Author Archive
general
Proverbs

Proverb – Chihuahua, Mexico

“Salud, Dinero, y Amor”

My informant first heard this phrase at the age of ten when her mother responded to her first sneeze with “salud,” her second sneeze with “dinero,” and her last sneeze with “y amor.”  She learned the phrase growing up in a rural town of Chihuahua, Mexico.  She recalls her mother saying this to her every time she had a series of sneezes during her childhood.

The three terms (salud meaning good health, dinero meaning money, and amor meaning love) are a sign of wishing good tidings upon someone during everyday happenings, such as the common sneeze.  She continued by explaining that these three assets will “make you a happy person,” and that these are three very crucial pieces that are needed to live a blissful life.

The situation I first heard this proverb spoken to me was when I stumbled across some dust, resulting in me sneezing multiple times.  After the first sneeze she said, “Salud,” after the second, “Dinero,” and the third, “y Amor.”

Alejandrina informed me that the context in which this saying is used is whenever someone has a chain of sneezes that they can’t stop.  It stems from the idea that your heart stops every time you sneeze, so with each time your heart stops, someone is wishing good things upon you.

Childhood
general
Life cycle
Musical
Narrative

Song – American

Better late than never,

Better never late

My informant learned this song as a child of approximately six years of age.  She was taught it by her mother as a way to instill values of timeliness in her children in a way that was easy to remember for them.  Her mother would sing it whenever Sherri and her sisters were tardy or took too long to get ready to go out.  Sherri recalls her mother using many songs and proverbs to teach lessons to her and her sisters during her childhood.

This song, which is usually used to target tardiness in children, teaches people that, while it is better to show up to an event you were supposed to be present at, it is even better to show up on time to that event.  This is because not only will you get more out of that event, but also it shows the host of the event that you genuinely care about them and want to spend time with them.  Your timeliness benefits not only those around you, but also benefits you as you get more out of every situation if you are on time.

I think this is a good lesson to teach to children at a young age as timeliness can make many a difference, from being hired by a company to just conveying the idea that you are a timely person.

Childhood
general
Life cycle
Narrative
Proverbs

Proverb – American

Don’t cry over spilled milk

My informant learned this proverb as a child around the age of seven.  The context in which she learned this was when she was complaining about a doll that she broke on accident and her mother told her “don’t cry over spilled milk.”  Sherri remembers her mother teaching her these life lessons through simple rhymes or proverbs.  She says she remembered the lessons her mother taught her through sayings more so than the lessons she learned through regular conversation.

Sherri explained to me that the meaning of this is “don’t worry about things that happened in the past and you can’t control.”  In other words, one shouldn’t dwell over bad things that can’t be fixed.  She said this proverb is important to her because it helped her learn an invaluable lesson at a young age and it is something she was able to teach her children years ago as well.  She went on to say that although it is directed more towards children, many adults should hear this proverb as they, like children, “cry over spilled milk.”  I, like Sherri, believe it is important to dwell on the past as there is nothing one can do to change it.

I believe this is a good proverb to teach to young children as it helps instill in them the fact that there is no need to worry about things that happened in the past, but rather that they should be more interested with what the future entails for them.

general
Humor
Narrative

Joke – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

A guy walks into a bar, sits down and has a couple of drinks.  Trying to start up conversation, he turns to the guy a few seats away sitting with his friends and says,

“Hey, you want to hear a UCLA joke?”

The man replies, “You know, I played football at UCLA as wide receiver and I don’t really wanna hear that.”

So the first man says, “Well what about your friends?”

The second man says, “Well, this guy played Linebacker at UCLA, he’s about 6’2” 230 pounds. I don’t think he wants to hear it.  And that guy played Defensive Tackle at UCLA, he’s 6’4” 280 pounds and he doesn’t want to hear it… so, do you still want to tell the joke?”

The first man says, “Nah, no thanks. I don’t want to explain it three times.”

Barry informed me that he first learned this joke while he was a student at USC in the 70s.  The background for the joke is that UCLA and USC have a heated rivalry in sports and academics, as both schools are located in the greater Los Angeles area and are very similar.  Barry explained that the joke just symbolized the intense competition between the Trojans of USC and the Bruins of UCLA.

While this joke may not represent an entire country or region’s ideas, it is still considered folklore as the folk in this case are USC students, alums, faculty, and fans in general.  Sports teams are usually followed by a large group of people who bleed their team’s colors and share a large hatred for their team’s rivals.  This same hatred between two groups is seen across many different groups and helps bind them together to create their own folklore.  Some other examples may be rival countries, states, gangs, religious groups, and many other groups as well.

Annotation:  This joke was found at:

http://lexicon.typepad.com/lexicon/usc_football/index.html

general
Proverbs

Proverb

“Don’t let the sun go down on your wrath”

Sherri informed me that she learned this proverb that was based on a verse from the Bible as a child between the ages of 8 and 10.  Her father, Jack, taught it to her and one of her sisters while they were in a dispute one night.  At first, Sherri and her sister did not know what this meant until Jack taught them that it meant to “not go to sleep while you are angry at someone.” Sherri elaborated by stating that not only will you be able to sleep better when you are not in a fight with anybody, but it will also give you a peace of mind when you start your next day.  She said it was very important to start each day with a fresh start, and this is just one of the many ways you can accomplish this.  Sherri told me that this proverb was just one of many sayings that were taught to her by her parents.  She says her parents’ use of proverbs helped her learn many invaluable life lessons, including “don’t let the sun go down on your wrath.”

I believe the interpretation of this proverb given by Sherri to be spot on.  I do not know of any other way this can be interpreted.  I agree with Sherri that this lesson is very important.  I think it is very childish, for one, and it will also prevent you from getting a good night’s rest.

Customs
Foodways
general

Recipe

A tradition that has been passed down over time as far back as Sherri’s grandmother (to her recollection at least), is to cut the symbol of wheat into pies that her family makes.

Sherri explained to me that while at first she thought it was for decoration, not until she was twenty did she know the real reason.  Sherri’s mother taught her that the symbol has a greater meaning.  It symbolizes the harvest that was collected that season.  This “harvest” is the income that is collected by members of the family that was used to help make the food.  It also represents the hard work that was put into making the meal, both by those that made the money to pay for the ingredients, as well as the sweat and tears put into preparing it all.

She told me that this design is very important to her family, as it both shows respect and dignity for those who did it in the past and provided for her and her sisters, as well as shows hope for the future that she may, in turn, be able to provide for her children.

I believe this is a very interesting tradition that is expressed through cooking.  While it is not as noticeable as a family recipe, it is a subtle tradition that carries a large symbolic meaning behind it.

general
Proverbs

Proverb – American

” You don’t learn anything the second time the mule kicks you in your head”

Barry informed me that he learned this proverb as a young child approximately age 8 from his father, Leonard.  The context in which he learned the proverb was after he had broken a second glass cup in the past week.  In a playful demeanor, his father said, “you don’t learn anything the second time the mule kicks you in your head.”  Barry recalls his father using many of these playful, light-hearted sayings to teach Barry important life lessons when he was a young boy.  Barry strongly believes that his father’s use of these proverbs helped him remember these important lessons much more so than if he had learned them through everyday, mundane conversations.

Barry believes the proverb to mean “you don’t learn anything the second time you make a mistake.”  He recalls that as soon as his father told him this saying, he was sure to never make the same boneheaded mistake twice.  Barry taught this same proverb to his children when they were young in order to instill the same ideas in them.

I believe that the explanation Barry provided was spot on.  I do not think there is any other way to interpret this good-natured proverb.  It is an excellent proverb to teach to young children as it both teaches them a lesson as well as gives them a good laugh by making light of the situation.

general
Humor
Narrative

Joke – University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

“How come the Bruins haven’t dumped ice on their coach this century?

Because the guy who knew the recipe graduated.”

Barry informed me that he first learned this joke while he was a student in high school.  His father and mother are University of Southern California alums so they raised Barry to be a USC football fan.  The background for the joke is that UCLA and USC have a heated rivalry in sports and academics, as both schools are located in the greater Los Angeles area and are very similar.  Also, the ice being alluded to in this joke represents the ritual that football players will douse their coach with the ice and water that is found in their coolers.  Barry explained that the joke just symbolized the intense competition between the Trojans of USC and the Bruins of UCLA.

While this joke may not represent an entire country or region’s ideas, it is still considered folklore as the folk in this case are USC students, alums, faculty, and fans in general.  Sports teams are usually followed by a large group of people who bleed their team’s colors and share a large hatred for their team’s rivals.  This same hatred between two groups is seen across many different groups and helps bind them together to create their own folklore.  Some other examples may be rival countries, states, gangs, religious groups, and many other groups as well.

general
Humor
Narrative

Joke – American

An Oakland Raiders’ fan was watching a game in a sold out Coliseum, he could not see one empty seat in the whole stadium.  Then he saw an empty seat a couple rows in front of him so he walked down and asked the guy next to that seat if he knew the person whose seat that was.

The guy responded, “Yeah, you see that’s my wife’s seat and we haven’t missed a game since the sixties, but she’s dead now.”

The fan told the guy he was sorry and that it’s a shame he couldn’t find any family member or friend to come to the game with him.

The guy says, “well, they would except they’re all at her funeral.”

Barry says he learned this joke when he was a teenager of approximately fifteen years of age.  His father taught him this as both were fans of the Los Angeles/ Oakland Raiders.  Barry recalls his father supplying him with a new joke practically everyday, which he would then teach to his friends at school.

Barry believes that this story could be applied to any sports’ team and it would have the same impact, as is the case that is seen through the annotation (below.)  The punch line of this joke is that all the other family members are at his wife’s funeral, but he is not at the funeral because he is watching the ball game instead.  There is a whole genre of these jokes that revolve around men’s lack of sympathy for their significant others, many of which focus on the wife’s death and the husband missing her funeral to go to a game or out fishing.

Annotation: This joke was found at:

http://humorvault.tripod.com/sports.html

general
Proverbs

Proverb – American

“Play hard, have fun”

Mrs. Finch informed me that she thought up this proverb four years ago in 2003 when her son was a freshman in high school.  He was on the basketball team and was too worried about making a mistake that he ended up making many of them.  She recalls telling him this midseason in order to let him know that there is no need to worry about little mistakes if he is playing his best and having fun at the same time.  She said, “after all, it is a game.”

She said she still uses this proverb when her son worries too much about little mistakes in life.  She says it helps calm her son’s nerves and get a firmer grip on reality.  She recalls writing it on little pieces of paper and putting it on his mirror in the morning to remind him about what is really important in life.  Sherri says it has helped her son not only in basketball or sports, but in life experiences in general.  She says that he is no longer worried about making a mistake, but rather is concerned with having a good time and doing his best in all that he does.

I believe this proverb brings up a very interesting concept.  It reminds us what is truly important in life.  All too often we as humans living in the twenty first century are too worried about whether or not people are watching when we make a mistake, rather than just giving all activities our best shot and having fun along the way.

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