There is no Latino who hasn’t heard the word chancleta in their life and few who haven’t been the victims of a lesson whose moral included a chancletazo. To some, even well into adulthood, the mention of it can cause a cringe and a twitch, as well as the primordial urge to flee. Nothing more than a simple sandal, a chancleta is a disciplinary tool meant to shock not harm, but it does inspire fear, respect and the very real threat that it if leaves the foot it will strike and find you for your offenses. This is the story of one such chancleta, told tongue-in-cheek in English and Spanish, and the Holy Trinity that is The Way of La Chancleta.
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This was fun to write and I did it for my high school friends, many of who are now living in the States but whose roots are deeply in
Puerto Rico. I wrote in English, but the important bits
are in the requisite español.
You need not be bilingual to enjoy the story, but coming from a bilingual Latino household adds a little nuance that can’t just be explained. It’s one of those priceless things…
The story combines two stories: one is a teenage shenanigan from a former co-worker’s kid and its aftermath; the other is a story I overheard on the bus one morning as I left my step-father’s apartment in the
East Side. The
rest, the details, are cultural tidbits that add flavor – like sofrito.
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La Chancleta is the story one such chancleta, told in English and Spanish. It is available at Smashwords* and will become available at other electronic retailers in the coming weeks.
*Blog readers may download the e-book for free by entering the special code provided below at checkout:
May 25, 2012