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DIANNE KLEIN

Caramba! A Devil of a Time She's Having

April 20, 1993|DIANNE KLEIN

The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and the evil must be stopped.

This will not be easy, of course, but I beseech those of you who are reading this to do your part. Because it's pret-ty darn scary, I tell you.

Just when you least expect it, the Dark Forces seize the moment, and the neighborhood even, holding the rest of us hostage. But I, for one, have resolved to do my part.

I will no longer eat Shrimp Diablo.

Ditto deviled eggs--which I've always hated, but hey, it's a symbol--and the next time that insidious melody "Devil with a blue dress, blue dress, blue dress, devil with a blue dress on!" invades my thoughts, I will stop what I am doing, squeeze my eyes shut and will myself to think of a more positive mantra, like:

"Mission Viejo. The California Promise. Mission Viejo. The California Promise. Mission Viejo. The California Promise. Mission. Viejo. Promise. Mission California. Viejo. I mean, Mission. Promise. California. Um. I Promise. On my honor, I will try to do my duty to. . .I mean. . .Promise me, Mission Viejo, that this is all a stupid joke."

GOD! It's happening! You see, the DEVIL! I mean, Los Diablos have commandeered my mind!

Inhalation. . .Exhalation. Deeeep breaths. In and out. One, and two, and one, and two.. . .There.

OK. Now, where was I? Oh yes, Mission Viejo and the Diablos.

Mission Viejo is a lovely place in South Orange County that boasts many amenities, such as a simulated natural lake with authentic sand in designated beach areas, and several athletic fields. The community was, in fact, planned that way by the Mission Viejo Co., which came up with the idea of calling it. . .Mission Viejo!

Now not to get too technical here, or you know, bilingual , but Mission Viejo is supposed to be a Spanish name. This is intended to give the community that vaguely cosmopolitan feel that developers like without actually slipping over the line to foreign which, of course, is the very last thing you want.

In reality, however, Mission Viejo is a Spanish- sounding name, as in, "I dunno. Sounds Mexican to me."

Were it to be grammatically correct--in Spanish, that is--the community would have been named Mision Vieja , which in case you're wondering, means Old Mission, which of course sounds more like a tortilla manufacturer than the outdoorsy, vaguely cosmopolitan place that Mission Viejo actually is.

All of this is important to understanding the background surrounding the arrival of the Devil (nee the Diablos) at Mission Viejo High School.

What I'm saying here is that this kind of evil can just sneak up on you. I mean, sure, you start off by thinking, "Boy, do I feel vaguely cosmopolitan living on a street that is really a calle ."

And then of course, your friend lives on a via , and pretty soon, you're talking about garbanzos and even zucchini, without even knowing what it all really means , and the next thing you know, the Devil's on your child's back.

Really. You think I'm making this up? I am not making this up.

The Devil actually arrived in Mission Viejo in 1966, when Mission Viejo High School opened and someone had the idea of calling the school teams the Diablos.

I haven't exactly pinned this down, but I think what happened was one of the guys from the Mission Viejo Co. suggested it to somebody over there because he had fond memories of Lupe at his favorite Mexican restaurant always saying, "Ay, que diablo!" everytime he'd spill another margarita.

This guy probably figured it meant, "Boy, are you one red-hot chili pepper!"

At any rate, it wasn't like this was Mexico or anything. We're talking Mission Viejo here, where people speak American. To give you an idea, they name the teams the Diablos, and then adopt a longhorn steer for a mascot.

Which was all fine, you understand, until 20 years after the school opened when some parents who--and I may be going out on a limb here--were apparently abducted by cult members who secreted them across the border to Mexico and forced them to engage in satanic rituals.

Then at some point in the proceedings, one of the parents heard the word diablo mentioned and well, the rest is history.

When the parents returned to their vias and calles in Mission Viejo, they contacted administrators at Mission Viejo High School, who after first checking with a Spanish teacher, reported back that, indeed, diablo did mean devil.

Which, of course, explained all those little devils that kept cropping up on football helmets and cheerleading uniforms and yearbook covers. Kids can be sneaky (nee devilish), all right!

And, naturally, school officials reacted in the same knee-jerk way that has endeared generations of high school administrators to their students. It banned the devil mascot once and for all, and after a vote, adopted a drooling bulldog to represent the Diablos.

Since then, of course, I'm sure you've heard.

The little devils have been popping up again at Mission Viejo High, and the school has banned them again, and two coaches have resigned, and parents are polarized and doing meetings, and kids are finding out what a bunch of idiots grown-ups can be, and you know, the usual stuff.

Sounds like the Devil's work to me. And, you ask me, the next step should be a nationwide ban on deviled eggs.

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