12/23/2014 01:02 pm ET Updated Feb 21, 2015

No Hablo Espanol: That Time I Tried to Buy a Pinata

In high school I took three years of Spanish. I got good grades in my Español classes and that may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I sat next to "A" student, Paul "Pablo" Hagen, every year. I'm not saying I cheated, I just liked to "double check" my answers on occasion. I'm thorough like that.

Without Pablo at my side, my fluency in Spanish has deteriorated to counting to 100 and being able to ask for directions to the library. I understand more than I speak and by "understand" I mean I can sort of figure out every third word if you are speaking v-e-r-y slowly and every third word is "casa."

After a recent trip to the party store to purchase a piñata for Bob's birthday party, I was alarmed to find that the mainstream Star Wars piñatas offered were small (the size of a human head) and over-priced ($39.99). I made calls to a few local piñata stores that I found online. The script for each call was the same:

Them: Hello Piñata Junction. Can I help you?


Hello Piñata World. Can I help you?


Hello Las Piñatas. Can I help you?

Me: Hi, yeah. I'm looking for a Star Wars piñata?

Them: Hold on. Jaime?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!


Hold on. Norma?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!


Hold on. Jesus?! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?!

After a few moments the person would return to the phone and tell me that they did not have any but they could make me one by Thursday or Thursday or Wednesday. I then drove to a small Mexican party store not too far from home and see if they had any in stock. The tiny store was packed with piñatas. A Mexican grandma sat behind the counter eating take-out Thai food, watching a tele-novella on a small TV.

Her: Hola!

Me: Hola! Donde esta las piñatas de Star Wars?

I smiled, impressing myself with my amazing accent. La Grandma then launched into a long involved answer in Spanish. I nodded uncomprehendingly, smiled again and handed her the contents of my wallet.

I will pick up my Star Wars piñata in two days and it will be made quickly by her husband who is named Diego and likes football at the house.


I will pick up my Star Wars piñata in eighteen days and it will be the size of a four footballs house footballs.


I will pick up my football piñata in four days and a Go Diego bouncy house will be delivered at eighteen hundred hours.

Muchas gracias para nada, Pablo Hagen.