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1007 Getting Mugged

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1007 – Getting Mugged.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1007. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at ESLPod.com. Download a Learning Guide for this episode, right after you become a member of ESL Podcast.

This episode is about a woman who gets mugged – someone steals something from her. Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Vanessa: Stop thief!

Police Officer: What happened?

Vanessa: I just got mugged. That guy stole my purse, jewelry, camera – all of my valuables!

Police Officer: Were you wearing flashy jewelry and carrying an expensive camera? Those are big enticements for muggers.

Vanessa: I didn’t have anything on that was flashy, and I was minding my own business.

Police Officer: Well, you should never go out alone at night, and if you have to, stay in well-lighted areas. Traveling on dim streets makes you a target for thieves.

Vanessa: Thanks for that insight.

Police Officer: Can you describe the person who mugged you?

Vanessa: No, it happened in a flash. I didn’t get a good look at his face, but I’m sure it was a man.

Police Officer: It’s a good thing you weren’t hurt. You should probably learn self-defense in case it happens again.

Vanessa: Thanks a lot. I think I’ve had as much advice as I can take in one night. Are you going to do anything to find that mugger?

Police Officer: Sure, I’ll file a report, but don’t get your hopes up.

Vanessa: Believe me, I won’t.

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Vanessa yelling, “Stop thief!” A “thief” (thief) is a person who steals something from someone else. Vanessa uses an expression that you would use if you are, say, in a store or out on the street and someone comes and steals something from you. In order to get the attention of other people so that they will stop this thief or help you, you say, “Stop thief!”

A police officer is somewhere near Vanessa, and he says to Vanessa, “What happened?” Vanessa says, “I just got mugged.” “To get mugged” (mugged) is to be robbed, especially when you are on the street or in a bus or in some public place. To get mugged usually means to have your wallet or purse stolen. Vanessa says, “That guy stole my purse, jewelry, camera – all of my valuables.”

A “purse” (purse) is sometimes called a “handbag.” It’s a small bag carried by a woman, typically, that is used to hold her money, her makeup, her hairbrush, her identification, tonight’s dinner, a television – all of these things will fit inside of a typical purse used by a woman. Well, maybe not a television. “This guy stole my purse,” Vanessa says. He also, or she also, stole her jewelry and camera. “Jewelry” (jewelry) refers to things that you wear on your body, such as a necklace or a bracelet or rings or earrings.

Your “camera,” of course, is what you use to take pictures with, photographs with. Vanessa says this thief stole all of her “valuables.” Your valuables are anything that costs money, that is expensive, that you own. We typically use this word in the plural – “valuables” – to refer to anything that you own that someone could steal and that was worth a lot of money.

The police officer then asks Vanessa, “Were you wearing flashy jewelry and carrying an expensive camera?” “Flashy” (flashy) refers to something that gets a lot of attention, something that is expensive-looking. A lot of times you’ll see musicians, for example, wearing jewelry that is very noticeable, that you can see very easily. We might describe this jewelry as being “flashy.” It’s expensive jewelry that you notice because it’s very easy to see.

The police officer is asking Vanessa if she was “wearing flashy jewelry and carrying an expensive camera.” He says, “Those are big enticements for muggers.” An “enticement” (enticement) is something that will make someone want to do something, something that will motivate someone to do something. In this case, it will motivate a thief – a “mugger,” which is a person who mugs you – to steal whatever it is that you have.

Vanessa says, “I didn’t have anything on” – that is, I wasn’t wearing anything – “that was flashy, and I was minding my own business.” “To mind (mind) your own business” means to not be focusing on other people, to be only worrying about yourself. Here, it probably means to not be bothering other people. “I’m minding my own business.” You may say this to someone as a command – “Mind your own business” – when the person is trying to ask you personal questions or get information from you that you don’t think are of any concern to that person, that you don’t think that person should know.

Vanessa says she was minding her own business. The police officers says, “Well, you should never go out alone at night, and if you have to, stay in well-lighted areas.” “Well-lighted” refers to an area that has a lot of streetlamps or an area that is not dark. The police officer is telling Vanessa she shouldn’t be out alone at night, which is probably good advice in most American cities.

The officer says, “Traveling on dim streets makes you a target for thieves.” “Dim” (dim) is the opposite of “well-lighted.” It means dark, without a lot of light. A “target” (target) is the focus of your attention. It could be a person or it could be a thing. Often, when we use the word “target,” we’re talking about attacking that thing or person. So, in a war, you may have a building as your target. You’re trying to blow up or destroy a building. That building is your target.

Here, the police officer is referring to a thief’s target – that is, the person that the thief is going to attack, the person the thief is going to steal from. Vanessa is not very happy with the police officer, who doesn’t seem to be helping her very much; rather, he seems to be just giving her some advice, and it seems to Vanessa that the advice is rather obvious – that she didn’t really need this advice from the police officer.

That’s why she says, “Thanks for that insight.” An “insight” (insight) is some understanding about something that is not obvious, but the way Vanessa says it, she’s indicating that it is obvious. The police officer is telling her something that he doesn’t need to tell her, because she already knows. Of course, the police officer might say, “Well, if you already know, then why were you doing it?” But, back to our story . . .

The police officer then asks, “Can you describe the person who mugged you?” Vanessa says, “No. It happened in a flash (flash).” When we say something “happened in a flash,” we mean it happened very quickly ­– so quickly that you didn’t even realize what was happening until after it happened. Vanessa says, “I didn’t get a good look at his face,” although I guess she knows it’s a man. “But I’m sure it was a man” – and there she tells us.

The police officer says, “It’s a good thing you weren’t hurt. You should probably learn self-defense in case it happens again.” “Self-defense” is the practice of using your body or something that you carry to defend yourself, to protect yourself against someone who attacks you, someone who is trying to hurt you. Once again, Vanessa thinks that this advice is somewhat obvious and not very helpful.

She says, “Thanks a lot,” but she says it in a way that indicates that she isn’t really thanking the officer. She’s telling the officer that this is not very helpful to her. She says, “I think I’ve had as much advice as I can take in one night.” “Advice” would be recommendations or suggestions that someone gives you. She uses the expression “As much as I can take in one night,” meaning as much as I want to listen to, as much as I can handle. “I don’t need any more advice,” she’s saying.

“Are you going to do anything to find that mugger?” Vanessa is asking the police officer if he’s going to do anything to actually catch the thief. The police officers says, “Sure, I’ll file a report, but don’t get your hopes up.” “To file a report” means to fill out some paperwork – to fill out some form or to write a description of what happened – and give it, in this case, to the other police officers or to the police station.

In more general terms, the expression “to file a report” is to officially inform someone, often a government official, of some certain fact or some information that they should know about. Really, it means that the police officer isn’t going to do much of anything. He’s going to write up what happened and give it to someone, but it probably won’t mean anything. It probably won’t lead to the police arresting the thief.

The police officer says to Vanessa, “Don’t get your hopes up.” “To get your hopes up” means to begin to feel optimistic about something, to think that something good is going to happen. Vanessa, however, knows that nothing good is going to happen, and that’s why she says to the police officer, “Believe me, I won’t.” “Believe me” is the same as “Trust me.” We use it in a circumstance like this, where you are trying to emphasize to the person that what you are saying is true.

What Vanessa is saying is that she won’t get her hopes up. She knows the police officer isn’t really going to do anything to catch the thief. I was mugged once, not here in United States – in another country, many years ago. Some thief came up – actually two thieves, on a public bus – and stole my wallet, and I went to the police and they filed a report.

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

[start of dialogue]

Vanessa: Stop thief!

Police Officer: What happened?

Vanessa: I just got mugged. That guy stole my purse, jewelry, camera – all of my valuables!

Police Officer: Were you wearing flashy jewelry and carrying an expensive camera? Those are big enticements for muggers.

Vanessa: I didn’t have anything on that was flashy, and I was minding my own business.

Police Officer: Well, you should never go out alone at night, and if you have to, stay in well-lighted areas. Traveling on dim streets makes you a target for thieves.

Vanessa: Thanks for that insight.

Police Officer: Can you describe the person who mugged you?

Vanessa: No, it happened in a flash. I didn’t get a good look at his face, but I’m sure it was a man.

Police Officer: It’s a good thing you weren’t hurt. You should probably learn self-defense in case it happens again.

Vanessa: Thanks a lot. I think I’ve had as much advice as I can take in one night. Are you going to do anything to find that mugger?

Police Officer: Sure, I’ll file a report, but don’t get your hopes up.

Vanessa: Believe me, I won’t.

[end of dialogue]

Our scripts are full of insights, thanks to the wonderful work of our scriptwriter, Dr. Lucy Tse. Thank you, Lucy.

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

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
stop thief – a phrase shouted when one has been robbed, used to get attention and help from people who are nearby

* Stop thief! That man just stole my wallet!

to be mugged – to be robbed, especially on the street; to have one’s wallet or purse taken away by force

* If you’re mugged, it’s important to cancel all your credit cards and debit cards as soon as possible.

purse – handbag; a small bag carried by a woman, usually with a shoulder strap, used to hold money, identification, make-up, a hairbrush, and other items needed during the day

* Before Cindy became a mother, she used a small, stylish purse. But now that she has kids, she uses a huge bag filled with toys, books, snacks, diapers, and more.

jewelry – decorative ornaments worn on the body, especially necklaces, bracelets, and rings

* The job candidate wore so much jewelry that it became a distraction during the interview.

valuable – an item that is expensive and can be resold for a significant amount of money

* Please keep any valuables in the hotel safe, not in your room.

flashy – impressive and getting a lot of attention; extravagant; shiny

* Do flashy sports cars get more speeding tickets than family cars?

enticement – something offered or used to make someone want to do or have something; bait

* High pay is a powerful enticement for accepting difficult and dangerous jobs.

to mind (one’s) own business – to focus on oneself and not be overly interested in other people’s actions or interests; to not be a gossip or a busybody; to keep to oneself

* I was minding my own business, not doing anything to attract attention, when suddenly the restaurant owner asked me to leave.



well-lighted – with a lot of light; with enough light to see clearly; not dark or dim

* Well-lighted restaurants are best for business meetings, not for romantic dates.

dim – without very much light; somewhat (but not entirely) dark, making it difficult to see clearly

* Doesn’t it hurt your eyes to read in such a dim room?

target – a person or thing that is the aim of an attack or the focus of some action

* With this marketing campaign, our target is young women, ages 16-24.

insight – a true understanding about something, especially when it is not apparent or obvious to everyone

* What were the key insights derived from the survey findings?

in a flash – quickly, suddenly, and without any indication that something was going to happen

* In a flash, the sunny skies disappeared behind dark rain clouds.

self-defense – the art and practice of using one’s body and possibly small objects to protect oneself from an unexpected physical attack

* The university recommends that all female students take a course in self-defense.

advice – recommendations and guidance about how one should do something or the best way to do something

* Do you have any advice about which extra-curricular activities Jimmy should be involved with in order to get into a good university?

to file a report – to officially inform a person or organization about something so that it must be recognized and investigated or otherwise dealt with

* The inspector is required to file a report when he or she finds unhealthy conditions.

to get (one’s) hopes up – to raise one’s expectations; to begin to feel hopeful or optimistic about something

* Tens of thousands of people are buying lottery tickets, so the odds of winning are quite low. Try not to get your hopes up.

Comprehension Questions
1. Which of these things does the police officer not mention as an enticement for a thief?
a) Driving an expensive car.
b) Walking without other people.
c) Being in dark areas.

2. Why does Vanessa say, “I think I’ve had as much advice as I can take in one night”?
a) Because she was extremely frightened by the experience.
b) Because the police officer is asking too many questions.
c) Because the police officer is making recommendations about her behavior.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
purse

The word “purse,” in this podcast, means a small bag carried by a woman, usually with a shoulder strap, used to hold money, identification, make-up, a hairbrush, and other items needed during the day: “Do most women change their purse every day to match their outfit?” A “change purse” or a “coin purse” is a much smaller bag that closes with a zipper or clasp and is used to hold coins: “Please look in my coin purse to see if we have coins to pay the toll.” Finally, the phrase “to hold the purse strings” means to have the power or authority to decide how money is spent: “When I was growing up, my Dad held the purse strings in the family.”

to get (one’s) hopes up

In this podcast, the phrase “to get (one’s) hopes up” means to raise one’s expectations or to begin to feel hopeful or optimistic about something: “The job sounds great, but they’re looking for someone with 10 years of experience, so don’t get your hopes up.” The phrase “to have high hopes” means to be very optimistic that something will succeed: “We have high hopes that Becca will become a neurosurgeon.” The phrase “a glimmer of hope” means a small amount of hope in an almost impossible situation: “As long as there’s a glimmer of hope that she’s alive, we’ll keep looking for her.” Finally, the phrase “not a hope in hell” is used to talk about something that has no chance of succeeding because it is impossible: “There’s not a hope in hell that she’ll forgive you after what you did.”

Culture Note
Flash Mob Robberies

“Flash mobs” are a form of entertainment and social expression. A group of people who are dressed normally and acting normally in a public area suddenly “come together” (cooperate; work together) to do something unexpected, such as having a “giant” (very large) “pillow fight” (when people playfully hit each other with pillows), sing a song, perform a “skit” (a short play). Flash mobs are usually fun and enjoyable, or at least interesting and “satirical” (using sarcasm to make a point about something).

But some flash mobs are much “darker” (more evil; not good). “Flash mob robberies,” also known as “flash robs,” are instances of “mass” (with a large group of people participating) theft. In a “typical” (common) flash mob robbery, a large number of people enter a store at the same time and quickly begin “stealing” (taking without permission) goods. “Whereas” (while) store employees are usually “prepared” (having the necessary knowledge and equipment) to deal with one or two “shoplifters” (people who steal things from stores), they are quickly “overwhelmed” (unable to deal with something because it is too big or challenging) by the large group of shoplifters. The thieves leave the store with their “loot” (items that have been stolen) very quickly, before the police can arrive.

Flash mob robberies most often happen in large cities. In many cases, the participants are “strangers” (people who do not know each other) and the instances of mass theft are organized via “social media” (interactive communication sites like Facebook or Twitter). The flash mobs are often caught on “surveillance tapes” (recordings from security cameras “mounted” (hung on a wall in the stores), but because the crime happens so quickly it can be difficult for police to “apprehend” (arrest) the thieves.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - c