As a child I remember my mother was fond of using common phrases that were very trendy in her day. One of her favorites was the term “dirty pool” which basically meant someone had gone behind someone else’s back and deceived them in an indecent manner. Whenever, I heard her utter these words, I would think, “But there is no honor among thieves, so how could deceptive actions of any sort ever be considered decent?”
I suppose some people think that the “end justifies the means” but I am not sure if that is always the case. Looking back, I think this is what she must have meant. If a person’s underhanded actions could somehow be justified then “dirty pool” was definitely ok. To take her statement further and to dismiss a “wrong” that simply was not “right” she would simply say, “You must take these things with a grain of salt” I took her comments to mean that: number one, whatever dastardly deed had been done, it was accomplished and now not any of my business, and number two, I should not pay attention to all the non-virtuous acts that “not so perfect human beings” participate in if they do not directly affect me personally. I felt quite differently about these philosophies however, and always chose to object.
“Dirty pool” tricks are usually menacing behaviors that are designed to undermine a person’s confidence and their sense of inner-stability. I believe what causes people to participate in such shenanigans is if they have an “ax to grind” and somehow, they want to give a person they feel that has done them wrong “a taste of their own medicine.” These grudge related behaviors sometimes deserve “a mild slap on the wrist” from those who feel as if they have been compromised to a full-blown “out-and-out” attack against them as retaliation.
The best way to avoid finding ourselves “in the lurch” (in a helpless situation) is to be cautious about our associations and attentive to the way people treat us. Other solutions are: to be conscious of the way we relate to people by treating them in the same way they decide they are going to treat us, an “eye-for-an-eye and a tooth-for-a-tooth” (a biblical saying) which can be referenced in three passages in the Old Testament (Ex. 21:23, 24; Lev. 24:19, 20; and Deut. 19:21) to further drive home the point. A similar law is to be found in the ancient Mesopotamian code of Hammurabi. http://wiki.answers.com
Quotes and sayings give us the opportunity to express our feelings in a manner that is socially acceptable. In addition they help us work through our challenges without getting hurt because we can let whatever has been done to us “roll right off our back.” When we include them in our verbal or written communications we develop an instant rapport with someone who is familiar with the same expressions we are using to convey our thoughts. I would much rather think of a saying such as “dirty pool” as a fond memory, rather than a way of referring to actions intended to cause a person fear or anxiety. In a way, sayings and quotes are a lot like laughter, they are “good medicine” and they are a tool we can turn to when we are in danger of taking our circumstances too much to heart.
Resources and References –
A Site all About Common Sayings
The Origin of Biblical Sayings
Self-expression Quotes – the joy of quotes
Song – We stand to fight