The other day I received a care package from Evan LeVine.  Among some of the useless crap he sent me was a “Homies” figurine.  Suddenly I was struck by a longing to be reunited with my “Lil’ Homies” t-shirt.  I hadn’t seen the shirt in years, but after several hours of rummaging through the basement, we were reunited.

In 1994 I started my first year of teaching.  All the kids wore “Lil’ Homies” shirts.  What?  You’ve never heard of “Lil’ Homies” shirts?  That’s because you’re not a Mexican who grew up in Chicago and attended John C. Burroughs Elementary School in 1994.  For whatever reason, I too wanted a shirt.  I wasn’t all that older than those kids, ya know.  Los niños told me that the discount mega-mall was the place to buy a shirt.  The directions were easy enough.  Take bus 60 to the jail, then walk a few blocks down 26th Street.  Here’s what I found at the discount mega-mall: you could eat questionable food, have keys made, buy pots, pans, groceries, ghetto-fabulous clothing, bootleg tapes, bootleg purses, bootleg hats, bootleg jerseys, bootleg everything.  It had a zillion different vendors housed in one enormous stank building.  That was 14 years ago.  Who knows if that beast is still alive and breathing, but if I close my eyes and remember back, I can still see and smell that crazy place.  That’s one more reason I hate living in the suburbs.  There are no discount mega-malls here, only mega malls.

My best side?