Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Power of the chancla

The Power of the Chancla.

Latinos are raised on tradition. From meals, to holidays to everyday chores, we are used to doing it a certain way that was passed on from our parents. One of these traditions is "la chancla." If you ask your fellow Latino whether or not they have a “chancla” story, I am sure they will tell you a good one that will bring tears to your eyes .
A chancla is a slipper, sandal, an everyday shoe worn by mama. It is the weapon held high in the air and waved by our mothers when she is threatening us to behave or else. It is the boomerang thrown at the “mocoso” running away after beating up his/her sister or brother. The chancla always hit its target.

You may ask yourself, how do you get the power of the chancla? Know that it is something passed down in the genes and once you become a mother, poof. You have it. Every now and then there are those that must develop the power because it doesn’t come naturally. Yours truly is one of those.

Case in point….when my daughter Maia was about 4 years old we were coming out of the house and there was a cat on my car. I was trying to scare it away but those wild alley cats are tough. So I carefully slipped off my flip-flop (my chancla of choice) and flung it at the cat summoning all my power into the chancla. The chancla went the other direction. Maia looked at me and declared “mom, you don’t have the power of the chancla.” My husband thought I was pitiful. Had this talent skipped a generation? Should I have cried to my ancestors, “ give me the strength to hit the frickin’ cat”? Now how would I scare my children into doing what they were told?

Needless to say, I never redeemed myself from the virginal throw of the chancla. I have become better at hitting my targets (stay away cats!) and my ancestors now smile upon me. Please know this is a secret tradition passed along to our families because those who don’t understand will call child services. In reality it is the threat (the bark not the bite) that gets those kids moving. Those in the realm of the chancla know that it only happens when it is well deserved.

Walk in peace my sistas.


  1. I love your writing it!

  2. May the power of the chancla always be with you :) Love this!

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