October 28, 2020

Being like a saltaperico – La Provincia

The name is subliminally associated with the image of a child “jumping up and down” and running to avoid the detonations between his feet, like someone who escapes from a “fiery flying”, while the rest seem to have fun and shout in unison: “Jump, Perico! ”.

By metonymy, the term “saltaperico” is extended to a fickle person who easily and quickly changes attitude or mind, occupation or job (which has the same meaning as in Cuban Spanish: ‘unstable person’).

The metaphor is transferred to the comparative phrase: “To be like a jumper” or “to look like a jumper”, to refer hyperbolically to someone who moves continuously from here to there without going anywhere or concluding anything in particular, walking with restlessness and nervousness , with “jiribilla” (‘uneasiness, excess mobility’). In other words: “Not knowing where to put the egg.” It refers both to the physical or locomotive attitude, as well as to the character and humoral aspect of the subject. What is specified in a phrase related to the one mentioned: “having (someone) a lot of blood” to refer to a very dynamic and agile person to do many things. In fact, for Greco-Latin medicine, blood was considered the source of body heat and the vehicle of passions. In ancient hemocentric physiology, an organic and psychic function (vital, rational and sensory) was assigned to the blood. This idea underlies other popular expressions such as “boiling (someone’s) blood”, which expresses fieryness and anger, or on the contrary “not having blood in the veins” to express lack of irritability, laxity of mind;

In the semantic boundaries of the commented expression, other similar ones move in which popular wisdom has managed to give a more precise nuance and scope. Namely: the comparison “being more uneasy than a wheel of fire” that defines the attitude and character of the person unable to remain still; “Be variable like time”, to refer to the changing character; “To have (someone) ants in the ass” which is said of someone “who does not know how to be still”, who is restless, without calm.


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