Lekcja 16


kurs przygotowany przez szkołę JDJ Bachalski dla portalu angielski.edu.pl

Bushmen's way to work-free life

JDJ Bachalski Each of you, poor souls, reading this article is likely to spend some 40 years of your life on working your backside off. Fortunate are those who actually like their jobs - it makes it so much easier for them to get up in the morning on each of 260 working days every year. Most of us, however, do not have such motivation. "Work puts bread on our tables and clothes on our backs," says the majority of my friends, even if what they mean by bread is Chinese take-away, and clothes are usually some articles from the latest H&M collection. The discrepancy between what we really need and what we think we need has been a topic of many scholarly works and sermons over the centuries. On the one hand, everybody will tell you that it is love, family and friendship that really matter in life, and everything else is just rubbish. On the other hand, the very same people buy new mobiles every two years, work extra-hours to pay their car credits, and call their parents once in a blue moon because "it has been such a hectic time lately". Regardless of how much we work - and earn - there is always a range of products and services that we are not yet able to afford. Naturally, we do our best to catch the bunny (like a new BMW, or holidays in Jamaica) - and that chase makes the world what it is - yet the creature always seems to be beyond our reach. Now, do I need to mention how frustrating it is?

Strangely enough there was a time in the history of human beings when everybody had absolutely everything they could dream of. I do not refer to the biblical Garden of Eden, but the hunter-gatherers who lived in the Neolithic period, and whose descendents are primitive tribes that still live in remote parts of the globe. According to some anthropologists, those people worked as little as 3 hours a day. Sometimes they worked very hard for a few days in a row, sometimes they did absolutely nothing to support themselves for weeks. Still, they always went to bed with full stomachs. They passed their time on chatting, dancing, playing with children, making love to their partners, or visiting relatives from other tribes who had as much leisure time as they did. The nature provided abundance of food, even if what they ate would be repulsive by modern standards. They needed no gadgets, nor fancy clothes; neither was there a need to appoint bosses since there was no work to be supervised. And yet, it took only a few hours of picking nuts and berries to provide enough food for three people for a few days.

Now, I am not naive enough to encourage anybody to strip down to their underpants and move to Puszcza Kampinoska. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to pay for your health insurance or children's education in acorns and berries. There are, however, a few obvious lessons to be learnt from the people of the Neolithic age. To start with, one should know how to resist the urge to buy things that serve no other purpose than cheering one up, or helping one catch up with the latest fashions - obviously we are perfectly able to be happy without them. Secondly, remember that neither your body nor mind are prepared to work intensively for more than a few hours a day - no matter what your manager thinks. Thirdly, never neglect your friends, family, or things that make you happy - in the long run it does not pay off.

It is the habit of modern businessmen to write books on how to get rich by means of hard work and cunning strategies. Perhaps it is possible to get richer than any of them simply by doing nothing.

to work one's backside off - harować jak wół
take-away - jedzenie na wynos
discrepancy - rozbieżność
scholarly works - prace naukowe
sermon - kazanie
once in a blue moon - (idiom) od wielkiego dzwonu
hectic - gorączkowy
chase - pościg
hunter-gatherers - kultura myśliwsko-zbieracka
descendent - potomek
abundance - obfitość
repulsive - odrażający
acorn - żołądź
urge - pragnienie
to neglect - zaniedbywać

Vocabulary exercise 

Example: healer, GP, physician = doctor

a) pig, copper, constable = ............
b) barrister, ambulance chaser, counsellor = ............
c) padre, vicar, reverend = ............
d) administrator, executive, top dog = ............
e) artisan, creator, virtuoso = ............
f) congressman, statesman, baby-kisser = .............  

Joke of the week
A lawyer and a Scotsman

A young office worker was getting ready to go home when he saw his boss standing by the shredder, holding a piece of paper in his hand.
"Look," said the boss, "I've got a favour to ask. I've got a very important and confidential document here, and unfortunately my secretary has already gone home. Could you make this thing work for me?"
"No problem, Sir," replied the young employee. He switched on the shredder, put the document in and pushed START.
"Splendid!" said the boss, "By the way, I only need one copy."

JDJ Bachalski

Answer Key:
a) policeman  b) lawyer  c) priest  d) manager  e) artist  f) politician

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© JDJ Bachalski sp. z o.o. 2006

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