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0159 Moonlighting

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 159: Moonlighting.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 159. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

On this podcast, we’re going to hear about someone who works two jobs – someone who moonlights. Let’s get started!

[start of dialog]

Robert: You look exhausted. You must have been out late last night having fun.

Muriel: I wish. I’ve actually started moonlighting. I’ve decided to go back to school and need the extra money to make ends meet.

Robert: Good for you. That’s great. Where are you moonlighting?

Muriel: I’m working at the university library. At that time of night, it’s pretty dead. When there are no students around, I can use the time to study. It works out pretty well, except for the hours.

Robert: Oh, yeah? What are they?

Muriel: My work schedule is pretty good, actually. I work three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But my hours are 7 to midnight. By the time I get home, I’m dead tired.

Robert: No wonder you look beat. Here, have some more coffee.

Muriel: Thanks. I just hope I don’t fall asleep in the morning meeting.

Robert: It’s okay. No one will notice.

Muriel: Thanks a lot!

Robert: Don’t mention it.

[end of dialog]

The title of today’s podcast is “Moonlighting,” and “to moonlight” (moonlight) – all one word – means to work a second job, usually at night, in addition to your regular job. So, you have two jobs, or perhaps three jobs. “Moonlight,” of course is what comes from the moon up in the sky which you can see at night, and because people usually work their second job, if they have a second job, at night, they work “by the moonlight,” meaning that they can see the moon when you’re working – I guess – if you’re working outdoors. But “moonlighting,” just means, in general, to work another job, a second job. My father, for example, worked two jobs. He moonlighted. During the day, he worked as a teacher and at night he worked at the post office because he had such a big family and lots of people to feed – to give food to.

Anyway, in this particular dialog, Robert and Muriel are talking and Robert says, “You look exhausted.” “To look exhausted” or “to be exhausted” – and “exhausted” is (exhausted) – “to look exhausted” means to look very tired, to look very, very tired. The verb “to exhaust” actually has two meanings. If we talk about a person, we say, for example, “This person exhausts me” – means they make me very tired. If you use the verb “exhaust” with a thing, for example, “I have exhausted my money,” or “I have exhausted my time,” that means that I have used it all up – that I have used it and I don’t have any more left. Well, in this case, Robert says, “You look exhausted” – you look very tired. “You must have been out late last night having fun.” “You must have been” – means you probably were. I think that you were, in this case. “To be out late” means, in general, to have gone somewhere – to a movie, to dinner, perhaps dancing. “To be up late” means you did not get home until very late at night. “I was out late last night” usually means I was out with friends having a good time.

Well, Muriel says, “I wish.” This is a pretty common expression, informally. When someone says, “Oh, I wish” with that sort of accent, that sort of intonation, they mean that they did not, in fact, do what you said they did. But they wish that they had. Usually, it’s something positive that they wish they had done. So, in this case, when Robert says, “You must have been out late last night having fun,” Muriel says, “I wish,” meaning I wish I had been. It’s a use of the conditional. But instead of saying, “I wish I had been out having fun,” she says just, “I wish.” Well, she says that in fact, she has started moonlighting because she is going back to school – probably back to college, back to the university. And she needs the extra money “to make ends meet.” “To make ends (ends) meet (meet)” – two words – “to make ends meet” means to get money to pay for your basic living expenses – your food, your rent, your transportation, your car. “To make ends meet” means to have enough money to live at a very simple level. Robert says, “Good for you.” That again, is a common expression that we use, in this case, when a person is complimenting you, is saying a nice thing about you – usually something that you are trying to do to improve yourself or to do something good for someone or for yourself. So, the expression here, “Well, good for you” means that’s great. I think that’s wonderful. Usually, we use that among friends.

Well, Robert says, “Why” – or rather, “Where are you moonlighting?” And Muriel says, “I’m working at the university library” – the college library. “At that time of night, it’s pretty dead.” “At that time of night” means when she has to work – later at night – it’s pretty dead. When we say something is “dead” (dead) we mean there is not much going on. There are very few people there. So, if you go to a store, and you say, “Wow. It’s really dead here.” We mean there’s no one here. And in this case, Muriel is saying that there aren’t very many people at the library. It’s pretty dead. “When there are no students around,” she says, “I can use the time to study.” “When there are no students around (around)” means when there are no students present – when there are no students there. You, again, can use this expression in lots of ways. “I went to my brother’s house, but there was no one around” – means there was no one there – no one present. Muriel says that “It works out pretty well, except for the hours” – that is, her job works out pretty well. For something to “work out” means that it is going well, it has a good result. It is something that is positive. “Is this going to work out?” means is this going to function. Is this going to have a good result? She says, “It works out pretty well,” and again, of course, we use “pretty” (pretty) to mean very. So when Muriel says, “It’s pretty dead” she means it’s very dead. “It works out pretty well” means it works out very well, except for the hours. “Except for” here means everything is good but this thing is not – in this case, the hours. And when she says, “The hours” she means the hours she has to work.

Robert asks her, “Oh, yeah? What are they?” meaning what hours do you work. And she says, “My work schedule is pretty good. I work three days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – but my hours are 7 to midnight.” 7 P.M at night to midnight – those are the hours she has to work – “my hours,” she says. By the time she gets home, she says she is “dead tired.” Here, the word “dead” means something a little bit different. When we say we are “dead tired.” We mean that we are very tired. We are exhausted. Someone says, “Oh, I’m dead tired” – they mean they’re very tired. Robert says, “No wonder you look beat.” “No wonder” means here that it is no surprise that you look that way. And again, that’s a common use of that expression. “No wonder you’re such an idiot. Your parents are idiots.” Well, that’s not a very nice thing to say. “No wonder” means it is no surprise, it is clear. Usually, we use that expression when we are going to give the reason why something is happening. For example, someone comes in and they are very wet – their clothes are wet, their hair is wet and you may say, “No wonder you are wet. It’s raining outside.” So, it’s no surprise that you are wet.

Well, Robert says here, “No wonder you look beat.” “To look beat” (beat) is the same as “to look exhausted” – someone who is very, very tired. You may say, “Oh, I am beat” – means I’m very exhausted. Now, as a verb, “to beat” means something different. It does not mean the same as “to exhaust.” When you say “I’m going to beat something,” it has couple of meanings. It can mean I’m going to win over someone else. The Los Angeles Lakers beat the New York Knicks. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Minnesota Twins – the sports teams defeat someone else – that can mean “to beat.” “To beat” can also mean to hit. “The man beat his horse because it didn’t ride fast enough.” I don’t know. That is a use of “to beat,” but here, as an adjective it means “very tired.”

Muriel says that she hopes she does not fall asleep in the morning meeting. And Robert says, “It’s okay. No one will notice.” “To notice” (notice) means no one will realize. No one will know what is happening. Of course, Robert is joking when he says no one will notice because what that means is that Muriel is obviously not very important and he’s kidding, he’s joking. And that’s why Muriel says, “Thanks a lot!” meaning you’ve insulted me, but she knows it is a joke. And Robert says, “Don’t mention it.” When someone thanks you, you can say, “You’re welcome.” But you can also say, “Don’t mention it.” “Mention” is (mention) – “Don’t mention it.” You use that expression especially when you do someone a favor. You help someone with something and they thank you and you say, “Ah, don’t mention it. It was nothing.” You can also say, “No problem.” That’s another way people respond to thank you.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue this time at a native rate of speech.

[start of dialog]

Robert: You look exhausted. You must have been out late last night having fun.

Muriel: I wish. I’ve actually started moonlighting. I’ve decided to go back to school and need the extra money to make ends meet.

Robert: Good for you. That’s great. Where are you moonlighting?

Muriel: I’m working at the university library. At that time of night, it’s pretty dead. When there are no students around, I can use the time to study. It works out pretty well, except for the hours.

Robert: Oh, yeah? What are they?

Muriel: My work schedule is pretty good, actually. I work three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But my hours are 7 to midnight. By the time I get home, I’m dead tired.

Robert: No wonder you look beat. Here, have some more coffee.

Muriel: Thanks. I just hope I don’t fall asleep in the morning meeting.

Robert: It’s okay. No one will notice.

Muriel: Thanks a lot!

Robert: Don’t mention it.

[end of dialog]

The script for today’s podcast was written by our very own Dr. Lucy Tse.

If you like to read the script or get more information about this podcast, please go to our website at www.eslpod.com.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next time on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. This podcast is copyright 2006.

Glossary
to be exhausted – to be very tired; to have no energy

* After walking home from work, Steve was exhausted.


to be out late – to stay away from home until late in the evening or night; to be away from home at night after dark

* Cassie is tired because she was out late last night celebrating her friend’s birthday.


I wish – a phrase used to mean that what was just said is not true, but something that one wish were true

* A: You look like you lost 20 pounds.

B: I wish! I’ve only lost five pounds.


to moonlight – to work a second job, usually at night

* To make some extra money, Joanna started moonlighting at a restaurant.


to make ends meet – to earn enough money to pay for one’s living expenses; to make enough money to pay for what one needs to live

* To make ends meet, Josef had to get another job that paid more.


Good for you – a phrase meaning “that is good to hear” or “I am happy for you”

* You received another raise from your boss? Good for you!


at that time of night – at a specific time of night, usually when others are asleep or at home

* Some people say up until after midnight each night, but at that time of night, I am usually asleep.


dead – without activity; for a business to be without any customers; for a place to be without visitors

* After the stores close at night, the neighborhood is dead.


around – nearby; close to one’s location

* I sing along with the radio when no one else is around.

to work out – to go according to a plan; to be successful

* I tried to make cookies for the party, but it didn’t work out.


except for – but; excluding

* The car works very well, except for the windows.


dead-tired – very sleepy; for one to feel little or no energy

* Roberto did yard work all day and was dead-tired by bedtime.


no wonder – it is not surprising

* After eating all of that ice cream, it is no wonder you feel sick!


beat – very tired; very sleepy; for one to feel little or no energy

* Sage went to six different companies applying for jobs and was beat by the time she arrived home.


don’t mention it – there is no need for thanks; an informal way to say “you’re welcome”

* A: Thanks for helping me move to my new apartment.

B: Don’t mention it!

Culture Note
My Day Job and My Sideline

Many people work at a job to make money, but really love doing something else. The job we do to make money we call our “day job,” even if we work at night. This is your main job–the one that allows you pay your rent or “mortgage” (money paid on a home loan) and allows you to eat.

There is a very common expression people say related to day jobs: “Don’t quit your day job.” We often use this jokingly, to say that the other person doesn’t do something very well. For example, if we are all at a friend’s birthday party and you start to sing a song “in your friend’s honor” (to show respect to your friend) and you don’t sing very well, your friends might say to you: “Don’t quit your day job!” It’s a little “insulting” (rude), but it’s meant as a joke.

There are a few terms for things we do “on the side” (not as our main occupation or activity) because we like or love doing them. If it’s done mainly or only for pleasure, then we usually call it a “hobby.” We don’t expect to make money from it, but we enjoy doing it.

“Let’s say” (let’s take the example) of cleaning. A person might be a little strange and enjoy cleaning as his or her hobby. Obviously, he or she doesn’t get paid for cleaning their own house, or even cleaning friends’ houses for fun. If, however, this person gets a job as a “janitor” (person who cleans a school, office building, etc.) in addition to his or her day job, that person would be moonlighting. The term “moonlighting” is usually used to mean an additional job you get to make extra money, not to give you enjoyment. We also call this our “second job,” although we don’t call our main job our “first job.”

However, if you are doing something that requires more skill, such as creating comic strips or websites, and you make some money from it or intend to make money from it, than that would probably be called your “sideline.” A sideline can be any activity requiring some skill or talent.