What Does “The First Time It’s Smart, The Second Time It’s Cute, The Third Time You Get A Sock In The Teeth" Mean?
Ain mol a saichel, dos tsvaiteh mol chain, dem dritten mol git men in di tsain.
When we Jews dole out advice, our gems of wisdom are not dissimilar to “socks in the teeth” themselves. (We may like our blintz meat minced, but definitely not our words.) With that said however, this particular piece of advice implies a relative amount of patience and, shall we say, generosity? Perhaps that’s too strong a word. ... Nonetheless, with this proverb’s warning, you do get three strikes before you’re (knocked) out.
Esther is on the outs with her canasta partner again and swears their friendship is done for good. Her husband, Murray, has his doubts.
Murray: “Esther, my dear, don’t tease me! This isn’t the first time you’ve threatened to break things off with Selma. I’ll be subjected to photos of that homely granddaughter of hers again before I can say 1, 2, 3.”
Esther: “I’m no fool, Murray! This makes three times that alter koker has done it! My bubbe always said, The first time it’s smart, the second time it’s cute, the third time you get a sock in the teeth!”