Stuart Mill English

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How to listen to this story: Ed Gavagan “Drowning on Sullivan Street”

How to listen to this story: Ed Gavagan “Drowning on Sullivan Street”

A high-level listening exercise.

Follow this link to Ed Gavagan’s story at The Moth.

Listen to the story one time. Listen to get a feel for the story—not to understand it in detail. Answer these questions (the answers are below):

Who is Ed Gavagan?

Where does he live?

What did he do?

What bad thing happened to him?

Listen to the story in small sections. Try to answer these questions. Listen three times before you check the answers. (The answers are below). After you have understood one section, then listen to the next section.

Part 1: (0:00)

What did Ed do when he came to NYC?

What was the non-profit support group for earnest woodworkers?

What were the two bars?

What’s a “dive bar”?

What was his idea for making the bar better?

Who was “Vinny the Chin”?

“You took a cockroach and you turned it into a butterfly” What does it mean?

What does “I was in seventh heaven” mean?

Part 2: (about 3:00)

What bad thing happened to him?

What was the Latin King’s initiation?

How did he fight back? Why did he do well?

Why did the gang members run away?

What happened to his lungs?

Part 3 (about 4:45)

Who called 9-1-1?

What did the garbage man say?

What is a “Vietnam vet”?

What does it mean “he goes into his flashback”?

The ambulance guy asked “why do they always say that?” Why did he ask this? How did Ed feel about it?

What did the ambulance guy do?

Part 4 (about 7:30)

What did they do to him at the hospital?

What is a homicide detective?

What does it mean “I have never seen anyone get hit with the kind of knives you got hit with”?

The detective asked: “Buddy, what do you eat?” He said “Guinness” Why is it funny?

What card did he get?

Part 5 (about 9:45)

Did he have health insurance?

Could he sleep? What happened when he tried to sleep?

What happened with his girlfriend?

Why did he have money problems?

Why was he still happy?

What did his parents want him to do?

Did he accept his parents’ help?

What did his partner at the bar say when he asked for money?

Where did he stay when he got kicked out of his apartment?

Part 6 (about 13:15)

What did his partner at the bar do to him?

Why did he start to “bust up the joint” (start breaking things at the place)?

What happened at the police station?

What advice did the detective give him?

Why did he stay in New York City?

Discussion Questions Discuss these questions with a partner.

What do you think of Ed’s story?

Are you afraid to walk alone at night in a big city?

How did the city save Ed’s life?

What do you think of the detective’s advice to Ed?

Would you have left New York City if this had happened to you?

Answers

Who is Ed Gavagan? Ed Gavagan is carpenter and bar owner.

Where does he live? He lives in New York City.

What did he do? He built furniture and ran a bar.

What bad thing happened to him? He was attacked and stabbed while walking home.

Part 1: (0:00)

What did Ed do when he came to NYC? He started a woodworking business. They made furniture.

What was the non-profit support group for earnest woodworkers? It was his business. He meant that he gave all the money he made to his two employees.

What were the two bars? One was a dirty and cheap bar. The other bar was a little nicer and a firefighter owned it. Ed liked to go to both bars and he made friends with both of the owners.

What’s a “dive bar”? A dive bar is a dirty and cheap bar.

What was his idea for making the bar better? He would redesign the dive bar so that they could charge more money and have “hot chicks” (pretty girls) in the bar.

Who was “Vinny the Chin”? He was a member of the mafia. He and other members of the mafia came to the bar on Sundays.

“You took a cockroach and you turned it into a butterfly” What does it mean? It means that Ed turned an ugly thing into a beautiful thing.

What does “I was in seventh heaven” mean? It means he was very happy.

Part 2: (about 3:00)

What bad thing happened to him? While he was walking on the street, three gang members attacked him.

What was the Latin King’s initiation? They had to kill someone in order to advance in the gang.

How did he fight back? Why did he do well? He hit them. He did well because he was a boxer in college.

Why did the gang members run away? One of the gang members was hurt by the punch and Ed was screaming.

What happened to his lungs? They collapsed (like a balloon after you put a knife in it).

Part 3 (about 4:45)

Who called 9-1-1? Italian ladies who heard him screaming on the street.

What did the garbage man say? Don’t you fucking die on me!

What is a “Vietnam vet”? Someone who fought in the war between the U.S.A. and North Vietnam.

What does it mean “he goes into his flashback”? The Vietnam Vet imagined that he was in the war again.

The ambulance guy asked “why do they always say that?” Why did he ask this? How did Ed feel about it? Ed asked “do you have to cut the sweater” and the ambulance guy was responding tot hat. Ed felt good about it because it meant that the ambulance guy was very experienced and had done this before.

What did the ambulance guy do? He put tubes in Ed’s lungs, so that Ed could breathe.

Part 4 (about 7:30)

What did they do to him at the hospital? The put him in surgery where they opened him up and checked all of his organs. They also removed some organs and some of his intestines.

What is a homicide detective? A police officer that investigates murder cases.

What does it mean “I have never seen anyone get hit with the kind of knives you got hit with”? It means the homicide detective had never seen anyone stabbed with such big knives.

The detective asked: “Buddy, what do you eat?” What did Ed say? Guinness. (It’s funny because you would expect him to eat some really healthy food, not drink a heavy beer.)

What card did he get? He got a card from the mafia. They gave him money and apologized for not begin able to fight the Latin Kings.

Part 5 (about 9:45)

Did he have health insurance? No.

Could he sleep? What happened when he tried to sleep? No. When he tried to sleep “the movie starts, the stabbing, the horror.” It meant that when he tried to sleep he could only think of being stabbed.

What happened with his girlfriend? She wanted to leave New York, so she left him too.

Why did he have money problems? Because he couldn’t work and he had a lot of medical bills.

Why was he still happy? Because he was still alive.

What did his parents want him to do? They wanted him to move back to Wyoming (the state where he was born) and build houses there.

Did he accept his parents’ help? No, they said that they would only help him if he returned to Wyoming and he wanted to stay in New York City.

What did his partner at the bar say when he asked for money? He said that business was hard and expenses were high.

Where did he stay when he got kicked out of his apartment? He stayed with a cute Canadian bartender.

Part 6 (about 13:15)

What did his partner at the bar do to him? He lied to him. Actually, the bar was making money, but he changed the contract because Ed couldn’t work.

Why did he start to “bust up the joint” (start breaking things at the place)? He was very angry that his partner was lying and not giving him money.

What happened at the police station? They were very surprised to see him and they treated him very nicely.

What advice did the detective give him? He said he should threaten his partner. His partner should give him a check—“the bigger the check, the sooner you forget who he is.”

Why did he stay in New York City? He couldn’t leave because the city saved his life.

July 13, 2010 - Posted by | How to listen to this... | , , ,

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