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The Presidency

An English learning activity.

The Intermediate level English activity below is by William Christison who is an English teacher in Madrid, Spain (Clases Particulares de Inglés). You can either simply read and listen at the same time to the text below or do the interactive activities in this order: Websequitur, Vocabulary Matching, Listening and Cloze, Comprehension Quiz, and for the really daring: WebRhubarb.

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William Christison
William Christison.

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Read and watch or listen to the text: (If you prefer, read and listen to the text in the interactive activities listed above instead.)

Listen to MP3    MP3

Hi, this is your talking head, Bill Christison. As you probably know, I’m a MadridTeacher. I teach day in, day out for 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, sometimes 10 days a week, but I enjoy it. The work is fine, the students are great, and . . .

Well, I’m not here to talk about teaching anyway. I’m here to talk about something far more important. I’m here to talk about the presidency. It’s gone on long enough, far too many years, in fact. I know it. The President knows it. The Vice-President knows it. The administrator knows it. And certainly the community knows it.

This presidency sucks!

Who am I talking about? None other than the President of the community of neighbors in this building, me. I’ve been President for five years. I alternate with the guy across the hall. He shares the burden with me sometimes. Misery loves company, but not all the time.

If you’re jammed in the lift with three fat uncles and you’ve got a cell-phone, why call on me. If the garage ceiling is leaking water on your car because the restaurant’s pipes are broken downstairs, why call on me. If your key breaks off in the front door at midnight when you’re trying to get in from the street, why don’t hesitate, call on me. If it’s winter and the entry-way is dark and it’s, oh, 4 p.m. (a.m.) and someone has forgotten to change the light mechanism, the light timer, why just call on me. And of course the cleaners, now if the cleaners aren’t retrieving the garbage bins in the morning, then the city could fine us ma’am. Yes, that’s right, thanks, for calling on me.

And the lift needs upgrading, well, no problem, we can call an extraordinary meeting of the neighbors. No-one will attend anyway and we can get it approved. And if you can’t tune in channels 2 and 5 and you need a new antenna, why let’s call another meeting or let’s do it in the same meeting and get a unanimous vote to get that fixed too. Just call on me.

And you lose your monkey, why like the lady downstairs did, she called on me. We found the thing in the patio trying to get into the restaurant through the bars.

And many more minor irritations like that. But, you know what? It could be a lot worse. In the unlikely event that I were voted out of office - but who would vote? – who else would take control? Who would see to it that this building doesn’t fall apart? Certainly not the administrator, she doesn’t live here. I do.

Say, you know the other day I needed a satellite dish installed right up on the roof there. Well, all for myself I had it installed. I live on the top here and I ran the cable through the window and you know whose permission I got?

Perks of the job.

Good day.


If you prefer, do the interactive Vocabulary Matching Activity.

1. day in, day out - día si, día también.
2. far more - mucho más.
3. long enough - suficiente tiempo.
4. far too many - demasiado ("far too many" tiene más enfasis que "too many")
5. sucks - es una mierd@.
6. none other than - no otro sino.
7. neighbor - vecino.
8. share - compartir.
9. burden - carga.
10. misery loves company - a la miseria le encanta la compañía.
11. jammed - bloqueado, atascado.
12. uncles - tíos.
13. leak - gotear.
14. why - ¡Como no! ¡Por supuesto! (This is not a question. No es una pregunta.)
15. don't hesitate - no dudes (no te cortes).
16. timer - temporizador.
17. fine - multa.
18. upgrade - actualizar.
19. get something done - hacer que se haga algo.
20. approve - aprobar.
21. tune in - sintonizar.
22. call a meeting - convocar una reunión.
23. unanimous vote - voto unánime.
24. bars - barrotes.
25. In the unlikely event I were ... who would vote? (Compare: If I were ... who would vote?) - En el caso poco probable de que yo fuese / estuviese ... ¿quién votaría?
26. see to something - encargarse u ocuparse de algo.
27. all for myself - todo para mi.
28. run a cable through a window - pasar un cable por la ventana.
29. get someone's permission - conseguir el permiso de alguien.
30. perks of the job - privilegios del trabajo.

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