349 Broke in the Big Apple
Kevin talks about being very young, poor, and struggling to live in NYC.
Kevin: Yes. I have been broke a number of times. Anything in particular that you would like to hear? I've got quite a bunch.
Todd: So tell me when was the first time you were really broke?
Went out to New York, followed her, and I ended up living in an apartment with three other people and the share of my rent was $500 a month. Now that was 20 years ago, and $500 a month 20 years ago to a 19 year old kid with no education, no experience... that was a lot.
So I worked three jobs. I worked from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the George Washington Street Bus Terminal and subway station handing out flyers, American Express Moneygram flyers, then I would take the subway to Midtown, to FAO Schwartz, you know the big toy store...
Todd: Oh yeah, right.
Kevin: ...from the movie, "Big"...
Todd: Yeah, it's really famous.
Kevin: ...where he dances on the piano. Yeah, and I was... I would wrap presents there. And then I would work there from 11 to 4, and then I would take the subway back down to The Village where I was living, and I would work from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. as a waiter and bus boy.
Todd: That's brutal. That's pretty harsh.
Kevin: Yeah, it's really brutal. Well, how I ended up being broke was, the restaurant was a New Orleans style restaurant, and I got fired for talking to the customers too much. Truth is, the customers were interested in the fact that I was from New Orleans and it was a New Orleans style restaurant. And for... I lasted two more months. And I only had enough money everyday to buy a slice of cheese pizza and a pack of cigarettes. And...
Todd: That's it?
Kevin: That's it.
Todd: One slice of pizza and a pack of cigarettes.
Kevin: Well, and a Hostess Fruit Pie lunch. But one time, during lunchtime at FAO Schwartz, I went down to the vending machine and I got my Hostess Fruit Pie and I took a bite in it and it was hollow. There was no fruit in it and I really had a small panic attack, and I called the toll free number on it, and I complained, "You just don't understand how much of my daily nutritional intake that pie represented", and all he did was apologize and I was hoping they would send me a case of pies, but they didn't.
Todd: No such luck.
Kevin: That's right. When I went home, I was probably about 30 pounds lighter than before I left. And I was really poor. So that's the first time I was really broke.
broke (to be broke)
You have many stories about being broke.
When you are broke, you have no money. You are very poor. Notice the following examples:
- I can't come to the movies with you because I am broke at the moment.
- I am a little broke now. Can I borrow ten dollars?
I've got quite a bunch.
A bunch means many. We often use bunch for things that are grouped together like a bunch of bananas. Here are some sample sentences.
- I have a bunch of old records I want to give away.
- My father gave me a bunch of his old shirts.
ended up (to end up)
I ended up living in an apartment
When you end up somewhere, you eventually stop at some place, often with no planning. This can refer to a place or action. Notice the following sentences:
- Last night we ended up just staying home. It was too cold to go out.
- After hiking for three days, I ended up lost, hungry and thirsty.
I was handing out flyers at the subway station.
A flyer is a piece of paper with information on it, usually as an advertisement. When you hand out flyers, you give them to people, often without them asking for it. You often see people handing out flyers in public places like subway stations and so on. Notice the following:
- I hate it when people hand me flyers. They are a waste of paper.
- The worst job I ever had was handing out flyers at the bus terminal.
I took the subway back down to the Village.
The Village is a part of New York. The Village is short for Greenwich Village. It is one of many areas in Manhattan, the main island of New York City. Other areas include Chelsea, SoHo, Chinatown, and Little Italy. The famous TV show Friends is set in the Village.
That's brutal. That's harsh.
The word brutal means to be very hard and uncomfortable. When something is brutal it is not fun or enjoyable. We often use the word to show sympathy when someone talks about a bad experience. 'Harsh' is similar in meaning. Notice the following.
Ann: How was your test?
Joe: Brutal! I am sure I failed.
Tim: My boss told me I have to work Saturday.
Moe: That's brutal. Now you will miss the party.
I was fired for talking to customers. Truth is, the customers wanted to talk to me.
The phrase 'truth is' is used to show a contradiction or surprise. Notice the following sample sentences.
- My girlfriend broke up with me. Truth is, I wanted to break up anyway.
- My boss asked me to work overtime. Truth is, I needed the extra money.
I had a small panic attack.
A panic attack is when someone has a lot of stress or worry at one time and they lose control of themself. When someone has a panic attack, they cannot think clearly or act normally. When people have a panic attack, friends or family might try to get the person to calm down. Notice the following sentences:
- The mother had a panic attack when she could not find her child at the park.
- The man had a panic attack when he realized his life savings was lost in the stock market crash.
I called the toll free number.
A toll free number is a free phone call for a company or service. A toll is a price you pay to use something, like a 'toll bridge'. In the Unites States, most toll free numbers start with number '800'. We often refer to toll free numbers as 'an 800 number'. Notice the following:
- I called the toll free number on the back of the box.
- Whenever I use the toll free number, I am always put on hold.
You just don't understand how much of my daily nutritional intake that pie represented.
The daily nutritional intake is the amount of food, vitamins, and minerals from different food groups you need every day for a healthy diet. On the back of most food packages there is a chart with the daily nutritional intake percentages that food supplies.