Mad Coyotes and the douchy side of fame

July 10, 2020

Almost every day now, I think about Mad Coyote Jim.

When I was 20, a long ass fucking time ago, I worked in a coffee shop in Cave Creek, Arizona.

Cave Creek was a town that was a combination of “Wild West” characters and McMansion snobs.

And we had our share of characters (and snobs) come into the coffeeshop.

There were rich people from Chicago who’d moved out of the cold, bought cowboy hats, and were trying to blend in.

There were actual oldschool Cave Creekers, who owned horses and lived (very well) off of doing ironwork for said rich Chicagoans.  

There were bikers who’d come in packing revolvers, order light cappuccinos and ride off on their 50 thousand dollar Harleys. 

And then, there was Mad Coyote Jim.

Who knew the Wild West was so full of snobs?

Jim was a rather large fellow who had a show on local TV.

On Saturday mornings when I was a teenager, my dad and I would watch his show. It was about barbecue. 

This was around the year 2000, when the internet barely existed, and seeing – in the flesh – a guy who made BBQ ribs on the local FOX affiliate was the closest thing you could get to fame… unless you moved to LA.

Anyway, as I was saying. 

I think about Mad Coyote Jim almost every day now.

Because when I was a teenager I’d watch him on TV. And when I was 20, as a barista, I was serving him coffee. 

In fact – and this is the point of this article – one day he yelled at me for putting my fingers on the rim of his paper cappuccino cup.

I was making 7 bucks an hour plus tips – tips being significantly better if I was on the same shift as one of the attractive female employees – and he was a local celebrity. 

So when he yelled at me for touching his cappuccino wrong, I just took it.

“You’re also touching your face while you’re doing this”, he said. “You touch your face, and then you put the top on my cappuccino. With your dirty face-touching hands.”

Whatever. Douche.

After he left, my cute female coworker said, “Don’t worry about it. He’s on local TV and now he’s a total diva!”

young mr chorizo
A young Mr Chorizo, long before he discovered the benefits of eating protein and doing pushups.

In any case, I don’t mean to speak badly about the customers of this particular coffee shop.

Most of them were great.

There was one old white-haired metalworking cowboy who insisted on having me make his cappuccinos. According to him, I made the best cappuccino in town.

At age 20, that was my first and only professional accomplishment. 
I was a college dropout and didn’t have much going on.

That old cowboy’s endorsement, back then, was some of the highest praise I’d received in years.

And now — and I promise I’m at least trying to make a point here — I think about Mad Coyote Jim every day.

Because we’re 5 months into the Coronavirus panic here in Spain, and every time I go to get coffee, I’ve got some 20-year-old pulling my espresso – wearing latex gloves, because the virus… and scratching their eyeballs before handing me my paper cup.

I drink black coffee with no sugar, because I’m not nearly as tough as those light cappuccino cowboys and skinny latte bikers back home.

But still. Every time it happens, I think to myself, “Dude, let it go. Don’t be a douche. Don’t be this person’s Mad Coyote Jim.” 

And I go off, and drink my coffee, and don’t act like some whiny fucking diva with a barbecue show on the local FOX affiliate.

The espresso’s great. And as far as I know, I still haven’t contracted any of the major coffeeborne illnesses. 

Anyway – and finally getting to the point here – I just googled around a bit. Mad Coyote Jim (not exactly his pseudonym, but close) doesn’t appear to have a TV career anymore.

But he does have 38 subscribers on YouTube. 

Not to brag, but I have more than 95,000.

I’ve got a global reach over 11 different platforms that would make his local Cave-Creek-Arizona-celebrity ass weep to know about. 

Parting Wisdom from a Marketing Genius (not me)

One of my main marketing gurus, Joe Polish, says “Be nice to the people you meet on the way up. They’re the same people you’ll meet on the way back down.”

Well, I’m sorry, Mad Coyote Jim. 

I’m sorry I put my fingers on the rim of your paper cup that one time, back when I was 20.

And I hope you’re doing well, whatever it is you’re doing these days.

Thanks for the barbecue recipes. The ribs weren’t bad.

Your eternal fan,

Mr Chorizo. (AKA a very small time online celebrity named Mr Daniel.)

P.S. I had other bad jobs when I was younger. Maybe one day I’ll write about the life of a bagboy at a gourmet supermarket. Or maybe not. Anyway, have you ever had a brush with the douchy side of fame? Let me know, right here in the comments. Have fun!

P.P.S. I’ve definitely got a full article about life in Arizona. It’s called Back on the Ranch, and you could say it’s Mr Chorizo’s superhero origin story. Sort of like Joker, but with no makeup and no rioting. Or, you know, Iron Man with no sex or money. Superman with no cornfield. Something like that, anyway.

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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  1. Daniel,

    Enjoyed your story of Mad Coyote Jim, although he was a bit after my time in Phoenix. I’m very familiar with Cave Creek, of course. I used to go up there in the 60s on my Honda 50 and explore the desert. Later on, I moved into a house just off of Bell and Scottsdale Road. We used to like to go to Cave Creek to a place called the Horny Toad restaurant. I think it’s still there. The whole area has been taken over by people with Real Money, who apparently like living near really big stones, or as my wife used to call them, BFRs–big fucking rocks. Back in high school I didn’t even have to drive as far as Cave Creek to go shoot my old .22 pump action rifle. Pretty much anything north of Thunderbird or Bell and you could shoot in any direction without hitting anything but palo verde trees and barrel cactuses.

    When I was going to college, one of my favorite places near ASU was Mag’s Ham Bun. I don’t remember if I ever met Mag, but she had “The Best Damned Ham Bun On the Planet,” and every table had paper matchbooks with that phrase inscribed on them. You dad and I went to Mag’s once or twice. Mag even expanded, which is necessary if you’re going to have The Best Damned Ham Buns On the Planet. However, in Mag’s case, the planet only extended as far north as Shea Boulevard, if memory serves me (which it only does occasionally). I just looked Mag’s up and it actually started in the old downtown Scottsdale. That site apparently survived until 2002, although the other two closed earlier. Nothing lasts forever–good news when you consider the zombie apocalypse, aka cover-19. This too, shall pass.

    Take care of yourself, and keep up the creative posts and blogs. They’re good, and they are unique and interesting.


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