Sleepy Shrimp Proverb

Text: “Camarón que se duerme, se lo lleva la corriente” or “The shrimp that falls asleep is swept away by the current”.

Context: My friend’s heritage and family stems from Mexico but he was raised in Arizona. He told me his great-great grandma, affectionately referred to as Nana Nana, said this to him when he was younger and it’s used as an admonishment or word of warning.

Interpretation: This seems exactly like a proverb parents repeat to children to remind them to be productive and to continuously work towards their goals. I love this proverb because it’s similar to the American phrase “you snooze, you lose” but it’s more metaphorical and has nature motifs (ex. shrimp, current/water). In my opinion, it’s a more eloquent sort of oikotype than the phrase that I’m familiar with. On the surface it simply means that if you slack off or “fall asleep” in your life then you will get lost or “swept away” but it can also be used to describe the potential shift in political or personal opinion. If you’re less informed about certain candidates on a ballot then you might – consciously or unconsciously – choose the people you’ve seen more ads for or whoever your family/community prefers. If you’re not aware or informed of your environment then you’ll end up following the flow around you, for better or for worse.