Mexican Proverb

Main Piece:

  1. Camarón que se duerme se lo lleva la corriente.
  2. Shrimp that sleeps is carried away by the water.
  3. A sleeping shrimp is swept away by the water.

Background information about the piece by the informant: Simon was born and raised in Mexico City, where this proverb is a very common saying. It dates back to before he was born in 1960, as he claims his father used to tell it to him,

Context on the performance: People recite this proverb to refer to a situation in which someone is distracted or not present and end up getting taken advantage if because of it. For example, if someone steals seats from someone when that person is not looking, it is common for the person who stole the seats to say this to the other person. Under that context, it is usually seen as an assertion of power, but it can also be used as a way to impart wisdom.

Thoughts on the piece: This proverb may tell us that Mexican culture believes that if opportunities are stolen from someone it is partially that person’s fault. It serves a reminder for people not to blame the circumstances, but to see the flaws within themselves. It also works as a way to tell people that they should be alert at all times if they don’t want to loose and opportunity.