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[report整理] Words and Their Stories 2009-03-29

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I'm Susan Clark with the special English program Words and their stories. Susan Cleveland is the young president of a candy company in the city of Chicago. Her father began the company in the 1960s. He died three years ago. Now the company belongs to Susan. Many of her father’s employees were concerned when Susan took control. Her father had worked many years for other candy companies before starting this one. He had known a great deal about business. Susan, however, didn’t have any jobs before becoming head of the company. She just finished collage. The employees became even more concerned during Susan’s first month on the job. Mr. Cleveland has been a strong leader. But Susan permitted many employees to make their own decisions. One employee said old Mr. Cleveland always told us what to do. He kept people on a short leash. But the company did well. What does a short leash mean? A leash is a kind of rope. We use a leash to walk our pet dogs. The leash kept the dogs from running away or getting into trouble. Keeping a person on a short leash means keeping him or her under close control. The person con not make many decisions by himself or herself. Word expert Jeans Rogers found the similar saying used for more than four hundred years ago. In 1560s, Thomas Dickens said in a religious book : For God have them in leash, yeah, they are his slaves. Ms. Cleveland doesn’t keep her workers on a short leash. Instead, she urges them to create better ways to do business. For example, her secretary proposed an idea. She said the company should give a prize to the best student in a high school near the factory. The winner could use the prize money to study at university. Ms. Cleveland approved the idea. After the price was announced, people who lived in the area of the factory began to buy more of the company’s candies. Local newspapers wrote about the competition. Business improved. Ms. Cleveland made her secretary the company’s first director of public relations. The former secretary was very pleased. She said my old job had become Mickey Mouse. Now I have a much more creative one. Mickey Mouse, of course, is Walt Disney’s most famous animal drawn for movie s, televisions, and comic picture books. But what does a mouse have to do with a job? In modern speeches, anything that is Mickey Mouse is unimportant. Many word experts say the new meaning came from the United States Navy. The Navy has a special school for the new sailor who didn’t cooperate. It was called MIC, short for Military Indoctrination Center. Sailors began to say that rules, which did not seem important, were MIC. Over time, MIC became a Mickey Mouse, something that lacks meaning. This Word and the Stories was written by Jerry Watson. I’m Susan Clark.
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