Family Proverb – Saratoga, California

Zager Family Proverb- Saratoga,CA

“Trust everyone but always cut the cards”

Phil told me he learned this proverb from his father when we probably around 8 years old. He learned it in his home of Saratoga,CA but his father said he first heard it when his dad was working as a lawyer for an international trading company, and his boss came to check the records with some higher officer from the government. Even though his dad knew both of the men, he still asked for ID. The government guy was happy with Phil’s dad’s responsibility and said, “Trust everyone, but always cut the cards” and his dad has used that phrase ever since. Phil added that he would use this proverb most relationships with other people. In my opinion to properly practice this proverb one has to use prudence, it is not easy to determine where someone’s alliance actually lies. In this situation Phil’s dad knew both of the men, but who is to say whether it was really them, or if they really had good intentions.

Phil also says it means trust in the people around you but do not leave yourself completely exposed to be taken advantage of. It also means do not trust yourself completely and think ahead before doing something so bold it’s stupid. His example was, feel free to get drunk, but don’t get so drunk you do not remember where you hid your wallet. I think this is a very practical proverb because it deals with the issue of trust and can be put into practice daily when we interact with other people.

I feel this proverb deals directly with people’s perception of others. Even if you trust them, don’t put yourself in a situation where someone can exploit you. We assume that most people in the world are inherently good, but we can not be sure of that fact so we have to watch our backs. The “cut the cards” aspect of the proverb really means that if an opportunity presents itself where you can benefit yourself you should do it. If you do not someone else will, leaving you at a disadvantage.

Annotated: This proverb can be seen in the novel The Hustlers by Douglas Thompson. Thompson, Douglas. The Hustlers. London. Sidgwick & Jackson: 2007

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