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全新版大学英语综合教程第三册UNIT7_002

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7.Life of a Salesman

Tom Hallman Jr.

1 The alarm rings. It's 5:45. He could linger under the covers, listening to the radio and a weatherman who predicts rain. People would understand. He knows that.

一个推销员的生活小汤姆

• 霍尔曼

闹钟响了。是清晨5:45。他可以在被子里再躺一会儿,听听无线电广播。天气预报员预报有雨。人们会理解的。这点他清楚。

2 A surgeon's scar cuts across his lower back. The fingers on his right hand are so twisted that he can't tie his shoes. Some days, he feels like surrendering. But his dead mother's challenge echoes in his soul. So, too, do the voices of those who believed him stupid, incapable of living independently. All his life he's struggled to prove them wrong. He will not quit. 3 And so Bill Porter rises.

他的下背有一道手术疤痕。他右手的手指严重扭曲,连鞋带都没法系。有时,他真想放弃不干了。可在他内心深处,一直回响着已故老母的激励, 还有那些说他蠢,说他不能独立生活的人的声音。他一生都在拚命去证明他们错了。他决不能放弃不干。

4 He takes the first unsteady steps on a journey to Portland's streets, the battlefield where he fights alone for his independence and dignity. He's a door-to-door salesman. Sixty-three years old. And his enemies -- a crippled body that betrays him and a changing world that no longer needs him -- are gaining on him.

他摇摇晃晃迈出了去波特兰大街的头几步,波特兰大街是他为独立与尊严而孤身搏杀的战场。他是个挨家挨户上门推销的推销员,今年63岁。他的敌人――辜负他的残疾的身体和一个不再需要他的变化着的世界――正一步一步把他逼向绝境。

5 With trembling hands he assembles his weapons: dark slacks, blue shirt and matching jacket, brown tie, tan raincoat and hat. Image, he believes, is everything.

他用颤抖的双手收拾行装:深色宽松裤,蓝衬衣和与之相配的茄克衫,褐色领带,土褐色雨衣和帽子。在他看来,形象就是一切。

6 He stops in the entryway, picks up his briefcase and steps outside. A fall wind has kicked up. The weatherman was right. He pulls his raincoat tighter.

7 He tilts his hat just so. 他在门口停了一下,提起公文包,走了出去。秋风骤起,冷飕飕的。天气预报员说得没错。他将雨衣裹裹紧。 他把帽子往一侧微微一斜。

* * *

8 On the 7:45 bus that stops across the street, he leaves his briefcase next to the driver and finds a seat in the middle of a pack of bored teenagers.

9 He leans forward, stares toward the driver, sits back, then repeats the process. His nervousness makes him laugh uncontrollably. The teenagers stare at him. They don't realize Porter's afraid someone will steal his briefcase, with the glasses, brochures, order forms and clip-on tie that he needs to survive.

在街对面停靠的7:45那班公共汽车上,他把公文包放在司机身旁,在一群没精打采的十几岁的孩子当中找了个位子坐下。

他身子往前一倾,盯着司机那儿望,然后靠着椅背坐下,接着他又反复这个过程。他心情紧张,控制不住自己而笑出声来。那些孩子望着他。他们不明白,波特是担心有人偷他的包,包里有他生存不可缺少的眼镜,宣传小册子,定单,以及可用别针别上的领带。

10 Porter senses the stares. He looks at the floor.

11 His face reveals nothing. In his heart, though, he knows he should have been like these kids, like everyone on this bus. He's not angry. But he knows. His mother explained how the delivery had been difficult, how the doctor had used an instrument that crushed a section of his brain and caused cerebral palsy, a disorder of the nervous system that affects his speech, hands and walk.

波特意识到了小孩子在盯着他看。他把目光转向车厢地板。

他脸上没有流露出任何神情。但在他心里,他知道自己本该和这些孩子一样,和车上其他所有人一样。他并不生气。但他心里明白。他母亲解释说生他时难产,医生使用了某种器械,损坏了他大脑的一部分,导致了大脑性麻痹,一种影响他说话,手部活动以及行走的神经系统的紊乱。

12 Porter came to Portland when he was 13 after his father, a salesman, was transferred here. He attended a school for the disabled and then Lincoln High School, where he was placed in a class for slow kids. 13 But he wasn't slow.

波特13岁那年随着当推销员的父亲工作调动来到波特兰。他上了一个残疾人学校,后来就读林肯高级中学,在那儿他被编入慢班。 但他并不笨。

14 His mind was trapped in a body that didn't work. Speaking was difficult and took time. People were impatient and didn't listen. He felt different -- was different -- from the kids who rushed about in the halls and planned dances he would never attend.

他由于身体不能正常运行而使脑子不能充分发挥其功能。他说话困难,而且慢。别人不耐烦,不听他说。他觉得自己不同于――事实上也确实不同于――那些在过道里东奔西跑的孩子,那些孩子安排的舞会他永远也不可能参加。

15 What could his future be? Porter wanted to do something and his mother was certain that he could rise above his limitations. With her encouragement, he applied for a job with the Fuller Brush Co. only to be turned down. He couldn't carry a product briefcase or walk a route, they said.

他将来会是个什么样子呢?波特想做些事,母亲也相信他能冲破身体的局限。在她的鼓励之下,他向福勒牙刷公司申请一份工作,结果却遭到拒绝。他不能提样品包,也不能跑一条推销线路,他们说。

16 Porter knew he wanted to be a salesman. He began reading help wanted ads in the newspaper. When he saw one for Watkins, a company that sold household products door-to-door, his mother set up a meeting with a representative. The man said no, but Porter wouldn't listen. He just wanted a chance. The man gave in and offered Porter a section of the city that no salesman wanted.

波特知道自己想当推销员。他开始阅读报纸上的招聘广告。他看到沃特金斯,一家上门推销家用物品的公司要人,他母亲就跟其代理人安排会面。那人说不行,可波特不予理会。他就是需要一个机会。那人让步了,把城里一个其他推销员都不要的区域派给了他。

17 It took Porter four false starts before he found the courage to ring the first doorbell. The man who answered told him to go away, a pattern repeated throughout the day.

波特一开始四次都没敢敲门,第五次才鼓起勇气按了第一户人家的门铃。开门的那人让他走开,这种情形持续了一整天。

18 That night Porter read through company literature and discovered the products were guaranteed. He would sell that pledge. He just needed people to listen.

19 If a customer turned him down, Porter kept coming back until they heard him. And he sold.

当晚,波特仔细阅读了公司的宣传资料,发现产品都是保用的。他要把保用作为卖点。只要别人肯听他说话就成。

要是客户回绝波特,拒绝倾听他的介绍,他就一再上门。就这样他将产品卖了出去。

20 For several years he was Watkins' top retail salesman. Now he is the only one of the company's 44,000 salespeople who sells door-to-door. 21 The bus stops in the Transit Mall, and Porter gets off.

他连着几年都是沃特金斯公司的最佳零售推销员。如今他是该公司44000名推销员中惟一一个上门推销的人。

公共汽车在公交中转购物中心站停下,波特下了车。

22 His body is not made for walking. Each step strains his joints. Headaches are constant visitors. His right arm is nearly useless. He can't fully control the limb. His body tilts at the waist; he seems to be heading into a strong, steady wind that keeps him off balance. At times, he looks like a toddler taking his first steps.

23 He walks 10 miles a day.

他的身体不适合行走。每走一步关节都疼。头疼也是习以为常的事。他的右臂几乎没用。他不能完全控制这只手臂。他的身体从腰部开始前倾,看上去就像是顶着一股强劲的吹个不停的风迈步向前,风似乎要把他刮倒。有时他看上去就像是个刚刚学步的孩童。

他每天要走10英里的路程。

24 His first stop today, like every day, is a shoeshine stand where employees tie his laces. Twice a week he pays for a shine. At a nearby hotel one of the doormen buttons Porter's top shirt button and slips on his clip-on tie. He then walks to another bus that drops him off a mile from his territory.

25 He left home nearly three hours ago.

像平日一样,他今天的第一站是个擦鞋摊,这里的雇员替他系好鞋带。他每周请他们擦两次鞋。附近一家旅馆的门卫替他扣上衬衣最上面一粒纽扣,戴上用别针别上的领带。随后他步行去搭乘另一部巴士,在距离他的推销区域一英里处下车。

他是差不多3个小时前从家里动身的。

* * *

26 The wind is cold and raindrops fall. Porter stops at the first house. This is the moment he's been preparing for since 5:45 a.m. He rings the bell. 27 A woman comes to the door.

风冷雨淋。波特在第一户人家门前停了下来。这是他从5:45分开始就为之准备的时刻。他按了门铃。

一位妇人开了门。

28 "Hello."

29 "No, thank you, I'm just preparing to leave."

30 Porter nods.

31 "May I come back later?" he asks.

32 "No," says the woman.

33 She shuts the door.

34 Porter's eyes reveal nothing.

35 He moves to the next house.

36 The door opens.

37 Then closes.

“你好。”

“不,多谢了。我这就要出门。”

波特点点头。

“那我过会儿来,可以吗?”他问。

“不用了,”那妇人回答道。

她关上了门。

波特眼里没有流露丝毫神情。

他转向下一个人家。

门开了。

随即又关上。

38 He doesn't get a chance to speak. Porter's expression never changes. He stops at every home in his territory. People might not buy now. Next time. Maybe. No doesn't mean never. Some of his best customers are people who repeatedly turned him down before buying.

他连开口说话的机会都没有。波特的表情从不改变。他敲开自己推销区内的每一个家门。人们现在可能不买什么。也许下一次会买。现在不买不等于永远不买。他的一些老客户都是那些多次把他拒之门外而后来才买的人。

39 He makes his way down the street.

40 "I don't want to try it."

41 "Maybe next time."

42 "I'm sorry. I'm on the phone right now."

43 "No."

他沿着街道往前走。

“我不想试用这个产品。”

“也许下次试一试。”

“对不起。我在打电话。”

“不要。”

44 Ninety minutes later, Porter still has not made a sale. But there is always another home.

45 He walks on.

46 He knocks on a door. A woman appears from the backyard where she's gardening. She often buys, but not today, she says, as she walks away.

47 "Are you sure?" Porter asks.

48 She pauses.

49 "Well..."

90分钟之后,波特仍没能卖出一件物品。不过,下面有的是人家。

他继续向前走。

他敲响一扇门。一位正在拾掇花园的妇女从后院走了出来。她常常买他的东西,不过今天不买,她说着走开了。

“你真的不买什么?”波特问。

她迟疑了一下。

“那么……”

50 That's all Porter needs. He walks as fast as he can, tailing her as she heads to the backyard. He sets his briefcase down and opens it. He puts on his glasses, removes his brochures and begins his sales talk, showing the woman pictures and describing each product.

波特要的就是这一迟疑。他尽可能快步上前,跟着她朝后院走去。他放下公文包,打了开来。他戴上眼镜,拿出产品介绍小册子,开始推销,给那位妇人看图片,详细介绍每一个产品。

51 Spices?

52 "No."

53 Jams?

54 "No. Maybe nothing today, Bill."

55 Porter's hearing is the one perfect thing his body does. Except when he gets a live one. Then the word "no" does not register.

调料?

“不要。”

果酱?

“不要。恐怕今天不要什么,比尔。”

波特的听觉是他身上惟一没有一点毛病的功能。只有当他察觉对方有可能买他东西的时候才会发生例外。这个时候,他是听不见“不”字的。

56 Pepper?

57 "No."

58 Laundry soap?

59 "Hmm."

60 Porter stops. He smells blood. He quickly remembers her last order.

61 "Say, aren't you about out of soap? That's what you bought last time. You ought to be out right about now."

62 "You're right, Bill. I'll take one."

胡椒粉?

“不要。”

洗衣皂?

“嗯。”

波特停了下来。他嗅到了猎物。他很快记起了她上次的订单。

“对了,你肥皂差不多用完了吧?你上次买的就是这个。现在该差不多用完了。”

“没错,比尔。我买一块。”

* * *

63 He arrives home, in a rainstorm, after 7 p.m. Today was not profitable. He tells himself not to worry. Four days left in the week.

64 At least he's off his feet and home.

65 Inside, an era is preserved. The telephone is a heavy, rotary model. There is no VCR, no cable.

66 His is the only house in the neighborhood with a television antenna on the roof.

晚上7点过后,他在暴风雨中回到了家。今天没赚钱。他跟自己说别着急。这个星期还有4天呢。

至少他回到了家,不用再站立了。

屋内,俨然是保存完好的一个旧时代。电话是笨重的拨盘式的那种。没有录像放映机,没有有线电视。

他家是附近惟一一家屋顶上支着电视接收天线的人家。

67 He leads a solitary life. Most of his human contact comes on the job. Now, he heats the oven and slips in a frozen dinner because it's easy to fix.

68 The job usually takes him 10 hours.

69 He's a weary man who knows his days -- no matter what his intentions -- are numbered.

70 He works on straight commission. He gets no paid holidays, vacations or raises. Yes, some months are lean.

他过着离群索居的生活。他跟别人的来往大都限于工作上。他打开了烤炉,放了一盒冷藏食品进去,因为这样做饭方便。

他的工作通常要花去他10个小时。

他身心疲惫,知道来日无多了――不管他愿不愿意。

他的收入完全依靠佣金。他没有带薪假期,没有度假,也没有加薪。的确,有些月份收入相当微薄。

71 In 1993, he needed back surgery to relieve pain caused from decades of walking. He was laid up for five months and couldn't work. He was forced to sell his house. The new owners, familiar with his situation, froze his rent and agreed to let him live there until he dies.

1993年,他需要作背部手术,以减轻数十年行走引起的疼痛。他卧床五个月,无法工作。他被迫出售房子。房子的新主人了解他的处境,冻结了他的房租,并答应让他在有生之年继续住在那里。

72 He doesn't feel sorry for himself.

73 The house is only a building. A place to live, nothing more.

74 His dinner is ready. He eats at the kitchen table and listens to the radio. The afternoon mail brought bills that he will deal with later this week. The checkbook is upstairs in the bedroom.

75 His checkbook.

他并不因此自悲自怜。

房子只不过是个建筑物。一个住的地方。仅此而已。

晚饭好了。他在厨房的桌子旁吃饭,边吃边听着收音机。下午的邮差送来了他的账单,这些账单他将在这个星期后几天支付。支票簿在楼上卧室里。

他的私人支票簿。

76 He types in the recipient's name and signs his name.

77 The signature is small and scrawled.

78 Unreadable.

79 But he knows.

80 Bill Porter.

81 Bill Porter, salesman.

他用打字机打上收款人的名字,随后签上名。

签名小小的,字迹潦草。

难以辨认。

可他认得出来。

比尔•波特。

推销员比尔•波特。

82 From his easy chair he hears the wind lash his house and the rain pound the street outside his home. He must dress warmly tomorrow. He's sleepy. With great care he climbs the stairs to his bedroom.

83 In time, the lights go off.

84 Morning will be here soon.

他坐在安乐椅上,只听得呼啸的大风猛烈地冲击着他的屋子,大雨击打着屋外的街面。明天他得穿得暖和些。他觉得睏了,他小心翼翼地爬上楼就寝。

没过一会儿,灯就灭了。

早晨很快就会来临。
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