During my time as a server at the smelly Golden Corral Buffet, I got the nickname "Quico". I never knew how the word was spelled, and I just thought it was some sort of Spanish term of endearment or some made up word. I asked the cooks about it once, and all I got was giggles.
A couple years later, I met a Peruvian named Walter at ballroom dancing lessons. Walter was hilarious, and always spoke very highly of his faraway homeland: "It's beautiful country - full of jungles, waterfalls...and crack cocaine, hee!" One Monday night, as we were practicing the Salsa, I was surprised to hear Wally call me Quico, too. Of course I had to know why everyone from south of the border felt the need to call me this, so I confronted him about it. His face turned red and he started to apologize. "I just want to know who Quico is!" I squeaked. He would only say that Quico was a character on a Mexican television program.
I literally scoured the interweb for years, searching for this mysterious TV show with no success. Finally, by some sort of stupid luck, I found what I was looking for. The "Kiko" which I presumed to be female, cute, and cartoonish was actually "Quico" (of "El Chavo del Ocho"), a spoiled, fat-faced little boy, played by a grown man who may or may not be wearing prosthetic cheeks.
Unfortunately, I cannot deny his striking resemblance to myself. My mother told me that when I was born, the doctor remarked on what extremely large jowls I had, and then promptly reassured her that they would disappear as I got older. Wrong!
On the plus side, I'm filled with glee just imagining the reaction I would get if I traveled through Mexico wearing a sailor suit and beanie hat. That would make for a hilarious vacation.