Tag Archives: overwhelmed

Ponte las pilas: Proverb

Text: “Ponte las pilas” “Put your batteries on”

Context: NO’s relationship to this proverb stems from her Mexican culture and household. All her life, NO would hear this statement being said when it came to school and working hard within entering higher education. She would typically hear this proverb being said by her parents or other older relatives. In her family, they use this phrase as a way to give advice when she feels defeated, overwhelmed, or lazy. Oftentimes NO says it to herself as a motivator to get her work done. NO interprets this proverb as a motivator to get back into the ‘work mode’ and to be productive in life. 

Analysis: The cultural value that I see present within this proverb is the fact that Mexican culture usually revolves around the connotation that Mexicans are hard workers and they can accomplish anything if they simply put their mind to it. Given that this proverb is a motivator, I can claim that the personal values are expressed within the motivation, determination, and productivity that this proverb can emit to the receiver. Considering that I have heard this all my life within my Mexican culture as well, I see this proverb as an influential piece of advice that is told by older relatives for that extra ounce of motivation that you need when you find yourself in times of defeat, laziness, or entering a momentous time in your life (Ex: starting college, first day at a new job, going to a job interview). Considering its legitimate translation is “put your batteries on”, I consider this proverb to be an accurate concept considering putting new batteries in is hypothetically what you need to do in order to perform better given that the more “power” you put on, the more motivated you will feel to get back to work.

“As busy as a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad”

Text: As busy as a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad.

Context: Tom says he’s “as busy as a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad” when he finds himself extremely busy with his tasks at hand. He uses the term in all settings, including academic, social, and professional, and sometimes modifies the phrase but always keeps the alliteration aspect of it. He first heard it from his Western Australian uncle, who, in a conversation with Tom’s dad (Tom overheard), employed the simile to explain how busy he was with work as an entrepreneur. He found it very funny the first time he heard it. 

Analysis: This simile is a tool used to liken the sisyphean task of rebuilding a warzone, made even more difficult by a major physical impairment, to occupation with an overwhelming amount of work. Tom explained that in Australian culture, people tend to make funny comparing statements: one-liners that are intended both to convey information and to be comical. I interpret the phrase not only as clever wordplay, but also as a store of historical value as it doubles as a reference to current events (war in the Middle East).