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  1. keannu's Avatar
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    #1

    wearing shorts

    This is about the importance of making efforts for your success instead of depending on your genes.
    1. Why did the writer say his wearing shorts led to her not talking about him? What does it mean?
    2. What does this "going for" mean? "Like or prefer"?

    is78
    ex)The other day I heard a woman say, "Of course, he's successful. It's in his genes." I knew she wasn't talking about me, because I was wearing shorts. And I also knew she was wrong. Success is not in our genes. Not all children of successful people become successful themselves. Many kids have everything going for them and end up total disasters...You can't change your genes, but you can change the people you imitate.

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    #2

    Re: wearing shorts

    The other day I heard a woman say, "Of course, he's successful. It's in his genes." I knew she wasn't talking about me, because I waswearing shorts. And I also knew she was wrong. Success is not in our genes. Not all children of successful people become successful themselves. Many kids have everything going for them and end up total disasters...You can't change your genes, but you can change the people you imitate.


    1) I believe this is a pun on the words "genes" and "jeans". Because she was talking about a man's success being in his "jeans", she could not have been referring to him because he was wearing shorts.
    2) "having everything going for them" means having all the advantages (e.g. good genes) that might lead to success. So "going for them" means "helping them", "in their favour".

    not a teacher

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: wearing shorts

    I'm not so sure about the pun. When I first read the extract I just assumed that wearing shorts [note, keannu: 'shorts', in Br Eng, are called either 'short pants' or 'knee pants' in Am. Eng (whereas what is called 'shorts' in Am Eng are - confusingly - called 'pants' or 'underpants' in Br Eng] was a sign of immaturity. During the '39-'45 war schoolboys were legally bound to wear shorts (because of the shortage of cloth; for the same reason, long trousers could not have turn-ups)). Graduating to long trousers was a sign of becoming an adult.

    The pun's a neat idea though!

    b

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    #4

    Re: wearing shorts

    @BobK: I'm not so sure about the pun.

    I've spent most of my life in New Zealand and Australia where "shorts" means short pants such as males and females of all ages might wear in warm weather or when playing sport. I still lean towards the pun, but a clue to the region might help resolve things.

    not a teacher

  3. keannu's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: wearing shorts

    I don't know if wearing shorts implies immartureness or a pun. Considering his vocabuary, he must be an intelligent adult, and at the same time, he is so serious throughout the paragraph that he may not make a pun using jeans. So both considerations are confusing, but I'd like to lean towards the pun.
    * I added a little more for better understanding.

    ex)The other day I heard a woman say, "Of course, he's successful. It's in his genes." I knew she wasn't talking about me, because I was wearing shorts. And I also knew she was wrong. Success is not in our genes. Not all children of successful people become successful themselves. Many kids have everything going for them and end up total disasters...You can't change your genes, but you can change the people you imitate...They have terrific advice about what helped them succeed. Soak it up, jot down notes, and carry then around in your pants pocket. Then success will be in your jeans, even if it's not in your genes.

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    #6

    Re: wearing shorts

    It's a pun, a bad pun. The kind that otherwise intelligent adults just can't resist making.

    You added some extra sentences on, which show him contrasting "jeans" with "genes."

    Context always helps.

    I also agree that the rest of the paragraph makes it unlikely that he is a schoolchild.

  4. keannu's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: wearing shorts

    Thanks to SoothingDave, it was confirmed that it's a pun, and I'm too enthusiastic about learning words, so the following is unclear to me. Did you say shorts(US) = short pants, knee pants(UK)? but I can't get the underlined.

    [note, keannu: 'shorts', in Br Eng, are called either 'short pants' or 'knee pants' in Am. Eng (whereas what is called 'shorts' in Am Eng are - confusingly - called 'pants' or 'underpants' in Br Eng]

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: wearing shorts

    Quote Originally Posted by keannu View Post
    ... Then success will be in your jeans, even if it's not in your genes.
    It's certainly a pun. The extra context makes it clear. But it's such a weak one (some might even say lame) that he had to spell it out in the text.

    b

    PS keannu: the reference to 'pants pocket' indicates that these are not British pants (which don't have pockets).

  6. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: wearing shorts

    I suppose it's also possible that he's implying that successful poeple wear only formal attire and wouldn't be seen in public in such casual attire as shorts/short pants. But I lean toward the pun too.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #10

    Re: wearing shorts

    Anyone who makes a pun that bad should not be allowed to talk about success.

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