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After describing various urgent or overdue matters I should be dealing with yet ignore, my teacher said this:

虱子多了不咬,债多了不愁。
Shīzi duō le bù yǎo, zhài duō le bù chóu.

I think she used it to mean that I've become desensitized to this level of pressure, and in order to cope, I've lost all sense of urgency. But I don't clearly understand what it means.

It literally translates to something like:

Lice much stop biting, debt much ignored.

I don't think it means "the more lice stop biting, the more debt is ignored" (or "the squeaky wheel gets the grease"), but rather it refers to desensitization.

Question: How should I understand 虱子多了不咬,债多了不愁?

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虱子多了不咬,债多了不愁

Have been numb by large amount of animal that bites. And have owed too much, because people cannot pay back so people don't care about it.

It means people do not worry about somethings, because it seems too hard to solve or they have give up, so they don't care about it.

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Think you're right: desensitized

More lice couldn't bite me more, more debt couldn't worry me more.

虱子多了不咬,债多了不愁
You get used to the (lice) bites, you get used to the debt.

Deal with those urgent matters, but remember:

“A man who pays his bills on time is soon forgotten.” -Oscar Wilde

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Something bad happened to you a lot of times, or you get yourself in some trouble too many times, then you get used to it. You won't feel anything if you get used to it, even if it's something bad.

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You've understood the saying properly. It's not that the lice no longer bites, it's more like you can't feel them anymore. As for debt, same thing. Worrying about it doesn't create money.

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