s page again and again, as she tapped her barefoot on the floor, trying to keep the student following in tune with her foot’s rhythm. Although I stayed in the other rooms, in order to not interrupt a student’s lesson time, I could clearly hear that cousin’s barefoot tapping on the floor aloud, even over the full orchestra-like piano’s keys. A serious foot tapper, she was.

One day, we sat on the livingroom floor watching TV together. As we channel-flipped, a show like NYPD Blue was on. That’s when she turned to me with a look of annoyance.

the cousin: “How come whenever a Hispanic person is on these American shows, the guy’s name is always Carlos?”

me: “Huh? Um…”

I had to look up at the ceiling in order to concentrate real hard the last time I had watched an American TV show in which a Hispanic guy had showed in it, whose name was Carlos. I couldn’t remember a single time.

My main reason: The parents had stopped paying for the cable service for our home TV set since I was a kid, that we hadn’t watched cable TV in over a decade.

me: “Uh, I didn’t notice that. They’re always named Carlos?”

the cousin: “Yeah! Aren’t there any other Hispanic names that they could have?!

me: “Sure! Well, there’s Juan, Mario, Pedro…”

the cousin: “But they’re always Carlos!”

me: “Ah.  Well, I dunno.  I had never noticed that.”

 

And right at that moment on the TV screen in front of us, the NYPD cops were about to arrest a Latino man. As they were puttin’ the handcuffs on him, one of ’em said, “Thought you were gonna get away again this time, huh, Carlos?”.

 

 

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