Welcome to Easy Stories in English, the podcast that will take your English from OK to Good, and from Good to Great.
I am Ariel Goodbody, your host for this show. Today’s story is for beginners. The name of the story is Eyes, Teeth and Toenails. You can find a transcript of the episode at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Eyes. That’s EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Eyes. There, you can also download the episode as a PDF.
OK, I’ll just explain some words that are in today’s story.
When you notice something, you see something for the first time. For example, maybe you see your friend and your friend has had a haircut. You might say, ‘Oh, I notice you had your hair cut!’ Or maybe you go outside and you don’t notice that it’s raining, and then ten minutes later it rains more and you get very wet.
A cavity is a hole in your tooth. When you eat lots of sweets and don’t brush your teeth enough, you might get a cavity. Maybe a part of your tooth will fall out. But sometimes you don’t notice that you have a cavity. Then you go to the dentist, and the dentist tells you that you have a cavity.
Then, you get a filling. A filling is when a dentist puts something in your tooth where a cavity was. Fillings stop the cavities from growing bigger. In the past, fillings were black and did not look nice, but now you can get white fillings, so that your teeth still look nice. I never had fillings when I was growing up, but I have had to get two fillings as an adult.
When you smile, you move the sides of your mouth up. It is like a laugh, but smaller. You want to show that you are happy. If you like someone, you smile at them. In some countries, people smile a lot more than in other countries. Sometimes, Thailand is called ‘the land of smiles’.
A hammer is a tool that you use to hit things. People use hammers to put nails in walls, and then you can hang a picture on the nail. Or you might use a hammer to break something, like a rock.
A nail is the hard thing on your fingers and toes. Nails grow and you have to cut them, but some people like having long nails. Some people paint their nails, and some people put on plastic nails. If you are very nervous, you might bite your nails. Of course, you cannot bite your toenails, because they are on your toes!
Sandals are shoes that are open at the front. Normally, shoes cover your toes, but if you wear sandals, everyone can see your toes. If you have very long toenails, this can be a problem! People usually wear sandals in the summer in the UK, because it is too cold at other times of the year.
Radiators are machines that make heat, that make a room hot. Radiators are usually white, and they sit on the wall. You can turn a part of the radiator, the dial, to make it hotter or colder.
Destroy means to break something completely. If there is an old building and someone wants to build a new building there, they will need to destroy the old building first. If a fire starts in your house, it could destroy all your things.
A hero is a person who is very brave and does very difficult things. Most often, we talk about superheroes, like Batman and Spiderman. But there are also real heroes who are normal people. For example, during the beginning of coronavirus, many people said that nurses and doctors were heroes.
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OK, so listen and enjoy!
Eyes, Teeth and Toenails
Ken woke up. It was his holiday, finally! He would do so many things.
Ken didn’t know what to do, so he went and watched TV. But he didn’t just watch TV for ten minutes. He watched TV for three hours.
Then, Ken noticed that his eyes hurt.
‘Ow!’ said Ken. ‘My eyes hurt!’
So Ken stopped watching TV and read a book. But he didn’t just read ten pages. He read the book for five hours.
Then, Ken noticed that his eyes still hurt.
‘Ow!’ said Ken. ‘My eyes still hurt! Hmm, maybe I need to go outside. If I go outside, maybe my eyes won’t hurt.’
So Ken went to the cinema and watched a film. But he didn’t just watch one film. He watched three films, and he was at the cinema for seven hours!
Afterwards, Ken came outside and noticed that his eyes still hurt.
‘Ow!’ said Ken. ‘How do my eyes still hurt? I don’t understand!’
By now, it was late and Ken was tired. So he went home and went to bed. But Ken didn’t just sleep for eight hours, he slept for twenty hours.
When Ken woke up, he noticed that his eyes didn’t hurt.
‘Hurray!’ said Ken. ‘My eyes don’t hurt!’
But then Ken stood up and noticed that his back hurt.
‘Ow!’ said Ken. ‘Why does my back hurt? Oh, well. I’ll go watch TV.’
Lisa loved brushing her teeth. Most people brush their teeth twice a day, but Lisa brushed her teeth much more than twice a day. She didn’t know how many times a day she brushed her teeth, because she brushed them so often.
In the morning, Lisa sat on the bus and brushed her teeth. A man who sat next to her said, ‘Why are you brushing your teeth?’
Lisa said, ‘I don’t want cavities! You should brush your teeth, too. You’ll get cavities, and then you’ll have to get a filling.’
When Lisa got to work, she sat at her desk and brushed her teeth. Jenny sat next to Lisa. Jenny was talking on the phone.
‘Lisa!’ said Jenny. ‘I can’t hear what they’re saying because you’re brushing your teeth. Stop it!’
‘No!’ said Lisa. ‘I don’t want cavities and fillings. You should brush your teeth while you talk on the phone.’
After work, Lisa went for a drink with her friend Sang. They drank beer, and Sang talked about his girlfriend. But every time Lisa drank beer, she brushed her teeth.
‘Lisa!’ said Sang. ‘I’m talking to you about my girlfriend, but you’re not listening. Stop brushing your teeth!’
‘Sang, you and your girlfriend can get cavities, but I don’t want them. Fillings are expensive!’
The next day, Lisa went to the dentist. At the dentist, three other people were waiting. There was the man from the bus, Jenny from work and Lisa’s friend Sang.
‘Hello!’ Lisa said to them.
The man from the bus went into the dentist’s office, and he came out smiling.
‘The doctor says my teeth are great!’
Next, Jenny went into the dentist’s office, and she came out smiling.
‘See, Lisa? My teeth are fine!’
Next, Sang went into the dentist’s office, and he came out smiling, as well.
‘Lisa, you really worry too much.’
Then Lisa went into the dentist’s office. The dentist looked at her teeth.
‘Oh dear,’ he said.
‘What?’ said Lisa. ‘Are my teeth perfect?’
‘No. You have twenty cavities.’
‘What?!’ said Lisa.
‘I think you’re brushing your teeth too much. There are too many cavities, so we can’t use fillings. We will have to use a big hammer to take all your teeth out. Then, we’ll take the teeth from a cow and use a small hammer to put the cow’s teeth in your mouth.’
‘WHAT?!’ said Lisa.
The next day, Lisa went into work. Jenny smiled at her and said, ‘Lisa, how are your teeth?’
Lisa opened her mouth and said, ‘Moo.’
Vladimir loved his toenails. He didn’t like his fingernails, but his toenails were very special to him. They were long and beautiful. Vlad never cut his toenails, and he always wore sandals, so everyone could see them.
Vlad also loved his job. Everyone looked at his toenails all the time, and he thought they must want toenails like his.
But in winter, it was really too cold to wear sandals. So Vlad’s boss said, ‘Vlad, you’re wearing sandals in winter. Aren’t you cold?’
‘I understand, boss,’ said Vlad. ‘When you see me tomorrow, my feet won’t be cold!’
Vlad went and bought a mini radiator and put it on his feet. Now his feet were nice and warm, but everyone could still see his long, beautiful toenails. Vlad’s boss wasn’t happy, but Vlad didn’t understand why. His feet were warm now, weren’t they?
One day, Vlad’s mini radiator broke. It went BOOM! It destroyed his desk. It destroyed his computer. It destroyed the entire office!
Vlad’s boss was very happy. ‘I’m so sorry, Vlad,’ he said, ‘but as you can see, your radiator has destroyed the office, so you can’t work here anymore.’
‘Really?’ said Vlad. ‘But you’ll all be so sad without my toenails! You look at them every day. Please, I really want to work here!’
‘Well…’ said Vlad’s boss. ‘You’re right. Your toenails are so lovely. But nobody can work, because they’re looking at your toenails all the time. So I think it’s better to wear shoes at work, don’t you think? Not sandals. Then everyone can work better.’
Now Vlad understood. His toenails were too beautiful! The radiator probably broke because his toenails were so beautiful.
‘Yes, sir!’ said Vlad, and he ran to the shoe shop.
But Vlad’s toenails were so long that all the shoes were too small for him. They tried putting the shoes on, but the toenails were just too long. And they were strong. The shop assistant tried cutting them, but they were too strong. She tried breaking them with a hammer, but they were too strong. She tried eating them, but they were too strong.
‘I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘but you cannot wear shoes.’
Vlad was very sad. He loved his work, but his toenails were more important.
As Vlad walked down the street, a man ran towards him.
‘That man stole my bag!’ a woman cried.
Vlad saw that the man was carrying a bag. But what could Vlad do? He wasn’t a hero. He tried to move away from the man, but then the man stood on Vlad’s toenails.
‘Ow!’ said the man.
The bag fell, and Vlad took it to the woman.
‘Here you go.’
‘Oh, thank you!’ she said. ‘I’m so lucky that you were there. You have such strong toenails. You’re a hero!’
‘Ah!’ said Vlad. ‘I’m a hero!’
So now Vlad had a new job. He was a hero who used his toenails. Maybe he wasn’t Superman or Batman, but did Superman and Batman have beautiful toenails?
No, they didn’t.
Recently, I had my thirtieth birthday. Everyone says that your thirtieth birthday is very important. For a lot of people, turning thirty means ‘you’re getting old’! However, I feel very happy at thirty. I think I have grown a lot during my twenties – from the age of 20 to 30 – and if I could magically go back to being twenty, I don’t think I would.
Originally, I planned to have a big party to celebrate my thirtieth. I decided where to have it, invited about fifty people and made a Google Form so people could say if they were coming, which parts of the party they were coming for, and if they had any needs. For example, some people might not want to be around people drinking alcohol or doing drugs. I wanted my party to be fun for everyone.
However, lots of people were busy! So in the end, I had to cancel the party. But when I thought about it, it made sense. I have a very diverse group of friends – I have friends of all different ages, from different cities, countries, friends who speak different languages and have different interests… It will always be hard to get lots of them together in one place.
Instead, I celebrated with fewer people. I went to an event called Quintimacy a few weeks before the planned date of the party, so I decided to celebrate there. I was staying in a house with a few people I knew from the event. It was really lovely, because we could plan the party together and make sure that everyone’s needs were met. For example, some people were quite anxious about the party – big social events are hard! – and we all wanted the party to end quite early, so that we could rest before the last day of the event.
So we did this: we invited people over at 7:30pm, and I told everyone to bring a piece of poetry, fiction or song lyrics that they wanted to read out loud. We also told them that the party finished at 10pm and that was when everyone had to leave. We talked for a while, and then we did a ‘round of reading’ – each person stood up and read out the poetry, fiction or song lyrics that they had brought. Then, at ten o’clock, everyone left and we went to bed.
It was easily the best party I’ve ever been to. I got to see lots of lovely friends, we shared some really beautiful art with each other, and I didn’t feel so tired afterwards. In fact, I think I’ll definitely have to have more parties like this in future!
What about you? Do you like celebrating your birthday? What kind of parties do you have? Come and leave a comment at EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Eyes.
If you enjoyed today’s episode and want to be able to read my stories in a physical format, then good news! I have a book of ten short stories called, well, Easy Stories in English. Get it on Amazon, Apple Books or Google Books, or go to EasyStoriesInEnglish.com/Book to find out all the places it’s available. Thank you for listening, and see you in two weeks!