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|English to English translations [Non-PRO]|
Art/Literary - General / Conversation / Greetings / Letters / trade in used cars - in a Ph. Dick's novel written in 1950s-1960s
|English term or phrase: dish|
|Luke trades big. Summer is here and Luke is mighty ready to make a deal with you, mighty ready, at three big lots, all of them busting with cars-cars-cars. What d'you think your old car's worth? Maybe it's worth more than you think on a brandnew Plymouth or Chevrolet fourdoor sedan or a Ford custom deluxe Ranch Wagon. Luke is trading big these days, buying big and selling big. Luke thinks big. Luke is big!|
Before Luke came, this wasn't much of a town. Now it's a really big car town. Now everybody drives a brandnew DeSoto with power windows, power seat. Come see Luke. Luke was born in Oklahoma before he moved out here to great old sunny California. Luke moved out here in 1946. Listen to that sound truck that's going up and down the streets. Listen to it go; it goes all the time. It pulls that big red signboard along, and all the time it's playing the "Too Fat Polka" and saying "Regardless of the make or condition of your old car.. ." Hear that? It don't matter what kind of old heap you got. Luke'll give you two hundred dollars for it if you can drag walk tow push it into the lot.
This is Automobile Row; this is the street of cars, Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. Windows on all sides, all along and up and down, glass with words written in red-and-white poster paint; banners are pasted up high, and flags flutter, and over some lots are wads of colored aluminum strung on wire. And there are balloons and, in the evening, lights. At night the chains go up, the cars are locked, but lights come on, fine spotlights, fine big beams of color frying the bugs. And Luke has his clowns, his painted lady and gent clowns; they stand on top of the building and wave their arms. Luke has his microphones, and the salesmen call to people. Free quart of oil! Free ***dish***! Free candy and cap gun for the kids. The steel guitar sings, and how Luke likes that. It sings like home.
|English translation:cookware / tableware|
Back in those days, petrol stations often used to give away 'free' gifts to persuade you to buy your fuel from them rather than the one next door. Esso in the UK had a long-running campaign giving away glasses (I still have a cupboard full of the darned things!)
It's a bit like Green Shield Stamps (remember those?) —— but I think here, the idea is more purely symbolic: this guy is so desperate to sell cars, he'll go to any lengths, including giving away free gifts (that are quite unrelated to automobiles, but might please the missus!) — a tactic used more by petrol stations selling a low-value, high-voolume product than by car dealers.
All part of the image the author is skillfully building up.
Note added at 33 mins (2010-12-27 22:14:52 GMT)
You see how the author is building it up:
1) Free quart of oil (relates to the car, though of course, it might be argued that a decent car wouldn't be expecetd to need the oil anyway!)
2) Free dish (for the little woman back home): "Honey, I've just blown a month's pay on a second-hand Cadillac — but hey, look, I got you this free Pyrex dish with it!"
3) And even free gifts for the kids — so they'll clamour for Dad to buy the rusty old heap, just to get their worthless gifts!
Cynic, moi ?!
Selected response from:
Local time: 15:31
|It was difficult to choose the answer. Thanks to everybody. Though, I think "dish hubcap" is possible here, too.|
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer
|Summary of reference entries provided|
|The text|13 mins confidence: peer agreement (net): +5