Tag Archives: maternal proverbs

Los Ociosos Trabajan Doble

This is a Spanish proverb my informant’s Puerto Rican mother would say to him. Translated it means “the lazy work twice as hard” meaning that lazy people, to avoid having to exert themselves, will end up putting more effort into finding a shortcut than it would have taken to just do the work in the first place.

The example my informant gave was that he would be in bed and want to turn off the light. Instead of getting up and taking a few seconds to walk across the room, he would throw his shoes and whatever else was at hand at the light switch in an effort to flip it. Before long, it became apparent that the far simpler solution would have been to gather the resolve to momentarily get out of bed. Situations like this would prompt my informant’s mother to recite the proverb.

A clever and simply stated way to chide lazy people that actually offers a practical reason to stop procrastinating and do a task (for the purpose of exerting less effort in the long run). Normally I’d expect a moral impetus behind a proverb like this, but that doesn’t seem to be the thought process.