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大学英语精读第六册 Unit 9

2011-07-26    来源:    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Unit Nine
Text
"Every cloud has a silver lining," says the optimist. It follows naturally, then, that the pessimist must favor "looking for the rusty lining". Just as the optimist can always find reasons for hoping that bad situations can improve, so the best pessimist can always find that in every situation here is something you can worry about. In the essay, the author, a self-proclaimed pessimist, claims to be worried about being swallowed by things from outer space and about much else besides. He certainly seems to be what is known as "a born worrier", though how serious he is about it all you can judge for yourself.
LOOK FOR THE RUSTY LINING
Ralph Schoenstein
My grandfather's hobby was worrying, and although hobbies are not usually thought of as being inheritable, I am a talented worrier, too. My grandfather's glum genes, which skipped my merry father, have reflowered in me as a major, all-purpose anxiety. A few weeks ago, for example, I learned that collapsing stars called black holes may soon such up all the matter in the universe. Because I read this in Vogue, I hoped at first that the black holes were some kind of fad -- a celestial pop event like Kohoutek or UFOs -- but then I saw that the author of the article had been twice a visiting member at the Institute for Advanced Study, in Princeton, and I knew that another crisis was at hand. Ominously, the Institute is just down the street from where I do my worrying.
The end of the universe should have been a splendid challenge for a gifted worrier like me, but mostly it upset me in a new and worrisome way, because it made me realize that I was spread too thin. When I found the black-hole story, I hadn't nearly come to the end of an earlier wonderful worry of mine about the polar ice cap melting and raising the level of the Atlantic Ocean enough to submerge the entire East Coast. I had been thinking of moving my family to Saskatchewan, but now that I was falling behind in my worrying, I had to worry if Saskatchewan might be tastier for a black hole than Princeton. On the other hand, Princeton was closer to those African killer bees that have been inexorably moving north from Brazil -- the ones that made me decide not to visit Central America last winter. The bees are getting very close to Central America, and Panama may be the only place where there is a chance to turn them back. Of course, even if it had only butterflies, Panama would still be a worrisome vacation spot for me, because it is said to be riddled with as much anti-American feeling as Boston.
In these terrible days, I often think of my grandfather, who was a nervous wreck in a simpler and happier time. His worries were transient and nicely manageable: When would Mel Ott start hitting again? When would Eleanor Roosevelt collapse from too much traveling around? When would the Third Avenue "L" rust away? I miss him, but he is lucky not to be alive and worrying today. I don't think he could have handled all the terrors that keep testing my sanity; he might even have surrendered and become an optimist, thus forfeiting the hobby he loved.
He was my inspiration when I was a boy -- a worrier to look up to. He used to visit me in my room, where he would examine my homework and then shake his head and say, "You'll never get through medical school with spelling like this."
"But these are band-new words," I would tell him in a worried way. "Spelling is harder this year than it was in the second grade."
He would sigh and say, "I don't know. I'm not even sure you should be a doctor at all. I just read that they have the highest rate for dropping dead."
My grandfather's quaint worries about me and Mel Ott and Eleanor Roosevelt are enough to make a contemporary worrier weep with envy. I wonder what he would have done if he had read a recent prediction by Gunnar Myrdal that the American economy could utterly collapse within five years -- just before the Eastern tidal wave but shortly after the arrival of the bees. Probably he would have adopted something like my own advanced worrying posture and learned to make room for each new worry by letting it trump one of the old ones. For example, when I read about the inundation of the East I forgot about my overdue Bloomingdale's bill; when I read Gunnar Myrdal's warning I decided to stop worrying about what would happen if Connecticut ever ran out of antiques. When I heard about the bees I eased off my worry about a root canal of mine and let the Panama Canal replace it on the Top Twenty.
What a list! Something old and something new, something cosmic yet something trivial too, for the creative worrier must forever blend the pedestrian with the immemorial. If the sun burns out, will the Mets be able to play their entire schedule at night? If cryogenically frozen human beings are ever revived, will they have to re-register to vote? And if the little toe disappears, will field goals play a smaller part in the National Football League?
Actually, I've never had a worry as worrisome as the universe-destroying black holes. I mean, the universe is where I do all my worrying, and if it suddenly disappears I may not be able to relocate. My only hope comes from a first principle of worry that I have learned in a lifetime of anxiety; i.e., some of the biggest problems are half of a self-cancelling pair. A nice example is that dreaded polar ice cap, which some scientists say isn't starting to melt at all but instead will shortly begin to enlarge rapidly, giving birth to a new ice age that soon will cover the entire United States. I worried about this ice layer form last February 9th until about Labor Day, by which time my worry about the price of bottom round had reduced it to the size of a rink. Lately, however, I have turned my mind back to the ice again, and I have been worrying about the fact that you cannot have ice that is growing and melting at the same time. One of these terrors is a dud, and the job of the dedicated worrier is to find out which one it is.
Applying this principle to the black holes, I wonder if there may not be some white holes in space as well -- pretty, glowing things that won't digest a universe but may prefer to spit it out again. All I need is a new flash from the Institute about one of these, and then perhaps I will be able to start worrying about chinch bugs and the male menopause and all the other gentle terrors my grandfather could endorse.
Is that the right way to spell "chinch bugs"?
New Words
rusty
a. covered with rust, rusted 生锈的
lining
n. the inner surface of sth. 衬里
inheritable
a. that can be inherited
inherit
vt. receive (property, a title, etc.) left by someone who has died
worrier
n. a person who worries
glum
a. sad, gloomy
gene
n. a tiny unit of a plant or animal cell that determines a characteristic that will be passed onto the offspring of the parent 基因
reflower
vi. flower again; (fig.) be at one's or its best once more
all-purpose
a. that can be used for any purpose
suck
vt. draw into the mouth by using the lips, cheeks and tongue; absorb 吸
vogue
n. the popular fashion or custom at a certain time
fad
n. (infml) an intense but short-lived fashion
celestial
a. of the sky or heaven
UFO
unidentified flying object 不明飞行物,飞碟
ominously
ad. of bad omen; unfavorably, threateningly
worrisome
a. which troubles one or makes one anxious
polar
a. of or near the North or South pole
submerge
v. (to cause) to go under the surface of water
tasty
a. having a pleasant taste; full of flavor
inexorably
ad. in a relentless way; unyieldingly 毫不宽容地
riddle
vt. make many holes in
wreck
n. a destroyed or much injured ship; (fig.) a person who has lost his health or money
quaint
a. strange or odd in an interesting, pleasing, or amusing way
transient
a. lasting for only short time; quickly passing
manageable
a. easy or possible to control or deal with
rust
v. make or become rusty
terror
n. (a person or thing that causes) great or intense fear
surrender
v. give up or give in to the power of (esp. of an enemy) as a sign of defeat
optimist
n. one who is hopeful about the future
inspiration
n. a felling of enthusiasm and encouragement one get from sb. or sth. that give new ideas and the desire to create 灵感
inspire vt.
eastern
a. of or belonging to the east part of the world or a country
posture
n. a way of behaving or thinking on a particular occasion; attitude
trump
vt. take (a trick or card of another suit) with a trump; (fig.) be better than; surpass
antique
n. a piece of furniture, jewelry, etc, that was made a very long time ago and is therefore valuable
inundation
n. the act or fact of overflowing; flood 泛滥;洪水
overdue
a. left unpaid too long
warning
n. a notice of coming danger given beforehand
canal
n. a waterway dug across land for ships to go through
pedestrian
n. a person who goes on foot; walker
a. (fig.) without imagination; dull, slow, commonplace
immemorial
a. originating in the distant past, ancient
cryogenically
ad. by using very low temperatures
toe
n. one of the end parts of the foot 脚趾,足尖
relocate
v. move to or establish in a new place
self-cancelling
a. cancelling itself out
cancel
vt. neutralize or balance in force or influence; offset
enlarge
v. make or become larger
rink
n. a sheet of ice for skating 溜冰场
dud
n. a shell or bomb that fails to explode; (sl.) a failure
digest
vt. change food into simple substance that can be absorbed by the body
spit
vt. eject or discharge (sth.) from the mouth 吐出
flash
n. a short new announcement concerning a new event
chinch bug
n. a black-and-white tropical American insect that does much damage to wheat, corn, grass and other plants in dry weather 麦虱
menopause
n. the period during which a woman's menstrual cycle ends, normally occurring at an age of 45 to 50 绝经期
endorse
vt. give public approval of; support greatly
Phrases & Expressions
suck up
draw liquids etc. up a tube by making a vacuum at its upper end
but then
but on the other hand; but at the same time
at hand
coming soon; almost here; nearby
turn back
cause to go back
look up to
admire; regard with respect
get through
be successful in; manage to do, complete, etc.
drop dead
die suddenly
make room for
provide space for
run out of
finish; exhaust
ease off
do with less severity or intensity; become less severe
burn out
use up its fuel
play a part
do a share; have an effect on
Proper Names
Ralph Schoenstein
拉尔夫.舍恩斯坦
Vogue
《时尚》半月刊
Atlantic, the
大西洋
Saskatchewan
萨斯喀彻温
Brazil
巴西
Central America
中美洲
Panama
巴拿马
Boston
波士顿
Mel Ott
梅尔.奥特
Eleanor Roosevelt
埃莉诺.罗斯福
Gunnar Myrdal
冈纳尔.迈达尔
Bloomingdale
布卢明代尔百货公司
Connecticut
康涅狄克州
National Football League
全国橄榄球联赛



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