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0778 Getting Your Pocket Picked

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 778: Getting Your Pocket Picked.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 778. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Go there to download a Learning Guide for this very episode. You’ll be able to understand everything we are saying because you’ll have a complete transcript of this episode when you download the Learning Guide.

This episode is called “Getting Your Pocket Picked,” it’s when somebody steals something from you, usually your wallet. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Lenny: Wait a second. Where’s my wallet?

Anita: It’s not in your back pocket?

Lenny: No, it’s in none of my pockets. My pocket’s been picked!

Anita: It must have happened when our attention was diverted by those boys fighting over there.

Lenny: I should have been paying more attention in a busy market like this. I felt someone bump me from behind, but it never occurred to me that someone could be lifting my wallet.

Anita: I’ve been clutching my purse, worried about purse-snatchers. I never thought anyone would be able to pick your pocket.

Lenny: Me, neither. I don’t know how I’m going to live this down. When the boys hear about this…

Anita: Come on, we’d better go file a police report. You never know. Maybe your wallet will turn up.

Lenny: Fat chance of that happening. This is really embarrassing…

Anita: Stop stalling. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after being a cop’s wife for 15 years is that you’ve got to face the music.

[end of dialogue]

Lenny begins by saying, “Wait a second (meaning hold on; stop). Where’s my wallet?” Your “wallet” (wallet) is usually a folded piece of leather that you use to carry money and credit cards in. Lenny says, “Where’s my wallet?” He can’t find his wallet. Anita says, “It’s not in your back pocket?” When you’re wearing pants you have usually pockets that you can put things into, that’s where put my wallet, where most men put their wallets. Lenny says, “No, it’s in none of my pockets (meaning I don’t have it in any of my pockets). My pocket’s been picked!” To “pick (pick) (someone’s) pocket (pocket)” means to steal someone’s wallet, usually from their pocket. And, if you have ever been on a subway in a large city, or just been in a crowded place where there are lots of people, especially lots of tourists, you may have had this happen to you, where someone takes your wallet from your pocket without you knowing it.

This happened to me once, many years ago, 20-25 years ago. I was on a small bus in Mexico, and it was very crowded, which was not unusual, and I was very stupid and young, and I had my wallet in my back pocket. And, it happened so quickly, two people had come on, and one stood in front and once stood behind me. Then they got off the bus and I realized that they had taken my wallet. So, I learned a lesson there, as you should learn a lesson; if you haven’t had that happen, make sure you never put your wallet in your pocket, especially in a busy place. I keep my wallet in my pocket normally, but when I ever go to a crowded place, including here in Los Angeles, I’m much more careful about that.

Well, Lenny was not careful, and he had his pocket picked. Anita says, “It must have happened when our attention was diverted by those boys fighting over there.” “To divert” (divert) means to change the direction of something; in this case, change the direction of your attention, “to distract you,” we might say. So, there were two boys fighting, and they were looking at the boys fighting and weren’t paying attention. Lenny says, “I should have been paying more attention (I should have been more alert) in a busy market like this.” A “market” is a place where you buy and sell things, where there are often a lot of people. That’s what Lenny means when he says it’s “busy” (busy), there are a lot of people there. Lenny says, “I felt someone bump me from behind.” “To bump” (bump) means to hit something, not hard, usually by accident, often with your body or some part of your body. What happens, of course, is that the people who pick your pockets – we call them “pickpockets,” that’s the person who does this. Pickpockets will often hit you slightly from behind, and that’s when they actually take the wallet out of your pocket, because you can’t feel them doing it while they’re doing it. Anyway, I’m not trying to give you instructions on how to be a pickpocket!

Well, Lenny says that someone bumped him from behind. By the way, “bump” is the word that has other meanings in English as well; take a look at our Learning Guide for those. Lenny says, “it never occurred to me,” meaning I was surprised that it happened; I wasn’t thinking about it; it never was an idea that I had. “It never occurred to me that someone could be lifting my wallet.” So he didn’t realize, when this happened, that someone might be lifting his wallet. “To lift” (lift) usually means to pick up something heavy in order to carry it or move it off of the ground. Here, however, “to lift” means to steal, to rob, especially when you are taking something out of someone’s wallet or someone’s coat by hitting them or bumping them so they don’t realize you are stealing it. You could also use it just as a general verb meaning “to steal” as well.

Anita says, “I’ve been clutching my purse.” “To clutch” (clutch) means to hold something very tightly and very close to your body. So women, who often carry their wallets in their purses will, if they’re smart, clutch their purses close to them – hold it close to them, especially on a subway for example, so that you don’t have someone coming and stealing your purse. Someone who steals purses from women is called a “purse-snatcher.” A “purse” (purse) is a small bag, that’s what women often carry. “To snatch” (snatch) means to take quickly from someone. So, a purse-snatcher will often be running down a street, perhaps, and grab a woman’s purse and take it from her – snatch it from her – and run away. It could be that the purse-snatcher is on a motorcycle, and comes around and takes the purse and goes away. I saw that in a movie recently – a very good movie, Argentinean movie called Nine Queens. It was very, very entertaining, very interesting. Anyway, an old movie, 1990 I think. You can find it on the Internet somewhere perhaps.

Anita says, “I never thought anyone would be able to pick your pocket.” Lenny says, “Me, neither.” Notice he says, “me, neither,” not “I, neither.” “Me” is grammatically incorrect, but that’s how people talk; they say, “me, neither” in informal conversation. Lenny says, “I don’t know how I’m going to live this down.” “To live (something) down” is when something bad happens to you or embarrassing happens to you, and everyone makes fun of you – everyone laughs at you. You try to keep your pride – your dignity, you try not to be embarrassed but it’s difficult because of this embarrassing thing, this thing you did. That’s what it means to live something down. Lenny says, “When the boys hear about this,” the boys are probably his friends.

Anita says, “Come on, we’d better go file a police report.” “To file” means to officially submit or give a document or piece of paper usually to a government office. A “police report” is when you go to a police officer – a cop – and say that there was a crime, and the officer writes up a piece of paper. That piece of paper is called a “police report.” Anita says, “You never know. Maybe your wallet will turn up.” “To turn up” is a two-word phrasal verb that here means when something is lost it suddenly is found, it suddenly appears. “It will turn up” means we will find it eventually, even though it is lost now. Lenny doesn’t think this is possible; he says, “Fat chance of that happening.” The phrase “fat (fat) chance” means you don’t think it’s possible; it’s impossible. It’s an informal way of saying that: something is impossible. “Are you going to win the lottery?” “Fat chance,” meaning almost certainly not. Am I going to win an award for my singing? Fat chance.

Lenny says, “This is really embarrassing.” Anita says, “Stop stalling.” “To stall” (stall) means to delay in doing something, to avoid doing something until later. Anita says, “Stop stalling. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about being a cop’s wife for 15 years is that you’ve got to face the music.” A “cop” is a police officer, as I mentioned earlier. The expression “to face the music” means to accept the consequences of your actions, to accept reality. When something bad happens, you can’t just hide from it, you have do accept it, you have to do something about it or at least to realize that it is happening, not to avoid it. Anita and Lenny are married, so when Anita says she’s been a cop’s wife for 15 years, she means that Lenny is a police officer. So he was a police officer who got pick pocketed. This is somewhat embarrassing, that’s why Lenny says, “When the boys hear about this.” The “boys,” then, refer to the other police officers – the other cops, male cops – that he works with.

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

[start of dialogue]

Lenny: Wait a second. Where’s my wallet?

Anita: It’s not in your back pocket?

Lenny: No, it’s in none of my pockets. My pocket’s been picked!

Anita: It must have happened when our attention was diverted by those boys fighting over there.

Lenny: I should have been paying more attention in a busy market like this. I felt someone bump me from behind, but it never occurred to me that someone could be lifting my wallet.

Anita: I’ve been clutching my purse, worried about purse-snatchers. I never thought anyone would be able to pick your pocket.

Lenny: Me, neither. I don’t know how I’m going to live this down. When the boys hear about this…

Anita: Come on, we’d better go file a police report. You never know. Maybe your wallet will turn up.

Lenny: Fat chance of that happening. This is really embarrassing…

Anita: Stop stalling. If there’s one thing I’ve learned after being a cop’s wife for 15 years is that you’ve got to face the music.

[end of dialogue]

Looking for a better scriptwriter than Dr. Lucy Tse? Fat chance, I say! Thank you, Lucy, for your always wonderful scripts.

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
wallet – a folded piece of leather or cloth used to carry paper money, credit cards, and identification

* When was the last time you cleaned out your wallet? It’s overflowing with old receipts.

to pick pockets – to steal someone’s wallet by taking it out of a pocket (a pouch in clothing, used for holding objects) without that person noticing

* In cities with a lot of tourists, some young kids make a lot of money by picking pockets.

to divert – to distract; to change the direction of something

* It would be much easier to study if I didn’t have loud music, cell phone calls, and visitors diverting my attention.

to bump – to gently hit someone or something, usually by accident, often with one’s full body or with one’s side

* Kay accidentally bumped into the table and knocked over her glass of water.

never occurred to (someone) – a phrase used to show one’s surprise about something that has happened, which one had never considered or thought about

* It never occurred to me that last Thanksgiving would be the last time we’d see Grandma. She seemed so healthy and no one expected her to pass away.

to lift – to steal, especially by secretly taking something out of one’s pocket

* Thieves came into our hotel room at night and lifted our passports, traveler’s checks, and all our cash.

to clutch – to hold something very tightly and very close to one’s body so that it cannot get lost and/or so other people cannot take it

* Rick clutched the large check in his hand as he drove to the bank to cash it.

purse-snatcher – someone who steals a purse that is hanging from a woman’s shoulder and then runs very quickly

* A purse-snatcher tried to steal Aunt Sylvia’s purse, but she’s a really fast runner and she was able to catch the guy and get her purse back.





to live (something) down – to be able to keep one’s pride and dignity while one is being teased for something over a long period of time

* In high school, a lot of things seem so embarrassing that we don’t think we’ll ever be able to live them down, but once we become a little older we realize those things actually aren’t very important.

to file – to officially submit a document, especially to a government agency

* As soon as Hans turned 16, he filed his application for a driver’s license.

police report – an official document written by a police officer to describe a crime, used to conduct an investigation

* According to the police report, the driver suffered a wound on her right arm, but the medical records indicate it was her left arm.

to turn up – for something lost to appear or to be found

* They lost their cat two years ago, so imagine how surprised they were when it turned up in their front yard last week!

fat chance – a phrase used to show that something is impossible and will not happen, used when another person has suggested that it might happen

* A: Maybe your parents won’t notice that you drove their car into a tree.

* B: Fat chance. There’s a huge dent and scratch in the front of the car.

to stall – to delay or procrastinate; to avoid doing something until later

* Why are you stalling? Just call the dentist, make an appointment, and get your teeth examined.

cop – a police officer; a policeman or policewoman

* Quick! Somebody call the cops!

to face the music – to face or accept the consequences of one’s actions; to accept reality

* If you use the office computer to check personal email, listen to music, and read comic strips during work hours, be prepared to face the music when your boss finds out.

Comprehension Questions
1. What happened to Lenny’s wallet?
a) He left it at the market while buying something.
b) It fell out of a hole in his pocket.
c) Somebody stole it.

2. Why is Lenny embarrassed to file a police report?
a) Because he is a police officer and he should have known better.
b) Because he doesn’t want to say how much money was in his wallet.
c) Because it takes a long time to fill out the paperwork.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to bump

The verb “to bump,” in this podcast, means to gently hit someone or something, usually by accident, often with one’s full body or with one’s side: “If you bump someone in the street, it’s polite to say ‘Excuse me.’” The phrase “to bump into (someone)” means to see and speak with someone in public, without having plans to meet that person: “Today, I bumped into my former boss at the coffee shop. I hadn’t seen her in years.” Finally, when talking about airline travel, “to bump” means to have a passenger fly on a different, later flight, usually because too many tickets have been sold for the original flight: “The airline needed to bump three passengers to a later flight, but it offered them a $350 travel voucher in return.”

to stall

In this podcast, the verb “to stall” means to delay or procrastinate, or to avoid doing something until later: “Giovanni organized all his receipts, dusted his computer, and even sharpened all his pencils when he was stalling, so that he wouldn’t have to work on his taxes.” When talking about a car or another vehicle, the verb “to stall” means for the car to stop unexpectedly and not be able to move forward: “Shania was really embarrassed when her car stalled in the middle of a busy intersection.” Finally, the verb “to stall” can mean to not continue to advance or to no longer make progress: “Some women find that their career stalls if they choose to stay home with their young children.”

Culture Note
Police Reports

In the United States, each “municipality” (city) has different “procedures” (ways to do things) for filing police reports. In general, “victims” (someone who has been hurt in some way) of a crime should contact their local police to “report” (provide information about) the crime. This should happen as soon as possible after the crime, so that the victim can still remember as many details as possible. A “prompt” (happening soon) report also improves the “odds” (chances; likelihood) that the police officers will be able to “apprehend” (catch; arrest) the criminal.

For simple crimes, the police report can be filed over the phone. However, most victims can also request that the police officer come to their home, or they can go to the “police station” (the building where police officers work).

When filing a report, the victim needs to provide as much detail as possible. This includes information about when the crime “occurred” (happened), what was stolen (including “model numbers” (numbers assigned when a high-value item is manufactured)), who was “injured” (hurt physically) and how. The police report might also include a description of the “suspect” (the person one believes has committed the crime) and any possible “motives” (reasons for committing a crime). The police report also includes contact information for the victim so that the police officers can provide “updates” (new, current information) throughout the investigation.

Filing a police report is usually free, but the victim may need to pay a “fee” (money paid for a particular purpose) to “obtain” (get) a copy of the official police report.

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - a