Proverb – United States of America

Proverb – United States of America

“Blessing in disguise.”

I first heard Jon use this proverb after I found out that a terrible score I got for a math quiz (which I did not study for due to another midterm the same day) would not count towards my overall grade. The blessing in this case is that I made the right decision in studying for my midterm instead of the quiz and that my bad score on the quiz amounted to nothing negative other than a dent in my pride. However, I promised myself not to risk it ever again!
Jon learnt this proverb from his Mom, who used it whenever he felt bad about something that happened only to realize later that it was to his benefit. One instance his mom used this proverb was when Jon failed to join his high school hip hop team last year. He was devastated but later found out that all the team’s scheduled performances were on a SAT weekend. At the time Jon was a high school senior hoping to attend university and even if he made the hip hop team he would not have been able to perform. This is arguably a more relevant example of when to use the proverb when compared to Jon’s first use of it to me.

Jon believes that this proverb helps people garner a positive outlook on certain failures, especially when success was not necessarily ‘vital’. Therefore, he uses it whenever someone is sad about an unsuccessful but non-vital venture. Unfortunately, rarely do situations arise when this proverb garners relevant use. He believes it should be used sparingly so as not to lose its effectiveness.

While I do not impart this proverb to others I have come across it not only in Los Angeles but also back home in Sri Lanka. When I was a child my grandmother often used it to dampen a failed venture. The proverb might have reached Sri Lanka sometime during the English colonization of the island and while I don’t find its wisdom invaluable it does prove effective in alleviating  sadness in failure.

Annotation: This proverb is often documented and if further background is required I would recommend Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs & Sayings,by Gregory Titelman published in 1996 (on page 176).