Podcast

Episode 66 • Death

66

It's a matter of life or death

Dig your own grave

Sleep with the fishes

Have one foot in the grave

Be food for worms

Story

Wife: Hello?
Don Vito: Hello. I’d like to speak to Mr. Branzini, please.
Wife: Oh, I’m sorry, I’m afraid he’s busy at the moment, do you want me to-
Don Vito: I said I need to speak to Mr. Branzini, alright? Tell him it’s a matter of life or death.
Wife: Uh- Alright. Tony? Tony! [mumbling)]
Tony: Hello?
Don Vito: Hello, Tony. You know who I am, right?
Tony: I- Yeah, of course I know, sir. Listen, I-
Don Vito: My men have told me you’ve borrowed some money from me but you haven’t returned it yet. And that’s a problem, my friend.
Tony: I- I know, sir. It’s just, you know. The business isn’t going well, plus we just had a kid and-
You listen to me well, Tony, you’re digging your own grave here… You know what I mean. I’m a good man but I don’t like it when people disrespect me… If you don’t pay me back, I’ll have to tell my men to do something about it. You know… I’d told your friend Ricardo the same thing. Guess what? He didn’t listen to me and now he’s sleeping with the fishes.
Tony: I know- I know… Listen, just give me two months… I promise I-
Don Vito: Tony, listen to me. You’ve got one foot in the grave… you’re running out of time… You’ve got two weeks to pay me back unless you want to be food for worms.
[Phone clicks]

Questions

Okay. That was my best impression of Marlon Brando in The Godfather because I was playing the part of obviously a mobster person who was in the mafia. That's who I got my inspiration from. If you watch the movie, let me know, you think about it, and let's talk about expression number one.

It’s a matter of life or death

'Tell him it’s a matter of life or death.'

• If a situation is a matter of life or death, is it urgent?

Yes. Obviously super urgent.

• What happens if the situation is not handled right away?

It's a matter of life or death so if you handle it right away, then you could avoid death.

• Can you think of an example of a situation that could be a matter of life or death?

Imagine that I am with someone and they're having problems. I don't know, maybe they're choking on something. They can't breathe because they've got a piece of food stuck in their throat. What I'm going to do is I'm going to call an ambulance or a doctor and I'm going to tell them, "Hey, listen, I need help." They could say, "Hey, I'm busy." I'm going to say, "Well, it's a matter of life or death because if you don't do something, my friend is going to die." That is a matter of life or death.

Dig your own grave

'Tony, you’re digging your own grave here…'

• If you’re digging your own grave, are you getting yourself in trouble or out of trouble?

Digging your own grave is not great so you're getting yourself in trouble. You are the one causing the trouble.

• If you’re digging your own grave, it’s probably because you are saying something stupid or doing something stupid?

Either, maybe you just said something stupid or did something stupid that will get you in trouble and that's why you're digging your own grave.

• If someone is digging their own grave, will the consequence of their actions necessarily be their death?

They're doing something stupid and therefore they will die. No, not necessarily, it's only an expression. If you're digging your own grave, it just means that what you're doing or what you're saying is probably going to cause you some problems in the future. It doesn't have to be death. It can be even something silly, something minor. I'll give you an example.

• Have you ever dug your own grave?

I have dug my own grave i think multiple times. I think we all do at some point in our lives. I was working for this company and I was doing Facebook live shows teaching English on their page. I used to do that in the morning and I liked it because it's better to work in the morning I think than at night, because then you have the whole night to yourself but since we didn't have a lot of followers or viewers during the day, obviously because they were at work I suggested-- I was the one who suggested to my boss and I said, "Hey, why don't we move it to the evening?" He was like, "Yes, that'd be great," but in my head, I was like, "Oh no, why did I do that? I am digging my own grave," because I just said something that's going to cause me trouble in the future and I did that to myself. Nobody had asked me to work at night, I did that to myself, so I dug my own grave. You know what I mean?

Sleep with the fishes

'He didn’t listen to me and now he’s sleeping with the fishes.'

• If someone is sleeping with the fishes, are they dead or alive?

They're not actually sleeping. They are dead.

• Did they die of natural causes or were they murdered?

If somebody's sleeping with the fishes, it means that they were murdered, that they were killed.

• Where is their body now? And why?

If there's sleeping, so to say, with the fishes, that means that their body is at the bottom of the sea at the bottom of the ocean. If your a killer and you want to teach someone a lesson, what you're going to do, you are going to kill them. It's not like, I don't know anything about this. All right. I'm just saying what I've seen in movies but you kill them and then you get rid of their body. You dispose of their body in the sea. That's why you say sleep with the fishes, which by the way is incorrect because you know that the plural of fish is fish. Okay. One fish, two fish. Fishes is like a cute way to say fish in English, but the expression is sleep with the fishes.

Have one foot in the grave

'You’ve got one foot in the grave…'

• If you have one foot in the grave, are you dead or about to die?

If you have one foot in the grave, that means that you are about to die because you only have one foot in the grave and not two.

• How can you tell if someone has one foot in the grave?

They're usually old. If someone is like, I don't know, 99 years old. You can probably say that they have one foot in the grave, maybe not but-- also, they could have an illness, like a really bad illness that is going to cause them to die pretty soon. In that case, you can say that they have one foot in the grave. It's not a great expression, so be careful how you use it because obviously, it's not something nice to say. You can say it when talking about someone else, don't say it directly to the person. Oh yes, you got one foot in the grave. That's really rude. Don't do that.

• Can you think of any cartoon characters who have one foot in the grave?

The only one I can think of off the top of my head was the dad of Homer Simpson. What's his name? I forget the name, but the grandpa in The Simpsons. He's really, really old. You could say that he has one foot in the grave.

Be food for worms

'You’ve got two weeks to pay me back unless you want to be food for worms.'

• If you say someone is food for worms, are they dead or alive?

If someone is food for worms, they are dead because you know what happens when we die if our body is out there, then worms are going to get to it.

• How do you feel about the idea that humans are food for worms?

That's something that sometimes people say, oh, well us like living things or us humans are just food for worms. Personally, I think it's disgusting obviously. I think in general, we don't like to think about death as a part of life. I, sometimes I personally think about it and I obviously I am repulsed by worms. I think they're disgusting and I would never ever like for something like that to happen to me. I think it's disgusting. That's all I have to say about it, really.

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