You Can Count on Me
(Drama) ( 2000)
© 2002 by Raymond Weschler
A single mother and bank loan officer who lives in her childhood home
in the small town of Scottsville New York, who is trying to raise her
eight year old son while working full-time.
Sammys aimless younger brother who travels around the country, moving
from one job to another, who decides to return home to visit his sister
and nephew for the first time in years.
Sammys cute eight year old son who finally gets a chance to get to know
his Uncle Terry, who he had not seen since he was five years old.
The new manager of the bank where Sammy works, who is basically
a nice guy, but whose management style upsets all the bank employees.
Sammys boyfriend, who decides that he wants to marry Terry.
This film is the story of a young single mother, Sammy, who is trying to raise
her eight year old son, Rudy, in the small town of Scottsville, New York.
More generally, it is the story of the relationships that Sammy has with the
various men in her life, including with Brian, her new boss at the bank where
she works, Bob, her boyfriend for the last few years, and most importantly Terry,
her only sibling, and the brother she helped raise after their parents died in a
car accident when they were still both young children.
Terry had left Scottsville years earlier to travel aimlessly around the country.
Unlike Sammy, he has no interest in living a stable middle class life in a small
and boring town, but when he returns home for a brief visit, he does realize that
his family is still important to him. For Sammy, Terrys visit is a chance for Rudy
to have a father-figure, since Rudys real father was never a part of his life. And,
of course, it is a chance for Sammy to reconnect with a person who always brings
endless problems to himself and to her, but who is still someone she loves dearly,
just because he is her brother.
Some Words and Expressions that You May not Know
Sammy tries to work out problems with her new boss
at the bank while doing her best to raise Rudy.
Why do they always put braces on teenage girls at the exact
moment they are most self-conscious about their appearance?
"Braces" are metal wires that are put around teeth to keep them straight and in
place. If a person is "self-conscious," they are nervous about how others see them.
A common way to express anger or frustration,
even among those who are not at all religious.
Rudy, come on! Im really late, come on.
The most important and semantically varied phrasal verb in English,
here meaning "be serious," and in the second case, "hurry up."
Whats wrong with that? :: I just think its unstructured.
If something is "unstructured," it is not clear, and thus it is
hard to work with (Children dont usually use this word, but Rudy
uses it here to describe his homework assignment).
Dont forget the knapsack!
A small bag that you wear on your back to carry personal
belongings (It is similar to a backpack, but smaller).
Im the lending officer.
A person responsible for deciding to whom a bank lends money.
I got held up.
Here, if a person is "held up," it means they are delayed by unexpected
events or problems (In other contexts, it can mean to be robbed).
Believe me; Its nothing I make a habit of.
"To make a habit of" something is to start to do it
often or on a regular basis, such as every other day.
Then I run real quick over to the sitters house.
A short way of referring to a baby-sitter.
Larry never seemed to mind about it.
If a person doesnt "mind" something, they are not bothered by it.
Its kind of a personal challenge for me to see what we
can do to bring local service up to the kind of standards...
In this case, a "personal challenge" is a goal that is difficult to meet.
"Standards" are the levels of quality or excellence that a person or
organization tries to reach.
...wed be trying to meet if we were the biggest branch in the state.
A "branch" is a local office that is part of a bigger organization.
Rudy Sr. isnt on the scene, so to speak.
"Sr." (Senior) is the older of two people who have the same name
(often the father of a son). If a person isnt "on the scene," they are
not involved or even living near by. "So to speak" is a way of saying
"in so many words" when the speaker is not being completely direct or clear.
I can give you a few days to make some other arrangement.
In this case, an "arrangement" is an agreement which
allows for a particular situation to be solved.
Thats a terrific age.
A good alternative word to fantastic, excellent or wonderful.
Would it distract you if I put on some music?
If you "distract" a person, you annoy them or make
it difficult to concentrate on what they were doing.
What about your father? :: Its just a made-up story about him.
If a story is "made-up," it is not true.
Rudys father is a secret agent or something.
A "secret agent" is a person who works secretly for the government,
often as a spy."Or something" is a common way of ending sentences which
actually means "or something like that."
It made me feel kind of weird.
An excellent word that means strange or bizarre.
He knows...I dont have the highest opinion of him, and I dont want to
have to do anything with him, ever, but Ive tried to keep it kind of neutral.
"To keep a relationship neutral" is to maintain relations that are neither too
friendly nor angry or hostile (In a war, a "neutral" country stays out of the
fighting and does not choose sides).
Its a little outside of my personal field of expertise.
A persons "field of expertise" is a subject that they know a lot about.
Ill be glad to give it some thought.
If a person is "glad," they are happy or content. "To give
something some thought" is to think about it seriously.
Thanks for a lovely evening.
A British word for pleasant, nice or perhaps beautiful.
Terry finally return to Scottsville, but Sammy soon remembers that while
she loves her brother very much, he always comes with many problems.
Its pretty much your standard woolen hat.
This is a slangy way of saying "This is a typical woolen hat"
Can you borrow some more from your brother?
:: That would involve speaking to him.
This is a clever exchange in which the second speaker is saying she doesnt
want to borrow money from her brother because in fact she dislikes him so much
that she doesnt even want to speak to him.
Can we just cut the puerile crap?
Here, "to cut" doing something is to stop it. "Puerile" is an educated word
for immature or childish, and "crap" is a vulgar but common way of referring
to nonsense, silliness or perhaps a stupid argument.
I love you. :: That was really convincing.
If something is "convincing," it makes you believe it is true.
Terry! Give me a cuddle. :: How are you doing? Good to see you, man.
A "cuddle" is a more gentle and longer lasting way to hug.
Note "man" is a common filler word added to the end of sentences.
Which way are you headed?
"To head" in a particular direction is to start going that way.
Keep enforcing the peace! :: It will be a little harder now that youre here.
Police are Known to "enforce the law," which is to make sure
that it is obeyed, though one never really says "enforce the peace."
No, man, Im reformed.
If a criminal has been "reformed," they have changed for
the better, and thus will no longer be a danger to society.
Dont be a stranger, all right? :: Take care.
"Dont be a stranger" is one way of telling a person that they
should keep in touch. "Take care" is a friendly way of saying goodbye.
Its just youre dressed so formally.
If a person is dressed "formally," they are wearing the type of
conservative clothes that people often wear at important events
like weddings or important business meetings.
I thought it was a special occasion, which it is.
A "special occasion" is any event that has great importance, from a
critical business meeting to a wedding to a great sporting event.
This is the haute cuisine of garments.
"Haute cuisine" is a French expression that means excellent food.
"Garments" are clothes, or the materials used to make clothes.
Are you staying in town for a while? :: I got
all these things I got to do in Worcester.
A well known town in the state of Massachusetts.
Its a really worthy story, but I wont trouble you with it right now.
If a story is worthy, it is good enough to be deserving of your attention.
I was just wondering if we could get some more refreshments, actually.
"Refreshments" is another word for cold drinks.
I actually gotta confess to you
.Ive been unable to write
on account of the fact that I was in jail for a little while.
Note that "have got to"-----> "gotta" in rapid speech.
"To confess" is to admit or acknowledge something
that is usually embarrassing or very personal.
I served a little time down in Florida. It was just for bullshit.
"To serve time" is to spend time in jail or prison. "Bullshit" is a vulgar
but extremely useful way of referring to lies, nonsense or half-truths.
Does it occur to you that maybe I was wronged?
If something "occurs" to you, you start to think about it. If a person
has been "wronged," they have been unfairly or unjustly treated.
I got into a fight...which I was not the one who instigated it at all.
"To instigate" a fight is to start it (This sentence is not grammatical).
Then they worked up all this bullshit against
me and they threw me in the pen for three months.
"To work up" criminal charges against a person is to make them up or
create them. "To throw a person in the pen" is a slangy way of saying
to put them in jail or prison.
I just figured that you would figure that I was on the road for a little while.
"To figure" is to think. If a person is "on the road," they are travelling
from one place to another, often for a long period of time.
I cant run around doing stuff or not doing
stuff just because its gonna make you worried.
"Stuff" is a very general word for things.
I come back here, I tell you about my fucking traumas, and I get
this wounded "Ive let you down" bullshit over and over again.
"Fucking" is a very vulgar but not uncommon adverb that is often added
to express anger or frustration. A "trauma" is a great shock or injury.
If a person is "wounded," they are injured or hurt, and "to let down"
a person is to disappoint them.
It just cramps me. I just want to get out from under it, and now
Im back in this fucking hole explaining myself to you again.
"To cramp" a person is to make them feel stuck without the ability to move.
"To get out from under" something is to escape from it, and in this case,
a "hole" is Terrys word for a small and boring town.
Please stop cursing at me.
"To curse" at a person is to use vulgar words when talking to them.
Its not like Im down there in some redneck bar in Florida and Im having
an argument with some strippers boyfriend and then I suddenly say to myself...
"Redneck" is a very negative adjective to describe a poor and uneducated
person (often one who likes guns and is conservative). A "stripper" is a
person who takes off their clothes at a nightclub.
"Hey, this will be a great time to stick it to Sammy
and get myself locked up for a few months."
"To stick it" to a person is a slangy way of saying to treat
them badly. "To get locked up" means to be thrown in prison.
I dont know if youre alive or dead, and then suddenly
you show up out of nowhere and tell me youre in jail!
If a person "shows up out of nowhere," they arrive unexpectedly,
after a lot of time in which it was unknown where they had been.
Im in a slight predicament. :: What do you need, money?
"Slight" is a excellent adjective meaning very small or insignificant.
A "predicament" is a good word for a problem or difficult situation.
Im broke. I gotta go back to Worcester tomorrow.
If a person is "broke," they no longer have any money.
I just need to borrow some money. Whatever you can spare.
If a person can "spare" some money, they can afford to loan it or
give it way (On city streets, poor people often ask "spare any change?").
Come on, Sammy. Can we not talk about that shit?
Here, a general and vulgar way of referring to an unpleasant topic.
Can you tell me, without degrading what I believe in?
"To degrade" something is to talk about it in a very negative
way, or to look down on it as inferior, stupid or silly.
I think its primitive, OK? I think its a fairly tale.
If something is "primitive," it is very simple or crude, or reflective of
ancient societies before they got modern technologies. A "fairy tale" is a
story for small children involving fairies, elves and other fantastic forces
and beings that dont actually exist.
Youve lost hold of not just your religious feeling but of any kind of anchor.
An "anchor" is a large hook that keeps boats safe in their harbors,
or anything that grounds or keeps people stable and healthy.
No wonder you drift around so much. Whats to stop you?
If a person "drifts around," they move from place to place without a
particular goal or destination. One way of saying to wander aimlessly.
Im just trying to get on with it.
This is Terrys slangy way of saying hes just trying to get by or survive.
Of course I want you to visit, you idiot!
A great insult word meaning fool, jerk, ass, etc.(Often said between siblings).
I had no idea that you were just broke again.
I wish youd just send me an invoice.
A receipt that is given in business transactions where
it is shown what has been bought, and for how much.
Im trying to get a hold of Shelia.
In this case, "to get a hold of" a person is to contact them.
Rudy gets to know his Uncle Terry while
Sammy continues to have problems at the bank.
Mabel, dont those colors hurt your eyes? :: Oh no, keeps me fresh.
Here, "fresh" is another word for energetic and lively.
Did you want us to hand those time sheets
in at the end of the day or the end of the week?
"Time sheets" are official records that show how many hours an
employee has worked on any given day (A sheet is a piece of paper).
It seems like an awful lot of extra paperwork.
"Awful" can mean very bad, or as in this case, function as a word of emphasis.
"Paperwork" refers to the type of work that goes on in an office, where lots
of papers must be filled out, filed and read.
When someone slams into us and you go sailing through the windshield,
thats liable to be uncomfortable, too. Now put on your seatbelt.
"To slam into" something is to hit it with great force or speed. In this case,
to go "sailing through" something is to forcefully move through it, and a
"windshield" is the front window of a car. If a person is "liable to" do
something, they are likely to do it.
They have to be filed by the account number, not alphabetically.
"To file" papers is to organize them in a logical or systematic way.
Sammy, please see me ASAP. [Sign]
A common abbreviation for "as soon as possible."
I had a false alarm about my son. :: I kind of
thought you were gonna work that out.
A "false alarm" is a scary incident or event that is later found not
to be dangerous or harmful (An alarm is a device used to wake people).
"To work out" something is to come to an agreement with somebody in
order to find a solution to a problem.
What are you doing leaving here in the middle of the day,
without so much as a word of explanation to me, Sammy?
A complicated way of saying "without saying anything to me."
He just never struck me as the marrying type.
"I never thought of him as a person who would get married."
Were you a wild kid? :: Not as wild as your mom.
In this case, a "wild" kid is one who was perhaps always getting
into trouble because of drugs or parties or sexual activity.
Mom, were you? :: No comment.
"No comment" is a classic two-word reply that politicians use when
they dont want to answer a question (A comment is a statement).
What are you doing? :: Just reading some of your compositions.
A "composition" is a piece of writing or music.
If you tell a joke or story, he always had to tell a
better one. Kind of gets annoying after a while.
An alternative to irritating, disagreeable or distracting
(Note the elliptical second sentence where "It" is dropped).
Plus, I thought it was pretty scummy how
he split on you and your mom. He was a prick.
In this case, "plus" means also. If somebodys behavior is "scummy,"
it is immoral or very bad (Scum is the mold that grows in between bathroom
tiles). "To split on" a person is to leave them behind. A "prick" is an
asshole or jerk (and a vulgar word for penis).
My friends are here. I like the scenery.
"Scenery" is the view of the country or landscape.
Theres nothing to do here. Its narrow, its dull.
"Narrow" means small from one side to the other, restricted, or the
opposite of wide. If something is "dull," it is boring and uninteresting.
They have no perspective whatsoever. No scope.
"Perspective" is the ability to see how things really are with the help of
distance or the passage of time. "Whatsoever" means "at all." If a person
has no "scope," they have no sense of perspective or range.
They might as well be living in the 19th century because they have no idea
whats going on, and if you...tell them that, they wanna fucking kill you.
This is Terrys way of saying the people in Scottsville are conservative
and ignorant. Note that "want to"-----> "wanna" in rapid speech.
This doesnt apply to you, but Ive noticed some of the employees
are setting their PC monitors to all kinds of crazy colors.
If something doesnt "apply to" a person, they are not the one
being discussed. A "PC monitor" is the screen for a personal computer.
Purple. Polka dot. What have you.
"Polka dot" is a pattern on clothes with lots of different sized dots.
"What have you" is a way of saying whatever other types that people
happen to think of.
Its no big deal...but its really not appropriate.
If something is "not a big deal," its not really important. If an
action is not "appropriate," it is not in good taste or suitable.
Im asking people to use a more, quote,
unquote, normal range of colors in the future.
"Quote, unquote" refers to the " " signs, and is a way for the speaker
to bring attention to their choice of words (perhaps because the speakers
themselves dont believe the words are true or accurate).
No, my computer palate is pretty conservative.
A persons "palate" is usually their taste in food.
"Pretty" is a common adverb meaning somewhat or generally.
Whats up? :: Do you know you have an enormous
leak coming form the upstairs hallway here?
"Whats up" is a common way of addressing a person; Its a way of asking
"Whats new in life?" If something is "enormous," it is very big.
The pipes are corroded the whole length of the hall.
If pipes are "corroded," the metal has turned rust-colored and become weakened.
So lights out at 10:00 and dont spend the whole night watching TV.
"Lights out" is a direct and even military way of
telling a person at what time they should go to sleep.
Two hours, tops.
A slangy way of saying at the very most.
Do you know how to play pool?
Another word for the game of billiards, in which
small balls are hit with a stick on a large table top.
If we get into any trouble, you let me do the talking, OK?
One way of telling a person that they should keep quiet.
I got 100 bucks here, says me and my nephew can beat anybody in here.
A "buck" is a very common slang word for a dollar. This is
Terrys way of saying that he wants to bet $100 on a pool game.
Boys, its all over but the crying.
A colloquial way of saying that the game is almost over.
I know I havent been the most decisive guy in
the past, but I know I am tired of fooling around.
If a person is "decisive," they decide things quickly. If someone is just
"fooling around," they are not being serious (Here, Bob is criticizing
himself for not taking his relationship with Sammy more seriously).
I want to think about it. :: Fair enough.
A good little expression for when a person has given
you a response that is perhaps unexpected or difficult.
Just make sure to hit it really gentle, but firm.
A good little word that means strong, or with some strength that resists pressure.
And hit it a little low so that you get some back spin.
An expression used to describe when a billiard ball moves itself in a
backward direction after it is hit, even though it is rolling forward.
What do you mean, kiss it? :: I mean tap it.
"To tap" something is to very gently strike or hit it.
We creamed those guys.
"To cream" the other team is a slangy way of saying to badly beat them.
We were out doing some star gazing and we lost track of time.
"To gaze" at stars is to spend time looking at them with great
focus or attention, often while camping or sleeping outside.
My mom used to take me and Uncle Terry
out at night to look at the constellations.
"Constellations" are groups of stars that form
the shapes of animals and other interesting objects.
Sammy and Brian change their relationship,
and Rudy and Terry continue to get to know each other.
Brian, get off my ass! I did not change
the color on your stupid computer screen!
"Get off my ass" is a crude but colorful way to tell
a person to leave you alone, or to stop harassing you.
If you think that riding people in this petty ridiculous way is going
to improve service at this bank or anywhere else, youre out of your mind!
In this case, "to ride" a person is to put a lot of pressure on them
to behave in a certain way. If a person is "out of their mind," they
are crazy (Colloquial and very common).
You and I are going to have to find a way to work together,
but thats not going to happen with the attitude, the lateness.
A persons attitude is the way they think and feel about a situation,
as well as they way they express themselves (Attitudes can be positive
or negative, supportive or hostile).
OK, youre all set.
Here, a common way of telling a person that their problem
has been fixed (This is the plumber speaking to Terry).
I can give you a ride. ::
"To give a person a ride" is to take them somewhere in a car.
I am really glad you guys are getting along so well, like you have no idea.
If two people "get along well," they enjoy being around each other.
If youre such a baby that you got to tell your mommy about us playing
pool, when I asked you not to...Now I got to listen to that shit all day.
"Mommy" is the word that very young children use when calling out to their mothers.
Shes not ill, shes just.... :: Pregnant?
Another word for sick.
Well, it can make you kind of cranky.
An excellent word for irritable, upset or in a bad mood.
Im sorry that weve been stepping on each others toes.
If two people are "stepping on each others toes," they are bothering
each other, or more colloquially, getting on each others nerves.
Im not that bad a guy. :: I know youre not,
but youre driving everybody crazy.
"To drive a person crazy" is usually to make them very upset, angry or frustrated.
Im trying to do my best, and Im getting it from all sides.
This is Terrys way of saying that everybody all around him is always criticizing him.
I could use a beer. :: I could use a tranquilizer.
"I could use" is a colloquial way of saying "I would like."
A "tranquilizer" is a drug that relaxes people or makes them fall asleep.
Im starting to think my wife wouldnt mind a crack at it.
"To take a crack" at something is a slangy way of saying to try and do it.
Its just hormones. :: It isnt, but never mind.
The natural chemicals in the blood that control such
things as growth, menstrual cycles and sexual desire.
Heres to improved employee-management relations. :: Amen.
"Heres to" is a way of offering a toast with raised glasses,
or in this case, of presenting a wish or desire. "Amen" is the
word that Christians use to end their prayers.
You cant judge all of Scottsville by the people in that bank.
This is Sammys way of telling Brian that not all
of the people in the town are like those in the bank.
Kind of a later dinner, aint it?
A very ungrammatical conjugation of the verb "to be."
In this case, you should say "isnt it?" instead.
The fucking plumber came. :: Terry, just give me a break!
Here, "fucking" functions as a very vulgar adjective. It means nothing,
but it expresses emotion such as anger or frustration. "Give me a break"
is an excellent expression which means "Be serious," or perhaps "Stop acting
like such an idiot."
Wanna smoke some pot?
A common colloquial word for the drug marijuana.
The minute he asked me, it was like someone
was trying to strangle me. :: Whoa, bad sign.
"To strangle" a person is to try and kill them by choking their
neck or cutting off the air they need to breath. "Whoa" is a way of
saying "uh oh," and here, "bad sign" means that things do not look good.
Terry, I fucked my boss.
The classic and extremely vulgar verb meaning to have sex with.
I just didnt want him to be scared. :: Thats cool.
In this case, "cool" means fine, OK or understandable, though in
other contexts, it is a very common slang word for good or excellent.
I think his problem is that he is totally sheltered.
If a child has been sheltered, they have been protected
from the bad things that happen in the world.
It was a little clandestine thing we did for fun.
An educated word for something that is
done in secret, often because it is illegal.
Hes so freaked out that he disobeyed your orders that hes
got to fucking squeal on me and I gotta listen to your shit.
To be "freaked out" by something is to be made extremely scared or
nervous by it. "To squeal on" a person is to tell a persons parents
or perhaps the police that that they are doing something illegal or wrong.
I dont give a shit if you take him out to play pool. I was
mad at you because you left him at the bus stop in the rain.
"I dont give a shit" is a vulgar but common way to say "I dont care."
I dont want you telling him not to squeal
because I dont want him put in that position.
This is Sammys way of saying he doesnt want Terry to force
Rudy to choose between being loyal to him (Terry) or her (Sammy).
I dont know, Bob. Its not like weve
been going steady for the last few months.
If two people are "going steady," they become romantically involved and
go out on many dates. A fun and romantic but old-fashioned expression
that most people associate with high school.
Its a personal matter that has to do with Mabel.
"A personal matter" is something that is considered
private, that should not be discussed with others.
Im sorry I said you squealed on me. I was totally
out of line and I really owe you an apology.
If a person is "out of line," they are saying things that are
outrageous, or they are acting in an outrageous or ridiculous manner.
Whats on your mind, Sammy? :; Well, a lot, but
principally, I was just wondering if you had an opinion.
In this case, another word for primarily, or perhaps most importantly.
They just cant quite get a hold of themselves.
In this case, "to get a hold of oneself" is to show
self-control, or engage in acceptable behavior.
I got a new rod and reel, five lures...and a fish scaler.
The wonderful vocabulary of fishing!: A "rod" is a long tool used to
catch fish, and a "reel" is the thin cord that is attached to the rod.
A "lure" is any kind of food that is used to attract fish, and a "scaler"
is a type of knife that is used to cut fish for cooking.
Ill get it.
Note that when a doorbell rings, the only acceptable verb tense
is the contracted future ("Ill get it," not "Im going to get it").
Sammy looks to her Priest for help in
solving her problems, and those of her brother.
I know I havent exactly been the model citizen since I got here.
A "model citizen" is a person who is admired by all in the
community, or perhaps a person who never breaks the law.
I find it kind of discouraging that you seem to think Im
in need of some sort of spiritual guidance or what have you.
If something is "discouraging," it is disheartening or saddening.
"Spiritual guidance" is the help of a spiritual or religious person
in trying to understand the nature of God or the universe.
"What have you" is a way of saying "or other similar things."
So much so that youre willing to disregard the fact that
I dont believe in any of this stuff at all. I find it kind of insulting.
"To disregard" something is to pretend that it is not there, or that you dont
see it. If something is "insulting," its personally offensive to you.
And that doesnt mean shes supposed to be a
saint either, if thats what youre smiling about.
A "saint" is a person who is honored by the Catholic Church
as a holy person after they die, or more generally, a very moral
person who is always doing good works for others.
A lot of people come to see me with all kinds of
problems...drugs, alcohol, marital, sexual problems.
"Marital" problems are those that have to do with marriage.
I dont feel that my happiness and comfort are based on
closing my eyes to trouble in myself or other people.
Here, the priest is suggesting to many people ignore
the problems of others because it is easy to do so.
I dont feel like a negligible little scrap floating around in some kind
of empty void with no sense of connectedness to anything around me...
If something is "negligible," it is totally unimportant. A "scrap"
is a tiny piece of torn paper or perhaps some other type of trash.
A "void" is a completely empty space, and "connectedness" is the
feeling of being connected to others.
...except by virtue of whatever little philosophies I can scrape together on my own.
"By virtue of..." means thanks to, or with the help of. "To scrape
together" various things means to use a variety of different sources.
Do you think its important in the scheme of things, not just
because its yours or youre somebodys little brother?
"In the scheme of things" is a very general expression which
basically means "when viewing life as part of the universe as a whole."
Its an expression that asks people to look at things with great perspective.
I really dont get the impression that you do.
"To get the impression" about something is to form
an opinion about it, based on what is seen or observed.
I dont think anybodys life has any particular
importance, besides...whatever we arbitrarily give it.
"Besides" is another way of saying "except for." To do something
"arbitrarily" is to do it randomly, or without following a specific
set of rules or guidelines.
A lot of what youre saying has real appeal to me...but I
want to believe or not believe it because I think its true or not.
Terrys way of saying that he likes a lot of what Christians believe, but
he still cant believe what they do unless he actually thinks it is true.
Isnt there anyway for you to believe that without calling it
God or religion or whatever term it is that you object to?
A "term" is another word for a precise word or expression.
So Sammy, what example will you be setting for us tonight?
"To set an example" is to behave in a way that other people,
especially children, may choose to follow or imitate.
Im sure if you put your mind to it, you can think of
some other way of getting back at me besides this.
If a person "puts their mind to" doing something, they decide to try
and work at it very seriously. "To get back at" a person is to get revenge
or hurt them in some way, after they had mistreated or hurt you.
A crude and very slangy way of telling a person that
they are awful, immoral or perhaps just badly behaved.
I dont know what the churchs official position
is on fornication or adultery these days.
The "position" of an organization is its official opinion on any particular
subject. "Fornication" is sex between two people who are not married, and
"adultery" is a married person who has sex with a person they are not
married to. The Catholic Church dislikes both!
I felt really hypocritical not saying anything to you about it before.
A person is "hypocritical" if they say one thing, but their behavior
makes it seem that they dont really believe what theyre saying.
Well, its a sin. But we try not to focus on that aspect of it right off the bat.
A "sin" is the official word for an act that the church feels is immoral.
"To focus" on something is to pay a lot of attention to it. An "aspect" of
a subject is a side or part of it. To do something "right off the bat" is to
do it immediately (A bat is wooden stick used in the game baseball).
Maybe it would be better if you told me that I was endangering my
immortal soul, and that if I dont quit, Im going to burn in hell.
A persons "immortal soul" is the non-physical part of them that, in theory,
lives on after they die. If something is immortal, it never dies, and in fact,
most Christians believe that after a person dies, they (or their soul) goes
to heaven or hell.
It would be a lot better than the "Why do you think youre in
this situation?" psychological bullshit you hear all the time.
This is Sammys very direct (but grammatically complicated) way of saying
that she thinks that "self-analysis," popular among some psychologists, is a
lot of nonsense and a waste of time. Note that all the words in the quoted
question function as an adjective for the noun-phrase "the psychological
bullshit you hear all the time."
Terry decides to introduce Rudy to the father he never knew.
If he wasnt such a pain in the ass, he
would have been a lot of fun to be around.
"A pain in the ass" is a very slangy and common way of describing
a person who is disagreeable or always causing problems.
You ever been curious about meeting him? :: I guess so.
To be "curious about" something is to be interested in it.
Ive been going through a really hard time lately...
If a person is "going through a hard time," they
are having a lot of difficulties or problems.
...and I think getting engaged to you or anybody else would
be the stupidest most self-destructive thing I could possibly do.
To get "engaged to" a person is to agree to marry them. If doing something
is "self-destructive," it will hurt the person who is doing it.
This is Rudy. :: You dont say.
A curious way to show surprise or interest in what was just said.
Im trying to be polite, alright? Would you just take off?
"Polite" is an important word that means respectful and
well behaved. "Take off" is a colloquial way of saying to leave.
Get out of here, all right? :: Youre still a fucking asshole.
A very vulgar insult! Understand it, but dont use it.
Listen officer, I came down to talk to the guy and he starts shoving me.
"Officer" is a very respectful way of addressing a policeman.
"To shove " a person is to aggressively push them.
Youre not the boys legal guardian?
A legal term for any person who is legally responsible for taking care
of another (Parents are usually the legal guardians of their own children).
Youre a fucking lying piece of shit.
Another colorful and very vulgar insult that
you should understand but probably not use!
You can hear; Theyre out of their minds.
If a person is "out of their mind," they are considered crazy or insane.
Look how aggressive he is. He started the
whole thing and now Im being arrested.
"Aggressive" means too forceful or combative or perhaps even violent.
If a person is "arrested," they are stopped and taken by the police and
usually officially charged with a crime.
Hes not my goddamn kid.
A common filler word to express emotion such as anger or frustration.
Oh my gosh!
An alternative expression of shock, similar to "Oh my God."
Could we give it a rest?
"To give something a rest" is a slangy way
of saying to stop it, at least temporarily.
Weve had a great little fling, so why push it?
A "fling" is a short sexual affair. In this context, "to push it"
means to continue it, even though this creates unnecessary risks.
A 97 red Subaru Outback. New York plates.
"Plates" is short for the license plates that are found on the front
and back bumpers of cars (A Subaru Outback is a type of car).
Thanks for coming over. :: I want to have a car handy, just in case.
In this context, if something is "handy," it is close by or easily available.
Ive called the highway patrol four times.
The "highway patrol" is the police force responsible
for guarding the highways between cities.
What the hell happened to you today, lady?!
A common filler term that is added to Wh Questions
which is used to show anger, surprise or other emotion.
If a person is fired, they are told they can no longer work at their job.
I heard him tell the cops.
A very common slang word for referring to the police.
He doesnt need you to rub his face in shit
because you think its good for him.
This is Sammys way of telling Terry that he should stop insisting
that Rudy see how many bad people and things there are in the world,
since he is still a young child.
Why dont I just leave, period?
"Period" is a good way of ending a sentence when you want
to say that there is nothing else that is necessary to say.
You are the most important person to me,
but Im saying I cant take any more of this.
If a person "cant take" something, they can no
longer accept it because it is too difficult or painful.
If you have any sense, when you get older, youll get out of here, too.
Another word for good judgement or intelligence.
Ill tell you one thing about your mom; Shes a bigger fuck-up than I ever was.
If a person is a "fuck-up," they are constantly doing things
that are harmful or self-destructive. Crude, but useful.
I know I messed up, OK? You think I enjoy being thrown in jail?
If a person "messes up," they do something
very badly, often creating serious problems.
I wanted you to face that prick, your dad, like a little man.
A crude word for a penis, or a person who is an asshole, jerk or bastard.
I got a little carried away, I know it. And I lost my
temper a bit, which is not the end of the world, either.
If a person gets "carried away," they get too emotional or take
extreme actions. If a person "loses their temper," they become very angry.
Just for future reference...
A phrase people will say when they announce a fact that
they think listeners should remember when they later discuss a subject.
Shes going to throw me out of my own house
because I fucked up a little bit, which I totally admit.
"To fuck up" is also to do something very badly, often creating
problems, but it is obviously much more vulgar than to mess up.
He is not in control of himself and I dont want
him hurting your feelings anymore, or mine.
"To hurt a persons feelings" is to hurt them emotionally.
Sammy saves her job, and Terry
decides its time to leave Scottsville...
You made a pretty good speech the other day,
about people sticking to their commitments...
A "commitment" is a serious promise to do something in the future.
....and to working things out with this tough new son-of-a-bitch boss of yours.
"To work things out" is to solve problems or disagreements between people.
"Tough" is an important adjective meaning strong or capable of surviving
great pain or harm. A "son-of-a-bitch" is a common word for a mean or
abusive man, though note here it used as an adjective.
Whatever may have passed between us after hours doesnt
mean that you can just walk away from that commitment.
If something "passes between" two people, it occurs or
happens in a way that deeply effects both of them.
Even if you have a legitimate family emergency.
A good word meaning real or authentic, as opposed to fake or false.
In the calm, cold light of day, you and I have to think really hard about
whether you really want to continue on here at Outpost Bankers Trust.
This is Brians way of saying that when they have time to think calmly,
both Sammy and Brian may decide that Sammy should no longer work at the bank
(The name of the Bank is Outpost Bankers Trust).
You gotta be kidding!
A common way of telling a person that you dont think that what they
are saying should be taken seriously because its too ridiculous
(Note that "have got to"----> "gotta" in rapid speech).
Its no good for you, and its sure as heck no good for the bank.
An old-fashioned filler expression which is added to
sentences in order to show frustration or other emotions.
If I were you, I would be a little nervous about firing an
employee I just had an affair with, OK? :: Dont threaten me!
An "affair" is a secret sexual relationship, usually involving one person
who is married. "To threaten" a person is to suggest or imply that you may harm
or injure them (Here, Sammy is noting that an employer who fires a worker with
whom he has just had an affair could find himself with many legal problems,
including charges of illegal sexual harassment).
I just think its an area we ought to explore.
"To explore" something is to examine or study it.
Fine, why dont you just take over the whole bank?
"To take over" something is to take control of it.
Now you got to cut this out! :: What did I do?!
"Cut it out!" is a very common way of
telling a person to stop what they are doing.
Can I give you a lift?
"To give a person a lift" is to transport them in a car
(the more American version is to give them a ride).
You better get your sneakers on.
A type of shoe that is often worn when playing sports.
Thats nice for you, because I write a pretty goddamn interesting letter.
A somewhat vulgar filler word that is added to express emotion.
I dont really have a concrete plan, yet.
A "concrete plan" is a specific and perhaps detailed plan of action.
I thought Id try and show my face---let her brother have a crack at me.
In this case, "to have a crack" at somebody is to have
the opportunity to try and beat or defeat them.
Its really good to know wherever I am and whatever stupid
shit Im doing, that youre back at my home rooting for me.
"To root" for somebody is to support them (At ball games, fans will
root for their favorite team by screaming loudly when they score).
Depending on what happens there and in Worcester, Im
going to try and see if theres some work out West for me.
If youre living on the East coast of the US, "out West" refers
to the Western states of the US, such as California or Colorado.
And if there isnt, Ill figure something else out.
"To figure out" a solution to a problem is to think of a solution.
Before things got so messed up, I was doing pretty well out there.
If things get "messed up" in general, there are lot of
difficult problems that need to be addressed in life.
Im just a pilgrim on this road, boys. [Song]
A "pilgrim" is a person who travels to a foreign land.
You Can Count on Me
Some Potential Questions for ESL Class Discussion
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a
small town like Scottsville? Would you want to live there?
2. Is Sammy a good mother to Rudy?
3. Is Terry a good uncle? A good brother? A good person?
4. Which lifestyle do you prefer---Sammys (relatively) stable
middle class existence or Terrys endless life on the road?
5. How would you describe Brian?
6. Do you have any siblings? How would you compare Terry and Sammys
relationship with the one that you have with your own brothers or sisters?
7. Why do you think very conservative Americans would dislike this movie?
8. What did you like and dislike about this movie?