*Warning! Today’s post deals with some intense social issues and may not be suitable for anyone. If you’re hoping for the usual zany post on SLR today, I’m afraid this one isn’t it. It started out that way, but didn’t end up that way. I have hesitated publishing this for some time, afraid that my message would be lost in the delivery, but today I’ve decided to post it…

Back in the Bay Area before the Simpson’s Movie came out, there was a 7-11 promotion which had designed some stores to look like Kwik-E-Mart.

I got a chance to very quickly stop and take a look and… A part of me would be offended… but darn it, it’s the Simpson’s and it’s just to cool!

I especially like the attention to details, like the Krusty O’s and Buzz Cola.

I won’t go into how Apu has become the face of Indian-Americans, or East Asians, or Eastern Middle Eastern or South Asians, or sand ni**ers (yes, I’ve been called that) or Fazians or whatever you guys are calling us this week.

Or how much that sucked growing up, having our only identifiable image in the media be a sterotypical 7-11 store clerk who lives and dies by his store and its sky high prices and can achieve that American Dream of hard rock, fast times and a Trans-Am if only he can sell one more slushed ice drink while avoiding being shot one to many times (50cent has nothing on Apu… I wonder if his name has anything to do with the Apu Trilogy).

Haha, I sell Slurpies and work at 7-11, it is to laugh. Haha. (And your dad sits on a couch all day looking in the cushions for loose change for those Slurpies while he has to constantly remind himself that your sister is off-limits but you’re okay. But lucky for you, because tonight he’s to drunk on moonshine he made in the tub out of an assortment of whatever was under the sink to get up and do anything to you… whoa whoa whoa! I gotta be careful, there could be children reading this.)

Thanks Apu for keeping that image alive, I know it was tough with the LA Riots and the Korean grocery store clerk from “Menace II Society” and that fat guy from New Jersey challenging your store clerk dominance, but you persevered.

He’s our most identifiable personality, and he’s animated to boot! WTF?!

I remember the first time I saw an Indian person on TV, seriously, I was 11 or 12 and it was a Saturday and a commercial for AT&T came on and in it an Indian grandfather in India was talking to his grandson in America. I remember it in that much detail, it was that monumental for an 11-year-old to see someone that looked like him on TV.

Years later CNet would have a series of ads with an Indian man in a yellow shirt helping people find tech answers… but of course now we’re just in another service role and another stereotype. Before that there was Short Circuit (or maybe the sequel) that had an Indian character and since then all we’ve gotten is Kal Penn (what? Penn, you know Penn… sigh, Kumar) and M. Night Shyamalan. (Way to go “the next Spielberg”… hey you wanna know something, Steve’s secret is good source material. If you can’t write it yourself just make a movie from a book like all the greats did- Spielberg, Kubrick, Scorsese, Frankenheimer, Coppola, Lean…)

Anyway, I said I won’t go into how Apu is my culture’s sole representative (Deepak Chopra does not count, he’s only selling you what you want, that we’re some mystic people discovered by George Harrison, and you too can be just like the Beatles), so let me stop now before I really get my rant on.

The Simpson’s has been a part of the TV landscape forever it seems, but it’s actually only 18 years. That’s almost an entire generation’s lives! I still remember when the Simpson’s came out. School’s were banning Bart Simpson shirts, my parents wouldn’t let me watch it because of the language (and Cosby was on at the same time), “Don’t have a cow man” became a part of the lexicon and I was making an anti-drug poster with Bart for an assignment in my 5th grade class.

I remember the first episode I saw as well, it was the one where Bart and the other kids in class all band together to fight off Nelson the bully. It even had a great sequence that was lifted right out of “The Longest Day” (which I’m not sure why I recognized at the time… my dad let me watch war movies but somehow “Eat my shorts” crossed a line). And the Christmas Special before that, which taught me another new word, “galoshes” (I was sad to learn that it wasn’t anything dirty).

So when I heard about this 7-11 in Moutain View, one of only 11 nationwide redone to resemble Apu’s Kwik-E-Mart, strategically placed at that in between Google, Microsoft, and other tech companies (hereto refereed to as nerd central, a core Simpson fan base), I had to take a trek.

And no, my favorite character isn’t Apu… but I’m sure you guessed that by now.

Sure some people will still, as my friends roommate refers to me, call me ‘dot’. A slur derived from the Hindu ritual, so I guess I can’t blame Apu for everything. At least people know that there were Indians before Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

*If you found today’s post at all offensive, well I warned you. Happier posts to come, I’m sorry if this dose of my reality was to in-polite.