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ESL Lesson: Phrasal verb get

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Phrasal verb get

I don't recommend it as it can get you into an embarrassing situation if you're not careful but then I was persuaded by a good friend of mine. I am referring to the time I returned to my old school some fifteen years after I'd left. The friend had been invited to speak as the guest of honour at some function or other at the school. He had been so insistent on my going that I couldn't really get out of it. Mind you, I had got on quite well at school but I wasn't really looking forward to coming face to face again with certain of the teachers. There was one in particular who must have been getting on because he'd seemed pretty ancient when I was there.

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His name was Harrison and he and I just didn't get on at all. There was something about the way he looked at you or me, anyhow as if he was about to say something unpleasant about your hair, your shoes or the way you walked and he always passed derogatory comments. It began to get on my nerves. I felt as I was being persecuted, being got at. Things had got to such a state that in my last few weeks at the school I'd written what I thought was a fairly satirical piece making fun of him without mentioning him by name. Nobody on the teaching staff made any mention about it before I left and so I imagined I had got away with it. The strange thing was that Harrison usually liked to have the last word and could not bear to be humiliated.

Apparently the function at the school was to be a formal affair and the men were supposed to wear dinner jackets, which I thought was a bit over the top. On the day of the function I was flying back from abroad and by the time I got back there was only a couple of hours to change and drive to the school. I say 'change' but I had no formal clothes to change into because the case with my dinner jacket had gone missing. But I didn't let that get me down and thought the best thing was to get down to the school as quickly as possible. I arrived therefore dressed in my holiday attire, got round the doorman by explaining my predicament and sneaked into the back of the hall and sat down.

The proceedings got off to a good start and my friend gave a brilliant speech. The only worrying thing was that up on the platform sat the dreaded Harrison and I had the horrible feeling that he had spotted me and he had that strange look on his face as if he was up to something. From what I had heard from people around me , some of the former students had got up a collection in order to make a presentation to Harrison as he was retiring this term. There was I thinking I had got through the evening unscathed and now I had this presentiment that somebody was about to be got at and that somebody was going to be me. The presentation was made by the headmaster saying he didn't know how the school would get on without him and other complimentary things and then handed him his leaving present. Harrison rose with an evil smile on his face and assured the Head that the school would certainly get by without him. He only hoped he would be able to get by on his pension. It all seemed to be quite harmless but I just wished he would finish his speech and get it over. Then suddenly he made a comment about how they must remember how fussy he always was about appearance and being properly dressed. He had, he said, got a special prize for the best dressed old boy. I heard my name being called out. All I wanted to do was get out but I had no choice and strolled as casually as I could to loud cheers and cat calls, in my holiday outfit, up on to the stage. As he handed me a small book entitled 'How to look smart' and shook my hand, he whispered: "I've waited fifteen years for this!" Get out of this!, I said to myself.

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Author: Alan Townend




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