Tit for Tat

As directed by my artist, I took a few days away from my publishing quest and the computer. I am feeling better. In between time, though, I decided to go to a movie (I watched The Great Wall with Matt Damon and it was good as far as legends go). Upon entering the movie house, a man came up from behind and opened the door for me. I thanked him and walked in. Once through the first door, I held open the second door for him, and he commented that I returned the favor. I wanted to say something smart, like tit for tat, but I knew that was the wrong phrase or idiom to use, so I simply said, you’re welcome.

But what about tit for tat. I hear the phrase used, and I know I have used that phrase, because let’s face it, I use a lot of idioms. A lot. So, what does it mean, exactly and where does it come?

It was first seen in 1556 when John Heywood used “tit for tat” in his parable, The Spider and the File, and it was derived from tip for tap, or blow for blow. A definite retaliation — blow for blow. Therefore, “tit for tat” has a negative connotation, because it has to do with a bad action done by someone else and you are going to do the same to that person. Tit for tat, blow by blow, an eye for an eye.

An eye for an eye is not quite the same as tit for tat. In tit for tat, you are getting even for what someone has done to you; in an eye for an eye calls for punishment. When someone does something wrong, they should be punished by having the same thing done to them. And the punishment is meant to be the exact. Such as, if you kill someone, you should be killed.

This heye-1467386502yP5ad to be the basis of a judicial system, so I researched further. Let’s go wwwaaayyy back to 1792-1750 B. C. when Hammurabi ruled in Babylonia. It was his famous legal code, lex talionis, that came to the conclusion that the punishment had to be the same. But remember, this “eye for an eye” is also in the Old Testament of the Bible — it can be found in both Exodus and Leviticus. No matter where it is found, it basically said the same, the punishment should be equal to the crime. I wonder what they did for stealing — cut off a hand?

Fast forward a few thousand years, and the British changed it a bit. The law now readeye-1348825358VkP that an eye for an eye has to do with the idea that a person’s life has a fixed value, and that value depends on his social position. So, in the days of ago my life as a middle class person would not be as valuable as a baroness. Now, add that I am a woman, and I have once again lost value. Oh, shoot, my life would not be worth much, definitely less than my brother, even though I could contribute more to society, or let’s face it, give birth to sons and daughters. Nonetheless, my life was not worth much then.

Today is a different matter, especially for those who live in the “West” such as in America and Europe where women are valued. I am not that familiar with other countries, but I do know that women are not valued in some countries.

Still, I am searching for what smart comeback I could have said to that gentleman. What about Karma, you know, what goes around comes around? No. That is not going to work either because Karma has to do with the consequences of one’s actions and eventually, you will receive what you give. Sure, there is good Karma, but I couldn’t have said, “Good Karma to you”.

And after searching for the right response, I came up with nothing more than “you’re welcome.” Maybe a little kindness and a dose of manners is all there is because I do not want a tit for a tat, and definitely not an eye for an eye, a bit of good Karma will do, but no thank you to the other Karma.

Hey, have a great weekend. Once again, I hope to be writing on Tuesday, but who knows where I will be in the publishing process.

Until then….

 

 

 

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