The Mirror And The Force
By Mark McGrew

     México is a mirror, a reflection, of your own attitude. If you come to Mexico and act like a human being, Mexicans are the nicest people in the world. But if you come here with an attitude problem and act like a jerk, they will, most assuredly, show you what a serious jerk can be. Mexico is Mexico and it is no different than wherever you are from. Mexicans are kind, generous, helpful, compassionate, considerate, everything we respect in our friends at home.
     American people are without a doubt, a lot more uptight than the Mexican people. I feel safer in Mexico, than I do in America. So, most of all, relax, meet some new friends, learn some interesting things, enjoy the scenery. Browse the shops. Be nice and be willing to learn. You will see a lot of strange customs that don’t seem to make sense and appear ignorant or stupid. Be aware there is a reason. It is the spirit of reason and logic. Consider that there is reason or logic to all you see, and maybe you will discover a sensible answer to what you thought was silly.
     My brother was in a remote village and saw zip-lock baggies, half-full of water, hanging on a porch. My brother asked what they were for and he was told, “It keeps the flies away.” He does this himself at home now, and in a land of lots of flies and screened-in porches, he has no screens, or flies.
     The mirror. You respect me and I will respect you. As a way to earn a little respect for the Mexicans, consider this: Their homes may be small, but they are paid for. Their car may be old, but it is paid for. No mortgage. No credit cards. As the family goes, so goes the nation. We are a debtor society. They respect cash.
     Take all the assets of the United States of America, and liquidate everything, sell it all off. Balance the books. Start from scratch with a new economy. What would each American end up with as their reward in this society? A bill due for $35,000. If you were to do the same thing in Mexico, each and every Mexican citizen would receive a check for $30,000. So who’s poor?
     So have a little respect for the Mexicans. Sure they are different. Thank God we are different. And their strange customs actually do make sense. The mirror of Mexico is: show respect and you will get respect back, usually more than you gave. Be a bad guy and they will show you incredible injustice. You will hate Mexico and swear never to go back. And that is what they want. They don’t want you here if you are a self-righteous, opinionated jerk. I don’t want you here either if you act like a jerk. Stay in America. You are embarrassing to me.
     Now, there are jerks in Mexico. If you are accosted by someone, and you are innocent of wrong doing, face up to them. They know right and wrong. It usually only takes you to point it out that they are being unjust. Be polite, but firm. If you still are not satisfied, walk away. And remember “The Force.” Some people only understand force and you have to know how to apply it. Violence is seldom necessary. The majority of the times that “Force” is necessary, it is wielded out as a stern look, as a disappointed father would look at a son who boo-booed, for the tenth time today. The look should say, “I know this is wrong and you know this is wrong. Are you going to be stupid enough to argue with me on this?” If that does not solve the problem, walk away. Enough is enough.
     Learn the game and learn the rules. Just like America, some people in Mexico will try to take advantage of your ignorance. Some of them think that just because you can’t speak fluent Spanish, you can’t count your change either. Always count your change. And if your change is short, mention it to the person. Usually, like here, it is just an accident, and with embarrassing smiles, they will recount your change for you. If they don’t want to correct the problem or even attempt to, it is because they know what they did and don’t want to get caught at it.
     Just go with the flow, because somewhere down the road in your trip, someone or something will replace the change you lost before. It’s weird, but it always, always works out even. You pay more for one thing and get another thing the next day at an incredible unexpected discount. It is almost as if they are all in communication with each other and when you are 300 miles away from where you lost five dollars, the person who has your five dollars, clairvoyantly radios ahead to someone else to return your five dollars.
     I love Mexico. I love the good and the bad. There is an overriding sense of justice and fairness and respect. Sure there are bad things. So what? No place is a Shangri-La. Remember the Mirror and put on your best face for a trip to Mexico. A lot of times I had to rely on blind trust. I had no other choice. The trust won every time. Treat the Mexicans well. You are in their country and you are in their home.
     Enjoy Mexico. I sure do!
     (Ed. Note: Mark is a business consultant specializing in Mexican investments. This is his debut article for us.)

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