Every language has a personality, and when I think about Yiddish, I think “self-mocking,” “Ironic,” and “wistful humor.” The last contains the contradiction that makes the Yiddish voice, or narrative personality, so hard to define and yet so appealing. We all know the best storytelling makes you cry and laugh at once.
What Yiddish does not connote is power. It is the language of a people who were shaped by powerlessness. Even a blunt statement such as “you can't pee on my back and tell me it’s raining” suggests someone is humiliating you while you're determined to stand tall. (A parallel idiom in English would be, “I don’t take wooden nickels,” and it is clearly of a different, self-possessed, voice. Both mean you can't fool me. But they don't taste the same.)
So when I heard this saying translated from Yiddish—
וואס אין אים פאלט מען אריין קען מען פון אים ארויספאלן.
*What you fall into you can fall out of*