Catching Up at a Reunion

English Idioms in Context

Women greeting one another
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Here is a dialogue with two friends who meet at their 20th high school reunion. Try reading the dialogue one time to understand the gist without using the idiom definitions. On your second reading, use the definitions to help you understand the text while learning new idioms.

Catching Up at a Reunion

Doug and Alan are old friends. In fact, they went to high school together twenty years ago. It's been a long time since they've seen each other. Today's their high school reunion — their twentieth! They meet each other and catch up on what they've been doing these past twenty years.

Doug: ALAN!!!! It's so good to see you again! How long has it been? Twenty years!
Alan: Long time no see, buddy. I'm so glad I came to the reunion. I had the feeling you would be here.

Doug: I wouldn't miss it for the world. Wow, you're dressed to kill. 
Alan: It's not every day that we have our twentieth reunion. 

Doug: You've got a point there. Why don't we have a seat and catch up? I'm sure you've got plenty of stories.
Alan: I'm sure you do, too. Let's booze it up a little and exchange stories.

Doug: Still drinking, huh? 
Alan: What's that's supposed to mean?

Doug: I'm just yanking your chain. Of course, we're going to drink to celebrate. In fact, I play on having both sheets in the wind by the end of the evening.
Alan: That's my buddy. What are you drinking?

Doug: Whisky sour, you?
Alan: I'm just working on a beer.

Doug: So what do you do to bring home the bacon?
Alan:  Oh, that's a long story. It's not been so easy, but we're getting by.

Doug: Really? I'm sorry to hear that.
Alan: Yeah, well, I, unfortunately, flunked out of college, so I had to take what I could get.

Doug: I'm sorry to hear that. What happened? 
Alan: I just didn't think it was worth the time, so I let my studies slide. Now, I really regret it.

Doug: But you look pretty good! I'm sure you're doing OK.
Alan: Well, I had to find a new goal. I got into sales, and have done quite well.

Doug: I'm glad to hear everything has worked out for the best.
Alan: It hasn't been the best case scenario, but not the worst case scenario either.

Doug: It's funny how things go.
Alan: Yes, sometimes it's best to face the music and make the best of it. 

Doug: Yes.
Alan: So, enough about me. What about you? Are you among the movers and shakers?

Doug: Well, I have to admit, I've done well. 
Alan: I'm not surprised. You always had a good head for figures. You went into business, right?

Doug: Yes, it was that obvious, wasn't it?
Alan: You were kind of a nerd.

Doug: Hey, I was not. I was also good in tennis.
Alan: I know. I'm just pushing your buttons. You were always worried about being called a nerd.

Doug: It's been great seeing you again.
Alan: You, too Doug. I wish you all the best. 

Idioms Used in the Dialogue

  • have a whale of a time = to enjoy yourself, have a good time
  • catch up = to see an old friend and discuss life
  • both sheets in the wind = very drunk
  • just what the doctor ordered = exactly what someone needs to do
  • dressed to kill = wearing very nice clothing
  • booze it up = to drink a lot of alcohol 
  • yank someone's chain = to joke around with someone, kid someone
  • push someone's buttons = to talk about something that you know upsets someone
  • movers and shakers = successful people, the elite
  • bring home the bacon = to make money for the family
  • flunk out = to fail classes and have to leave school or college
  • long time no see = we haven't seen each other in a long time!
  • best case scenario = the best possible outcome for a situation
  • worst case scenario = the worst possible outcome for a situation
  • face the music = to accept responsibility for something
  • have a good head for figures = to be good at business

It's important to learn and use idioms in context. Of course, idioms are not always easy to understand. There are idiom and expression resources that can help with definitions, but reading them in short stories can also provide context that make them come more alive.