In yesterday’s Impromptus, I had jottings about New Mexico, and I thought I’d share a few more, courtesy of readers:
1) “You know how you know you’re from New Mexico? You thought you hated Texans until the Californians showed up.”
2) “Do you know that New Mexico is the only state with an official state question? It’s also one of the few with an official state cookie.”
The cookie is the bizcochito. The question is, “Red or green?” (a reference to chile sauce).
3) “You’re right, the Roundhouse [the state capitol] has no security. But everyone knows that New Mexicans pack” (i.e., carry weapons). (The governor, Susana Martinez, certainly does. There’s a popular video of her as she “requalifies,” I believe. Try here.)
4) “The accent in New Mexico’s Madrid is on the first syllable.” Ha! Same with Berlin, N.H.: BER-lin.
5) “Jay, you talked about place-names such as Madrid, Rome, and Paris in America. Well, I used to live right next to the tiny town of East Berlin, Conn. Picturesque, but I was jarred every time I passed the sign for it on the highway.”
6) In my column, I said that the mere sight of St. John’s College made me think I should be speaking Latin or something. Several St. John’s people wrote me to say, “You numbskull, our language is Greek!” (No, they were perfectly nice.)
7) Quick extract from a lovely and lyrical letter:
Hey, Jay, you went to the wrong part of New Mexico! My wife and I moved to Ramah about four months ago. It has 400 people according to the census, but I’ve never seen more than about eight at any one time. . . .
We’re at 7,000 feet . . . and at night I can see the moons around Jupiter with just binoculars while lying in the hot tub . . . In the morning I have sunrises over the rolling mountains to the east, and in the evening great sunsets over the sandstone cliffs to the west. In front of us to the north is a huge field where cattle graze, and when the weather is warmer we usually count 70 mule deer in the field, along with coyotes and prairie dogs. . . .
This is the Land of Enchantment you have heard about, but will never see in developed places like Santa Fe and Albuquerque . . .
8) Finally, I mentioned a street in Santa Fe called Cristo Rey and asked, “Does the ACLU know about this?” Readers said, “What about ‘Santa Fe’? What about ‘Corpus Christi’?” Etc.
Yeah, in foreign languages, you can get away with stuff. Reminds me of a story — I’ve told it on this site before. (Twice?) A singer of my acquaintance was asked to perform at a “holiday tree” lighting in New York. He was asked to sing “O Christmas Tree” (duh) and “Silent Night.” But he was made to sing them in German.
Um, can we survive? And do we deserve to?