USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘stress’
Folk Beliefs
folk metaphor
Folk speech

Stress Free Life

Original Script: “Ma cosa vuoi che sia”

Literal Translation: “But what you want it would be”

Meaning: “Don’t worry about a thing that is not important”

Background Information about the Piece by the informant: “How do you say, I noticed, Americans can get very…stressed out…crazy…easily. Like the rush hour traffic I was telling you about! Pessimo! [very bad] And little things they cannot control. I mean your life is more important than wherever you are trying to go! If you are stressed in California, go to the beach! It’s very relaxful! But the food, come si dice [how do you say], I understand when they get mad about the food, when the order is wrong, or when it is gross tasting, because food is important in the Italian culture.”

Silvia recently came to America about three weeks ago as an intern for an Event planning company. She grew up in Parma, Italy—which is a small town in Italy. She has adjusted greatly to the American culture but there are still some things that she is questionable about. Like the amount of stress Americans carry to that in Italy.

Context of the Performance: Stressing in the Italian Culture

Thoughts about the piece: In accordance with another interview I conducted with Silvia, (please see the article titled Italian…Proverb?), this Italian saying furthers the implication of the stress free environment of the Italian people. Do not worry about things that are not important, or the little things, implies that to worry about such, is a waste of energy, and not only that, but time as well.

It is also important to look at the literal translation, “but you want, it would be” suggesting that one does have control over their life, and to make the best out of it, if you look at the meaning to Italians, it would be to not stress over the small things; the things that are not important in the big picture.

Please take note of the background information Silvia had provided that was in accordance to the Italian quote. She uses stress and anger interchangeably, which makes me wonder, if in Italian they mean the same thing. So, I asked Silvia in a follow up interview and she said, “yes, they do, even though we have different words for them, they do mean about the same thing.” Which is interesting since the Italians have many different words for calm and happy (positive attitudes such as allegro, calmo, simpatico), thus this furthers the notion that Italians try their best to keep “stress” out of their lives, even by doing something simple, as Silvia had noted, like going to the beach. Additionally, she states something specifically that both Americans and Italians have in common, and which they both “stress” about—food. Food is a very prominent cultural item in both the Italian and American culture in which it not only creates a social environment but also holds roots in the past. (For example American’s Turkey on Thanksgiving and Wine or Pasta—which different regions are known for different Pastas—for the Italians).

Folk Beliefs
Legends
Narrative

Automatic 4.0 if your roommate kills himself

My informant heard a story about a college kid who killed himself and how his roommate then received an automatic 4.0 because of that. He liked it because it seems to offer a rare chance for free good grades since college work can be very stressful. At the same time, it’s more interesting because you’d never want to hope for that chance, since it would mean the death of a friend.

I couldn’t imagine the story being true since it’s not a logical policy, and I’ve never heard of a real college giving away a 4.0 like that. I think people like it, though, because they want it to be true. It balances the reward with something morbid and horrible, so since it’s balanced out, it could be easier to believe. And it shows just how stressful college can be. If one person kills him or herself due to this stress, though, at least the roommate will get the thing the other student was trying to achieve. It is somehow transferred in the story, showing how we want the efforts of the dead not to go to waste. Again, though, this isn’t logical and therefore I couldn’t see it being a real policy.

In an episode of CSI: NY, a stressed student murders his roommate to try and get a free 4.0, framing someone else for the deed.

Annotation: “Some Buried Bones.” CSI: NY. CBS. 7 Feb. 2007. Television.

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