“The thing about heaven is, if you were good you never make it there,” she tells me. “The people in charge give you the option of spending eternity in paradise, or sacrificing your soul to help others. Only the selfish choose paradise, and are immediately cast down to hell — those who choose sacrifice are sent back down to earth as rain. Sometimes as thunderstorms, depending on the burdens they carry.”

I met Joy Campbell late one night at the laundromat.

Maybe “met” isn’t the most accurate way of putting it, since I had drunkenly stumbled in to “do” laundry…

I grew up poor. I grew up afraid. But I grew up, free.

My first video game console was a Playstation that my dad brought home in a plastic bag, riding in the passenger seat of his ’73 Mercedes-Benz 220D. Just as he had second-handedly purchased the playstation from a street vendor right outside of the grocery store he would work for more than 20 years at, that Mercedes came from a Mexican mechanic next door to us who fixed and sold cars for a living. For less than two grand, my pops made one of his American dreams come…


“Mexicano?” The bicitaxi operator asks me.

This was probably the fifth time in 3 days I had been asked if I was Mexican, by a bicycle or car taxi operator. After the first couple times, I found it was easier to say that my parents were from El Salvador but I was born in the United States. …

Death Valley, CA

I almost rear-ended a Jetta in Baton Rouge Lousiana because I was too busy looking for “best breakfast taco restaurant in Baton Rouge” on Google.

As I swerved across lanes my life starts flashing before my eyes. Unbelievable. 13 hours into my trip and I die IN LOUISIANA BECAUSE OF BREAKFAST TACOS.

Things thought about pre-collision:

  • That time I cried into a hamburger because I realized how poor I was
  • How dark my knees are compared to the rest of my body
  • Some girl that smiled at me once while she held a pineapple
  • How much of a bummer it…

Johnny Guillen

I eat way too much pizza (no such thing). instagram.com/johnnysguillen

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