Tag Archives: parents

Dad Joke “What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta!”

Text: “What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta!”

Context: My humor has always been laughing at things that are unfunny, such as when someone says an unfunny joke like the one above, i look over to a friend, make eye contact and laugh, this joke symbolizes that friendship bond i have with the people i care the most about

Analysis: The joke that was shared most likely comes from a younger audience or a relatively older audience that says the joke is a “dad joke.” Though the group of people is not exact, I can note that it belongs to a playful and joyful audience who enjoy jokes and laughter as a whole. As for how the informant uses the joke in their life, the joke stands as a key point to benefitting them and those around them with a sense of relief through a silly joke. The joke itself can go as far as to be an outlet for the stress endured in the real world. As it has a connection to a younger audience, it can connect the informant and those who hear it to a stage in their childhood where life wasn’t as stressful or tiring. The joke is used to be one with their inner child.

El Cucuy-The monster: Legend


Me: “Within your Mexican culture, did you grow up hearing any scary stories?”

EC: “um yeah, it’s pretty crazy how affected we were by it actually. My parents always used to tell us about El Cucuy. My parents used to use it to scare me and my siblings from going to unsupervised places. It’s supposed to be a monster that scares kids”.

Me: “Ok, so was it like a generalized monster? Like did it have a name?”

EC: “yeah, it’s super generalized, El Cucuy literally translates to monster so it didn’t have a name. My parents would just say “don’t go over there! The Cucuy will get you!”

Translation: “The monster”

Context (informant’s relationship to the piece, where they heard it, how they interpret it):

-EC’s relationship to this piece stems from her Mexican culture within her childhood home considering this legend is said primarily in Mexico, Spain, and other Latin American countries. EC would hear this legend at home, at family gatherings, from her aunts, or from a random person that was attempting to warn her from going anywhere she wasn’t supposed to. EC interprets this legend as a scaring tactic that parents use to control the ways in which their kids behave. Not to mention, EC interprets this legend as a light-hearted joke that tells kids to ultimately listen to their parents. 

Analysis (what kind of personal, cultural, or historical values might be expressed) YOUR interpretation:

-The overall cultural value within this legend stems from the various origin stories that can be told considering it is a popular phenomenon among Mexico, Spain, and other Latin American households. Not to mention, the cultural value can be seen within how these Latin American cultures raise their kids within their similar lifestyle values. Not to mention, the personal values that can be expressed within this legend is the way parents raise their kids regarding their own personal beliefs and customs. I see this legend as an overall motive to control bad behavior in children and to scare them into following the commands of their parents. I interpret this legend as an idea of obedience as scary methods can be made considering this legend showcases a parent’s overall motive to scare their children from going anywhere alone. Considering that I have heard about this legend myself and grew up with it, I ultimately interpret El Cucuy as an embedded concept that is directed towards children in order for them to be scared of the unknown. Given the fact that this entity is nameless, leads me to think that this scary tactic allows children to interpret this monster in any way they choose which can determine how scary they make it seem in their own perceptual minds. One similar legend that has similar qualities to El Cucuy is the legend of La Chupacabra considering that they are creatures that are intended for behavioral motives. However, the main difference between El Cucuy and La Chupacabra is that there have been actual sighting reports on La Chupacabra while there hasn’t for El Cucuy. This leads El Cucuy to be represented as an imaginative creature in kids minds. The overall idea of El Cucuy can fall under the concept of an ostension considering actual kidnappers can be placed as the given ‘monster’ that can take you if you go wander around places unattended.

Bake Your Own Cookie

Background provided by NN : NN was born and raised in Southern California. They were raised in a Chinese-American household and experienced many different forms of folklore. 

Context: NN was approached about folklore, they conveyed it through a telephone call. NN says that her father tells this tale whenever they are lazy. They also revealed that this particular folklore had evolved to be a joke after they learned how to cook and bake. 

Main Piece Transcription of interview (contains the context of particular performance and additional background information):

NN: “ So … like … my dad tells me this story … ALL the time. He usually tells me … when he thinks I am being … lazy, or whatever. The story kinda … always begins … with “There was once a rich man” (accompanied by air quotes) who had … like everything done for him. He never had to … umm … lifted a finger … like AT ALL. Servants … wiped his butt, like … fed him,  they did everything for him. (Pauses for effect) One, day, after he got married his, ummm … wife had to … like … uhh … visit her family for the … the … holiday. She baked her husband  a large cookie, and like put in on … a … string  and put it on around his neck. AND she left to visit her family … for … like a week. When she came back home,  she …  her husband was dead.  Like … he was in the same position … like when she left him … and like the cookie around his neck was not eaten. He was too lazy … to even lift the cookie … to like … eat … so he died. My dad would always say something, like … (deepens voice to imitate their father) “See … work won’t kill you, but being lazy will. Do you want to have someone bake your cookie for you … or what.” 

Analysis: This particular short story is has morbid humor. The laziness of the man is obviously dramatized to highlight the importance of hard work. It seems like the story is told orally and had even evolved into a joke amongst close family members. The moral of the story remains despite the context of the perfomance. It also acts as a representation of Chinese values. The lazy man can also be interpreted as subtle commentary on the partriarchal society. The wife had provided substance for her husband, but his choice led to his own demise. Another interesting layer to this tale is the financial component; the lazy man had never done anything for himself because he had the financial means to outsource all his tasks. This tale could have originated from the working-class as way of encouraging their chidren to embrace work instead of focusing on the scarcity of money.

“Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos”

  • Informant: My informant is my Mexican dad who grew up in Puebla, Mexico. 

Main Piece: “Cría cuervos y te sacarán los ojos” 

Transliteration: “Raise crows and they will take out your eyes” 

Translation: “Raise ravens, and they’ll gouge your eyes out” 

Background: My informant is my dad, who grew up in the small town of Puebla, Mexico. He was raised by a single mother and is the youngest of all 5 siblings. As the youngest of all, he said he was a good kid, yet there were times that when he or his siblings did something wrong his mom (my grandma)would say the proverb above. 

Context: This proverb is known to usually comes up when a child has done something wrong such as anything that goes against a parent’s expectation. This highly includes betrayal. In especially betrayal in this case or when a child is not appreciative of what their parents have given to them. 

Analysis: This phrase seems to have been a staple of my childhood, part of which I have heard so many times when I do something that displeases my parents. Although the proverbs in a sense seem sort of harsh, I think it has been an important phase in my life, which has allowed me to realize that one has to appreciate their parents a little more. 

Sana Sana Colita de Rana

Text: “sana sana colita de rana”

“heal heal frog’s tail”


Informant: Whenever we got home when we were younger our mom would say “sana sana colita de rana”. Colita de rana is frog’s tail, it means heal heal frog’s tail, if it doesn’t heal today it shall heal tomorrow.

Informant: It’s um it’s kinda like not a really good luck thing, but when a young person gets hurt you know their crying and stuff so the mom says the magic potion thingy stuff so the kids stops crying and supposedly they heal faster. But it’s like I think it’s mostly like to make the kid shut up it’s a nice tradition thing, instead of saying oh you’ll get better, there’s a whole song to it and stuff so it’s like wow. It’s the “magic healing saying that your mom tells you”

Me: Is this saying a family tradition?

Informant: Yes and like no. A lot of people in Mexico use this. so it’s like passed down from generations I think. But it’s like a lot of people do it

Me: Would you personally consider it magic?

Informant: No, but I will add the placebo effect comes in

Context of Performance:

In-person conversation about things our parents would say when we were younger.

Personal Thoughts:

While “modern” medicine creates a clear distinction between the mind and the body, phenomena such as the placebo affect seem to call this distinction into question. This particular phrase – “sana sana colita de rana” – seems to play into the placebo effect. This phrase is merely words, it doesn’t physically tend to a child’s wounds. However, these words from a parent or trusted adult can comfort and soothe a child.

I’ve seen many memes on the parenting side of social media that joke that as long as a parent doesn’t act like they’ve been hurt, a child could be hit by a meteor and not cry. This particular piece of folklore seems to have a similar philosophy – a child will be ok if you comfort them with a magical healing little song.

Additional Notes:

As noted by the informant, this saying usually comes in song form, with an example linked below: