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0758 Showing Off a New Purchase

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 758: Showing Off a New Purchase.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 758. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Go to our website at eslpod.com, download a Learning Guide, improve your English, and win a million dollars – well, two of those three things anyway!

This episode is called “Showing Off a New Purchase.” It’s a dialogue about a man who’s just bought a new car and wants everyone to know about it. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Monica: Wow, check you out! When did you buy a new car?

Kevin: This isn’t just any new car. It’s a Ferrari.

Monica: I can see that. It must have set you back a few.

Kevin: Yeah, but it was worth it. You should see the looks I get riding around in this baby. My brother is green with envy.

Monica: Then you’ve been showing it off around town.

Kevin: No, I’ve just been showing it off to a few friends and family members. There’s no sense owning a fine machine like this and not bragging a little, right?

Monica: Especially since your brother has been gloating about his new boat, you mean.

Kevin: There is that. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think a new Ferrari trumps a measly new boat, don’t you?

Monica: Do you and your brother always whip it out like this?

Kevin: Like what? I’m just sharing my new toy with my brother. I’m sure he’s just as happy for me as I was for him when he bought his new boat.

Monica: Truer words were never spoken.

[end of dialogue]

Monica begins by saying to Kevin, “Wow (which is an expression of surprise), check you out!” This is an informal expression: “check (check) you out.” It means look at this person, pay attention to how he or she looks because somehow it is unusual or impressive. So you come in with a new shirt or a girl comes in with a new dress, you might say, “Wow, check you out!” meaning you’re looking very fancy; you’re wearing impressive clothing. “To check out,” as a phrasal verb, can mean to look at someone perhaps with some sort of romantic or sexual interest. “Check out” can also just mean to investigate. “Check out” can also be what you do at a store when you are buying something. It has a lot of different meanings, none of which are in the Learning Guide!

Monica says, “Check you out. When did you buy a new car?” Well, now we see that it isn’t what Kevin is wearing, it’s his new car that he bought. Kevin says, “This isn’t just any new car,” meaning it’s not like buying a new Ford or a new Toyota; it’s much more important, much more, in this case, expensive than that. “It’s a Ferrari.” A Ferrari is a very expensive, fast sports car, made in Italy of course.

Monica says, “I can see that,” meaning yes, you don’t have to tell me, I can see with my own eyes. “It must have set you back a few,” Monica says. “To set (someone) back a few” is an expression meaning to be very expensive. It must have cost you a lot of money, that’s what Monica is saying. When you buy something expensive, you may say, “Yeah, it set me back a few.” The phrasal verb “to set back” can mean to put you in a worse situation than you were before, in this case a worse situation financially.

Kevin says, “Yeah, but it was worth it,” meaning it was worthwhile; it was something that was good enough or had a good enough benefit that you can say okay, well, I think that was a good idea to spend that much money or work that hard. He says, “You should see the looks I get riding around in this baby.” “You should see” means that you would be impressed by the looks, the way people look at him, when he is riding in the car, when he’s riding around – around the town – in this baby. “Baby” (baby) here is used to refer to something you own that you value a lot, that you’re very proud of, perhaps that’s very expensive. It’s not the baby that you have after nine months of being inside the mother, that’s a different kind of baby. There are a couple of different meanings, actually, of the word “baby,” and those, yes, can be found in the Learning Guide.

Kevin says, “My brother was green with envy.” “To be green with envy” (envy) means to be very envious. “To be envious” or “to have envy” means to want what another person has, to want it very much. Monica says, “Then you’ve been showing it off around town.” “To show (something) off” or “to show off (something)” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to use or display something in such a way that everybody sees it; you want everyone to see what, in this case, a wonderful car you have. Or, you want everyone to see your new watch; you bought a new watch and you show everyone, “Oh, hey look, here’s my new watch,” you’re showing it off. As a noun “to be a show off” is a negative way of describing someone who’s always showing other people how good they are, how much money they have, or so on. A beautiful woman might wear a short dress to show off her legs for example. I wouldn’t know; I don’t look at other women of course, being married!

Monica says that Kevin has been showing off his new car. Kevin says, “No, I’ve just been showing it off to a few friends and family members,” not everyone, just friends and family. Kevin says, “There’s no sense owning a fine machine like this and not bragging a little, right?” The expression “there’s no sense” (sense) means you are talking about something that doesn’t make sense, that would be wrong or illogical. There’s no sense going to Disneyland and not seeing Mickey Mouse. I mean if you’re going to travel thousands of miles to see Disneyland, you should make sure you see Mickey Mouse. Tell him “hello,” tell him I said “hello.” I last saw him in 1972, so we haven’t seen each other in a long time!

Anyway, Kevin says, “There’s no sense owning (or having) a fine (a beautiful) machine (in this case, a car) and not bragging a little.” “To brag” (brag) means to talk about the things you have or the abilities that you have that other people don’t have. It’s considered rude to brag, to say, “Oh, I have so much money and you don’t have any. I’m so sorry.” That’s kind of bragging; you are telling the person about things that they don’t have so that they will think you are a better person. Usually that doesn’t work! Men like to brag of course, especially in front of a pretty girl, they want to let them know what a great person they are.

Well, Kevin is bragging a little with his car. Monica says, “Especially since your brother has been gloating about his new boat, you mean.” “To gloat” (gloat) means something similar “to brag,” it means to show how very proud you are of the things that you have or the things that you’ve done, but do so in sort of a rude way. When you win a game – you beat the other team – then you yell at them, “Yeah, you guys were terrible! We killed you! We demolished you! We beat you bad!” that would be gloating. That also might get you into a fight! Monica knows that Kevin’s brother recently bought a new boat, a new small ship for a lake or the ocean, and that his brother has been bragging about it – has been gloating about it. “Gloating” is usually when you have a competition, that’s at least how I think we use the word more commonly.

Kevin says, “There is that.” That’s a phrase we use to show that what the other person just said is correct, that they have identified another reason why you are doing what you are doing. So in this case, the reason that Kevin is bragging is because his brother was bragging earlier about his new boat. Kevin says, “I don’t want to toot my own horn.” “To toot (toot) your own horn (horn)” means to brag about your accomplishments, to tell everyone how good you are, how successful you are. Sometimes, for example, in an American job interview it’s expected that you will toot your own horn a little; you will tell the person what a good job you did in your other company. Kevin says, “I think a new Ferrari trumps a measly new boat, don’t you?” “To trump” (trump) means to be better than, to be superior than something else. “Measly” (measly) means unimportant, insignificant, too small, not very important. Kevin is saying that he thinks his new Ferrari is better than the small, insignificant new boat that his brother has.

Monica then asks, “Do you and your brother always whip it out like this?” Here, this very informal expression – not one you would want to use with your boss, for sure – means to brag, to try to show other people that you are better than them. Kevin says, “Like what? I’m just sharing my new toy with my brother. I’m sure he’s just as happy for me as I was for him when he bought his new boat.” Kevin is saying he’s not bragging, he’s just letting his brother see his new car knowing that his brother will be happy for him as he was happy for his brother when his brother bought a new boat. Of course, he wasn’t happy for his brother, and his brother isn’t happy for him! So it’s true that Kevin is as happy for his brother as his brother is for him, because neither of them are really very happy for the other at all.

Monica, at the end, uses a famous expression: “Truer words were never spoken.” “Truer” means more true. The phrase is used to show that you completely agree with what the other person has just said. “Truer words were never spoken.”

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Monica: Wow, check you out! When did you buy a new car?

Kevin: This isn’t just any new car. It’s a Ferrari.

Monica: I can see that. It must have set you back a few.

Kevin: Yeah, but it was worth it. You should see the looks I get riding around in this baby. My brother is green with envy.

Monica: Then you’ve been showing it off around town.

Kevin: No, I’ve just been showing it off to a few friends and family members. There’s no sense owning a fine machine like this and not bragging a little, right?

Monica: Especially since your brother has been gloating about his new boat, you mean.

Kevin: There is that. I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I think a new Ferrari trumps a measly new boat, don’t you?

Monica: Do you and your brother always whip it out like this?

Kevin: Like what? I’m just sharing my new toy with my brother. I’m sure he’s just as happy for me as I was for him when he bought his new boat.

Monica: Truer words were never spoken.

[end of dialogue]

She never toots her own horn, but she certainly should! That’s because she’s the most wonderful scriptwriter on the Internet, I think: Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to check (someone) out – to look at a person and pay attention to his or her appearance or behavior, usually because it is unusual or very impressive and exciting

* Check him out, all dressed up for his first day at work!

Ferrari – a very fancy, expensive, and fast sports car

* Adam is going to buy himself a Ferrari as soon as he makes partner at the law firm.

to set (someone) back a few – to be very expensive; to have required paying a lot of money

* A large home with an ocean view in this neighborhood will set you back a few.

to be worth it – to be worthwhile; for something to be good enough to justify the hard work or money that was required to get or obtain

* Marjorie spent years waking up at 4:30 each morning to swim at the gym, but it was all worth it when she got on the Olympic swim team.

baby – a word used to refer to possessions that one values a lot and is very proud of

* I bought this baby when my old computer died. It’s four times faster and has twice as much memory.

green with envy – very envious; wanting to have what another person has

* When Jordan found out how much money Stephanie earns, he was green with envy.

to show (something) off – to use or display something in a way so that everyone else sees it, admires it, and wants to have it

* Did you see how Janice was showing off her new diamond ring? It must have cost thousands of dollars.

there’s no sense – a phrase used to talk about something that is irrational or illogical and doesn’t make sense

* There’s no sense worrying about the things you can’t control. Just focus on what you can control.

to brag – to talk about the nice things or abilities one has in a slightly rude way when other people do not have those things or abilities

* Kate is a very good tennis player, but I wish she didn’t brag about it so much.

to gloat – to show that one is very proud of one’s possessions and achievements, especially in a rude way around people who do not have those things or achievements

* The other employees are annoyed by how Meghda always gloats when she produces the highest sales.

there is that – a phrase used to show that what another person just said is correct in identifying part of the reason for something

* - The only reason you want that job is because you’ll get to see Charles every day.

* - There is that. But it also pays well and it has flexible hours.

to toot (one’s) own horn – to brag about one’s accomplishments; to talk about how good or successful one is, making one seem better than other people

* Trenton is too modest. If he doesn’t toot his own horn, no one will realize how much he contributes to this organization.

to trump – to be superior to; to be better than something else

* This new product trumps any of our competitors’ products.

measly – unimportant and insignificant; too small or unimpressive

* On Valentine’s Day, Bryan took his wife out for dinner and gave her a beautiful necklace, but she just gave him a measly greeting card.

to whip it out – to try to show or convince others of one’s superiority over another person

* Why do those guys always whip it out when they talk about how much money they make?

truer words were never said – a phase used to show that one completely agrees with what another person has said

* - Winning the lottery changed her life in so many ways.

* - Truer words were never said.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why is Kevin’s brother green with envy?
a) Because he’d like to have a car like Kevin’s new car.
b) Because he really likes Ferraris painted green.
c) Because he’ll feel sick when he sees Kevin’s car.

2. What does Kevin mean when he says, “I don’t want to toot my own horn”?
a) He doesn’t want to use the car’s horn yet.
b) He doesn’t want to drive anywhere alone.
c) He doesn’t want to say great things about himself.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
baby

The word “baby,” in this podcast, refers to a possession that one values a lot and is very proud of: “How many miles per gallon does that baby get?” The word “baby” is also used to speak with affection to a romantic partner, “Hey, baby, do you want to see a movie tomorrow?” The word “baby” can also refer to a person who is acting childish and fearful: “You’re just hearing the sound of the wind in the trees. There’s nothing to be afraid of, so stop being such a baby!” Finally, when talking about food, “baby” describes a fruit or vegetable that is eaten when it is still very small and not fully grown: “Ida thinks baby carrots are sweeter than fully grown carrots.”

to whip it out

In this podcast, the phrase “to whip it out” means to try to show or convince others of one’s superiority over another person: “Kevin is a computer expert and always whips it out whenever the topic of computers comes up in conversation.” The phrase “to whip out” means to remove something quickly or to take something out of something else: “Gracie whipped out a diaper from her bag and changed her son.” Or: “Marcus whipped out his cell phone to call his friend.” Finally, the phrase “to whip (something) up” means to make something very quickly, without having planned it ahead of time: “Zeke was too tired to cook a nice meal, so he whipped up some eggs for dinner.”

Culture Note
Luxury Taxes and Sin Taxes

A “luxury tax” is a “tax” (a way for a government to receive money) on “luxury goods” (products that are very expensive and nice, but “nonessential” (not necessary; optional)) such as sports cars, private airplanes, jewelry, imported foods, or large “real estate” (the buying and selling of homes and land) purchases. Most people do not buy luxury goods, so they are not affected by luxury taxes. But luxury taxes can have a big impact on “wealthy” (rich) individuals with a lot of “disposable income” (money that can be spent after one has paid for food, housing, transportation, and more).

Luxury taxes are not used very often in the United States. When they are used, they are usually “established” (created) and applied at the state level. There was a national luxury tax on cars that cost more than $40,000 but the tax “expired” (became inactive) in 2002. But most luxury taxes in the United States have been “levied” (applied) during “wartime” (periods when the nation is fighting wars). Wartime luxury taxes are designed to increase government “revenues” (money coming in) to cover the costs of the war and to “divert” (change the direction of) resources from the production of luxury goods to the production of war goods.

Luxury taxes shouldn’t be confused with “sin taxes,” which are taxes levied to change people’s behavior. A sin tax might be levied on sales of cigarettes, alcohol, or foods with a lot of fat or sugar. In recent years, many states have considered levying sin taxes to “confront” (deal with) the population’s “obesity” (very overweight) problems by discouraging people from eating “bad” (unhealthy) food.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - c