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Fat chance

[ 2009-09-01 13:41]     字号 [] [] []  
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Fat chance

Reader question:

Please explain “fat chance”, as in this passage – Jane is pretty and popular. You will have a fat chance of getting a date with her.

My comments:

It means your chances of dating Jane are slim. In fact, they’re slimmer than slim.

Because you see, had they were been slim, whoever gave you this advice would’ve said so – your chances of getting a date with Jane are slim.

The good thing is, that way you’ll at least have a chance, though small.

“Fat chance”, on the other hand, is totally negative. It means no chance at all – just in the same way that “thin argument does a fat lot of good” means it does no good at all.

Anyways, don’t believe this person who gave you the advice from above. It’s terrible counsel. It’s disheartening. Ignore him. He doesn’t appear to know about girls who are “pretty and popular”. Girls who are pretty and popular, you see, tend to date lots of people, including all sorts of jerks and halfwits – you think I’m joking, I know.

Look at it this way: If you belong to the kind of people Jane dates – which I, always being encouraging, think you do – the chances of her dating you is good.

So therefore, simply take a good look at yourself in the mirror and take heart.

For now, forget about Jane, and read these media examples of “fat chance”:


We are now so lazy as a nation that millions of us won’t or can’t run to catch a bus.

And seven million Britons admit watching television programmes they don’t want to see because they can’t be bothered to get up and change the channel.

It gets worse; British workers are so unfit that 59 per cent cannot walk up two flights of stairs to reach their office, opting for the lift instead.

The study of 2,000 adults by healthcare organisation Nuffield Health reveals our laziness is also damaging our relationships.

Three-quarters of couples say they regularly don’t have the energy for making love.

Two-thirds of parents are “too tired” to play with their kids – and so one in six children is obese before even starting school.

- Daily Express, August 9, 2009.

2. She raised her two kids in a Bronx housing project, but Thursday Sonia Sotomayor’s overjoyed mom took victory laps around her Florida condo complex.

“This is a great day,” Celina Sotomayor, 82, told the Daily News after her daughter was confirmed as the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice in U.S. history.

For the frail Sotomayor, it was the happy ending to an extraordinary journey - one that began in crushing poverty in rural Puerto Rico, where at age 9, Celina’s mother died and her father abandoned the family.

But Celina persevered - she joined the U.S. Army, married, became a nurse and along the way produced two Ivy League educated children from the Bronxdale Houses.

Celina hasn’t felt well all week, raising concerns she wouldn’t be able to make the trip to Washington to watch her daughter's swearing-in.

Fat chance.

“I am going to the confirmation,” she told The News. “I wouldn’t miss it.”

- Mom has ‘great day’ celebrating the confirmation of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, New York Daily News, August 7, 2009.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


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