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October 23, 2003 - Slangman: A Really Bad Day

Broadcast on Coast to Coast: October 23, 2003

AA: I'm Avi Arditti with Rosanne Skirble, and this week on Wordmaster -- it's time for our monthly chat with Slangman David Burke in Los Angeles.

RS: We were sad to hear that even Slangman, who's always so happy, occasionally has a really bad day.

SLANGMAN: "I proved last week that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong -- which is, of course, Murphy's Law, which is a list of truths, things that can happen in one's life, and I proved this one big time. So I wrote a letter, of course, to my mother, explaining it to her which I'd like to share with you now.

'Dear Slangmom: Last week, I was invited to be a guest on a big international TV show' -- and, of course, TV is the way we all say television, because it's faster -- 'at 10 o’clock the next morning to talk about -- what else? -- slang.

"I only had a few hours to pull it all together (which means to prepare, to pull it all together) so I had to kick it into high gear (which means to hurry, because when a car is traveling at its highest speed, it has to be in high gear -- you can see that the only way I can write a letter, of course, is in slang!)"

AA: "Of course."

SLANGMAN: "'Well, I pulled an all-nighter (which means I stayed up all night) creating illustrations that represent some of our American expressions to show to the TV audience. Finally, by 6 a.m., I finished the illustrations. But as soon as I pushed the save button on my computer, the hard drive crashed' -- which is something you never want to have happen, which means the heart of my computer died!"

AA: "One thing, when you say illustrations, do you mean scripts?"

SLANGMAN: "No, actual illustrations. These are drawings, so when we talk about an expression, for example, a hard drive driving, we show an illustration of a hard drive, which is that part of the computer where it stores all of your files, crashing -- so I like to show it visually, it makes it more fun. 'So, as we say in slang, I was rather freaked, bummed out, ticked off and blown away. All that means very upset. Of course, there were other words I used at the time, but I’ll keep those to myself for now.

"With only now four hours before going on international television, I hauled buns to my friend’s house.' And hauled buns simply means I hurried, because when you haul you hurry, and buns is slang for one's rear end."

RS: "So you got yourself there very fast."

SLANGMAN: "Yes, exactly. 'I hauled buns to my friend's house because he’s a computer geek (and a computer geek is someone who is an expert at computers. In fact, a geek is also used to describe someone whose clothing is not current with today’s fashion, that's also a geek.)

"So after eyeballing my hard drive, my friend the computer geek knew immediately that I had lost all my files! There was nothing left! I started sweating bullets because I knew I had to create the illustrations again from scratch (which means, from the beginning, from the very beginning.) So I was able to recreate all the illustrations by 9 o’clock. But as soon as I got into my car, it died!'"

RS: "The car."

SLANGMAN: "Yes, it died, the car died. Or as we say in slang, it conked out, bit the bullet, kicked the bucket, croaked. 'So I decided to take a bus, but as you know, this week and last week all the buses -- "

RS: "Were on strike!"

SLANGMAN: "Were on strike."

AA: "In Los Angeles."

SLANGMAN: "In Los Angeles, and to be on strike means to stop working in protest of something. 'So I high tailed it (which means to hurry), so I hailed it it by foot -- "

AA: "You ran."

SLANGMAN: "I ran -- there's another way of saying it, a more normal way of saying it. 'I ran all the way there, only to discover that they decided to scrap my segment."

RS: "Awww."

SLANGMAN: "And to scrap means to cancel. 'So after all the trouble I went through, they blew me off (which means rejected me), they blew me off! I thought I was going to die, or should I say, conk out, bite the bullet, kick the bucket, croak! Well, on that note, I’ll leave you for now. Hug, hug, kiss, kiss. Love your son, the freaked, bummed out, ticked off and blown away, Slangman."

AA: And so ends a story inspired by actual events – though, admittedly, embellished. We know it will make Slangman David Burke feel better if we tell you that you'll find all his English teaching materials on his Web site,

RS: You can also link from our Web site, And our e-mail address is With Avi Arditti, I'm Rosanne Skirble.