El que nace pa’ maceta, del corredor no pasa.

He that born for pot of hall no pass.

He that is born to be a flower pot does not go beyond the hallway.

El que es perico donde quiera es verde. El que es pendejo por dondequiera pierde.

He that is parrot where is green. He that is fool by wherever lose.

Wherever the parrot goes he is still green. Wherever a fool goes he loses.

Alex told me that his grandmother used to tell him and his siblings these two proverbs whenever someone would complain about having to do their chores because they were too difficult or they claimed not to know how to do them. Her response would always be the same, one or both of these proverbs. Alex understands these proverbs to be opposites and to also mean that if you are intelligent you will be able to do it, but if you are menso (dumb in Spanish), you will simply never get it. Sentiments his grandmother was also apparently trying to express to her grandchildren.

These proverbs are incredibly witty and upon further inspection and reflection, I cannot help but think that Alex’s grandmother must have been an incredibly intelligent and witty woman. If she responded to her grandchildren’s complaints in this way, she must have also been testing them a bit to see if they would understand what she was saying in response to them. The proverbs essentially assert that whoever you are and whatever aptitude, skill, or purpose in life you were born with, it is yours to embrace and not to change. It is not so much a warning against being someone that you are not, but instead, simply a warning that you are who you are and that is essentially constant. Like Alex said, if you are green like the parrot you always will be, and if you are a fool like the proverb says, no matter where you go, you still will be a fool. These proverbs get to the crux of who you are and seem to suggest that you accept certain things about yourself and maximize that experience. For example, if you are a flower pot, you can’t exactly expect to travel throughout the rest of the estate or fly away like a bird, because that is simply beyond you currently. So, why not just be the flower pot and stop trying to be the bee that visits your flowers and then flies away. However, the proverbs can also be seen as more limiting and disheartening than realistic and promoting self acceptance regardless of whether or not you are truly a fool