Erin has a friend from Mexico. This girl showed up in the eighth grade knowing no English at all and learned it very quickly and, more than that, became extremely popular. Everyone loves her. I think it’s a bit of a mystery to her parents; her Dad is a chemical engineer of some sort and is always working and her mom is very quiet – mostly because her English is not very good. At least she thinks so – I don’t have any trouble understanding her. I suppose one day they will return to Mexico but for now they seem happy.

Anyway, Erin and her friends apparently decided that since the whole homecoming royalty thing is nothing more than a popularity contest anyway, that they would nominate their Mexican friend. She is many wonderful things but beauty queen is not one of them.

Well, she garnered enough votes to make it. Erin said that there were several cheerleaders and “preps” who were plenty steamed about being outvoted but Erin and her friends were thrilled. There are many lessons to be learned here; most of them political.

What amused me was the girl’s attempt to explain to her parents what had just happened and what it meant. Her Dad speaks multiple languages fluently so he understood well enough but was still a bit culturally mystified. The conversation went something like:

“So I need to buy a long dress.”


“To wear to the game.”

“You’re wearing a formal dress to a football game?”


“Is the school paying for it?”


“You mean a bunch of other kids chose you to do something that is causing me to have to buy a fancy dress that you’re only going to wear once and likely freeze when you do because you’ll be sitting outside?”

“Yes. Pretty much.”

“They elected you; they should pay for the dress.”

“That’s not how it works.”

I wish I had been a fly on the wall for that conversation. In the end she got her long dress and did indeed freeze as she sat on the dais in the end zone and her parents did show up and take lots of photos. Everybody seemed happy. Except some cheerleaders and preps who had gotten stiffed during the election.