Caló: You better get trucha, ese

Órale, the Caló word today is ‘trucha.’ It means trout in Spanish, but in Caló trucha means en garde, check things out or look at everything closely. Before I go further, however, I want to mention a similar word we covered a couple of episodes ago, aguila, which means eagle. Like trucha, it’s one of the nuances of telling someone to watch out. The next four episodes will be dedicated to this segment of human communication. Aguila is what you use when the subject causing the alert is attacking or otherwise seeking you out, like a rattlesnake. You want to use aguila in these case because eagles will defeat rattlesnake. So be ‘aguila.’ Trucha is different in that the threat is not specifically known, as in crossing a high-speed intersection.

By Oscar “El Marfa” Rodriguez

Boy was at the hardware store in Ranchos waiting to pay for the wrench socket he needed to turn a bolt in an old Ford. Ahead of him was a very talkative elderly man, who seemed to be engaged in a conversation with several people in the next cashier’s isle. 

“Eh, they cruise by there going 50 or more, and the people driving across are doing the same,” said the old man.

“Ya, there’s been accidents already,” said a man in a green camouflage t-shirt in the middle of the line.

“You gotta go just as fast as them, cuz otherwise the guy behind you is going fast too,” said another guy in the same line, wearing a coat out of season. 

“Ya, I’m all trucha, when I cross there. You never know,” the old man said. 

Everybody that heard him smiled. It was an old term from yesteryear.

The old man sensed the moment.

“Pos, sí, trucha like they’re trying to get you or you could get them,” said the old man to emphasize his point.

Boy hadn’t heard the term in a long time.

Why not aguila?” asked Boy.

“No, that’s if you’re watching out for a rattlesnake or something,” said the guy who was all trucha.

“Eagle kills the rattlesnake. So be an eagle. That’s what you need to be to deal with the situation,” he added to make his point clear. 

“Órale. So if someone’s fishing, the truchas watch out for him?” said Boy.

“Eh? What’s a trucha?” asked the old man.

“Trout, no?” said Boy.

“Pos you don’t say fish to somebody you want to warn about something,” said the old man.

“Here comes somebody speeding behind me and crossing the intersection, pos, trout,” he went on.

“So it’s not trout?” asked Boy.

“Nel, trout is trout. Trucha means be careful something could get you,” said the old man authoritatively.

“Órale,” acknowledged Boy.

“Trucha,” responded the old man.

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