Every high school guidance counselor says the easiest way to pick a career is to figure out what you love to do and that will be your career. This is easy advice if you love fixing cars or building things. What if the things you loved were pulling pranks, skateboarding, doing bodily harm to your friends, and eating tacos down by the beach? Not a problem for Jason “Wee-Man” Acuña. From a position in the shipping department of venerable skate mag Big Brother, he turned those interests into a thriving career. Whether he’s skating while dressed like an Oompa-Loompa or punching Johnny Knoxville in a sensitive area, Wee-Man has been entertaining the masses with his antics for years. And shortly after Jackass collaborator Ryan Dunn passed away in June, Wee-Man paid tribute to his fallen friend in the most fitting way, by getting a tattoo of his portrait. “Dunn was a tattoo guy and he would have done the same thing,” Acuña says.
INKED: How did you become the proud owner of a taco joint?
JASON ACUÑA: I always joked that I’d own a taco shop. A while ago I did Celebrity Circus, and while the news was interviewing us, these celebrity people are like, “Oh, I have this fancy restaurant” and all this. I’m like, Look at these fucking schmucks! After I win this thing I’m going to fucking open a taco shop. [He finished third.] I was still joking about it when a friend was working in a warehouse, and he kept eating Chronic Tacos and said, “Man, we need to bring this down by the beach where we grew up.” So I’m like, all right, see if you can get a hold of the owner. We go down on a Friday night, we show up at 8 o’clock, and meet the two guys. We get as wasted as we can, we’re having a blast, and we’re like, “We can’t wait to do this together. Let’s be in business together.”
Most good business deals are done while drunk.
Oh, dude, of course they are! All my contracts are handwritten on a napkin.
Do you actually do anything with the shop, or did you just slap your name on it and walk away?
I’ve done it all. I work the register a little and people trip out, like, What are you doing working here? For a little while right before I broke my back I was doing “Wee-Man Wednesdays,” and every Wednesday got bigger and bigger and we had big crowds. I’m always down there. I figured I have to be hands-on. I’m weird about that. I hate fake things and I hate when people aren’t real. That’s when I think things feel good—when they feel real, when somebody’s true about it and their heart’s behind it.
You mentioned that you broke your back.
Yeah, I did it skateboarding in January. We were out in this park and I slipped off a ledge, and the last vertebra of my back, L5, slipped out. I hit my tailbone and broke my tailbone. It wasn’t fun at all. Then I was out for a while and I didn’t want to get surgery. I got the epidural shot and I started losing nerve feeling in my legs. Then I decided that I better have the surgery, so on May 9 I had the surgery. Now I’m just getting back to better than normal.
Are you still going to be able to skate?
I’m amped to. I’m going to be doing skateboarding until the grave pulls me in. My doctor actually said that I’m stronger and better than I was before I broke my back. She had to do work on four vertebrae, so I have a six-inch scar on my back. Heck yeah! I have a tramp scar now, instead of a tramp stamp. [Laughs.]
Speaking of injuries, how did you get involved with all of the Jackass high jinks?
I was doing the shipping department very horribly at Big Brother. The first time I thought, Yeah, I know what to do. You put the magazine in, put the address on it, and send it out. Well, when you do it in bulk you have to do it by zip codes and all this. We rolled up to the post office and pretty much dumped them in the back. You could see the post office guy flipping us off. Then [Jeff] Tremaine got a call that the job was done horribly, and we all had to go back to the post office to redo it.