Author Archives: Dyllan Fernandez

One For the Money…

The informant is recounting a rhyme/chant her and her cousins would recite when they were younger:
One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go!
Uh, I learned it from my cousins, It’s what we’d say right before jumping into this lake we went to every summer. Basically, it made it harder for people to chicken out when we had this whole chant thing going. What it means, I don’t really know, but that’s the context i’ve used it in.
The informant chanted this before doing something frightening and it’s purpose was to bring her group of cousins closer together.
This shows the power of folklore that, by sharing this chant, they are capable of assuaging their fears since they are all experiencing it together.


Part of this phrase was used as the title of the popular Janet Evanovitch novel One For the Money. This use plays on the audience’s familiarity with the phrase. It is used there as a play on words though since it is actually about doing one bounty hunter job literally for the money.


The informant uses this response whenever someone says something isn’t fair.

“Fair is where you ride rides and eat hot dogs.”

She heard the phrase from her family and continues to use it. It is employes as a snarky response to someone who has said something that annoys her using the word “fair” playing on the two meanings of the word. There seems to be a common trope of folk responses to common statements and questions. I.e. “I’m hungry.” “Hi Hungry. I’m Bob.” or “What time is it?” “Time to get a watch.” I think people enjoy displaying their cleverness through these phrases.

Teapot Orientation

The informant is recounting a folk practice/superstition she learned while at a restaurant with a Chinese friend.

“It’s considered bad luck to have the teapot pointing at you.”

She doesn’t know why her friend believes this and does not believe it herself, though her best guess is just so that if it spilled, it would not spill on her.


Her explanation seems like a plausible reason behind the folklore but I wonder if there is a more spiritual reason commonly accepted.

Watermelons and Peas

The informant is recounting a Chinese proverb from home. He does not remember where he heard it.

“If you grow the watermelon, you will get the watermelon. If you grow the pea, you will get the pea.”

The informant says that this emphasizes the natural causal relationship of the universe.

I see the phrase as being  akin to the phrase “you asked for it” meaning that you shouldn’t be surprised by the result you get when you made designs on achieving that result.

Constant Drip

The informant is recounting a Chinese proverb from home. He does not remember where he heard it.

“Constant dripping wears away the stone.”

He interprets this to emphasize the importance of perseverance.


That this is a widespread proverb interesting is interesting due to the connection to the popular legend of Chinese water torture. As the legend has it, the Chinese would torture prisoners by slowly dripping water on their foreheads. This could be a literal interpretation of this proverb.