I have mixed feelings about Cinco de Mayo. I grew up in central Texas, and celebrated the date every year after a certain point. On the other hand, the certain point was when I reached drinking age, which was the age at which my friends and I could convince winos to buy us tequila at liquor stores. That became a road to misery.
My first exposure to tequila was at age 16 on a high school Spanish Club trip to Monterrey. One of my buds, who was fluent in Spanish without having to be taught, evaded the teachers by climbing out a hotel window and down a fire escape on our first afternoon there, returning with a couple of bottles. That night I never made it out of the bus that took our teachers and us to some restaurant. I said I was sick, and that was no fuckin’ lie.
Even now, all it takes is the smell of straight tequila to bring on a wave of nausea. Doesn’t mean I’ve given up on it (there have been many subsequent tequila poisoning experiences in the many years since that Monterrey trip), but these days I prefer to take my poison in a margarita. Goes down easier, though a high percentage of the time I still wind up crouched over a toilet begging for mercy.
But I don’t mean to suggest that Cinco de Mayo is nothing more than a chance to get shit-faced. There’s rich history behind the date as well, but in my mind it’s also an excuse to revisit some Mexican metal. That’s another form of poison I can’t seem to resist.