Thursday, July 21, 2005

Panzan Proverbs

Sancho Panza in "Don Quixote" is so chockful of malaproprian proverbs it is difficult to know where to begin to cite them. Perhaps this passage will suffice, from Chapter 43, entitled, "Regarding the second set of precepts that Don Quixote gave to Sancho Panza" - Don Q. has been informing Sancho about what he needs to do to govern his insula. Sancho responds that he probably won't remember all the precepts, and lets fly with a string of his fractured-sounding proverbs. To which Don Q. says:
"O, may you be accursed, Sancho!" said Don Quixote at this point. "May sixty thousand devils take you and your proverbs! For the past hour you have been stringing them together and with each one giving me a cruel taste of torment. I assure you that one day these proverbs will lead you to the gallows; because of them your vassals will take the governorship away from you, or rise up against you. Tell me, where do you find them, you ignorant man, and how do you apply them, you fool, when to say only one that is really applicable, I have to perspire and labor like a ditchdigger?"
"By God, my lord and master," replied Sancho, "your grace complains about very small things. Why the devil does it trouble you when I make use of my fortune, when I have no other, and no other wealth except proverbs and more proverbs? And right now four have come to mind that are a perfect fit, like pears in a wicker basket, but I won't say them, because golden silence is what they call Sancho."
"That Sancho is not you," said Don Quixote, " because not only are you not golden silence, you are foolish speech and stubborn persistence, but even so I should like to know which four proverbs came to mind just now that were so to the point, because I have been searching my mind, and I have a good one, and I cannot think of a single proverb."
"Which ones could be better, " said Sancho, "than 'Never put your thumbs between two wisdom teeth' and 'There's no answer to get out of my house and what do you want with my wife' and 'Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it's bad luck for the pitcher'?" They're all just fine. Because nobody should take on his governor or the person in authority because he'll come out of it hurt, like the man who puts his finger in between two wisdom teeth, and if they're not wisdom teeth but just plain molars, it doesn't matter; and there's no reply to what the governor says, like the 'Leave my house and what do you want with my wife.' As for the stone and the pitcher, even a blind man can see that. So whoever sees the mote in somebody else's eye has to see the beam in his own, so that nobody can say about him: 'The dead woman was frightened by the one with her throat cut.' And your grace knows very well that the fool knows more in his own house than the wise man does in somebody else's."
At this point, Don Q. pretty much gives up and bestows his blessings on Sancho. What an amazing stream of... weirdness.
We made it down to the dentist's office to get my mom's broken tooth rebuilt; but any more of this breakage and it'll need a crown. The International District was hot and breezy, Iwajimaya's full of tantalizing aromas, so I fled before I was tempted to buy humbow and got some fortune cookies and thick noodles at the noodle factory instead.
What an amazingly beautiful afternoon. It was so lovely it was even fun to go running to the Nautilus to work out. Clouds are forming in the south - hard to believe it will rain.