“Let me begin with my real name,” the Blue Man said. “I was 1)christened Joseph Corvelzchik, the son of a 2)tailor in a small 3)Polish village. We came to America in 1894. I was only a boy. My mother held me over the 4)railing of the ship and this became my earliest childhood memory, my mother swinging me in the breezes of a new world.
“Like most immigrants, we had no money. We slept on a mattress in my uncle’s kitchen. My father was forced to take a job in a 5)sweatshop, sewing buttons on coats. When I was ten, he took me from school and I joined him.”
Eddie watched the Blue Man’s 6)pitted face, his thin lips, his 7)sagging chest. Why is he telling me this? Eddie thought.
“I was a nervous child by nature. Once, I stumbled and dropped a sack of buttons, which spilled over the floor. The 8)foreman screamed that I was worthless, a worthless child, that I must go. I can still see that moment, my father pleading with him like a street beggar, the foreman 9)sneering, wiping his nose with the back of his hand. I felt my stomach twist in pain. Then I felt something wet on my leg. I looked down. The foreman pointed at my soiled pants and laughed, and the other workers laughed, too.
“After that, my father refused to speak to me. He felt I had shamed him, and I suppose, in his world, I had. But fathers can ruin their sons, and I was, in a fashion, ruined after that. I was a nervous child, and when I grew, I was a nervous young man. Worst of all, at night, I still wet the bed. In the mornings I would sneak the soiled sheets to the washbasin and soak them. One morning, I looked up to see my father. He saw the dirty sheets, then 10)glared at me with eyes that I will never forget, as if he wished he could snap the cord of life between us.”
The Blue Man paused. His skin, which seemed to be soaked in blue 11)fluid, folded in small 12)fatty layers around his belt. Eddie couldn’t help staring.
“I was not always a freak, Edward,” he said. “But back then, medicine was rather primitive. I went to a chemist, seeking something for my nerves. He gave me a bottle of 13)silver nitrate and told me to mix it with water and take it every night. Silver nitrate. It was later considered poison. But it was all I had, and when it failed to work, I could only assume I was not 14)ingesting enough. So I took more. I swallowed two gulps and sometimes three, with no water.
“Soon, people were looking at me strangely. My skin was turning the color of ash. ”
“I was ashamed and 15)agitated. I swallowed even more silver nitrate, until my skin went from gray to blue, a side effect of the poison.”
The Blue Man paused. His voice dropped. “The factory dismissed me. The foreman said I scared the other workers. Without work, how would I eat? Where would I live?
“I found a 16)saloon, a dark place where I could hide beneath a hat and coat. One night, a group of 17)carnival men were in the back. They smoked cigars. They laughed. One of them, a rather small fellow with a wooden leg, kept looking at me. Finally, he approached.
“By the end of the night, I had agreed to join their carnival. And my life as a commodity had begun.”
Eddie noticed the 18)resigned look on the Blue Man’s face. He had often wondered where the 19)sideshow cast came from. He assumed there was a sad story behind every one of them.
“One winter, I came to this pier. Ruby Pier. They were starting a sideshow called The Curious Citizens. I liked the idea of being in one place, escaping the bumpy horse carts of carnival life.
“This became my home. I lived in a room above a sausage shop. I played cards at night with the other sideshow workers, with the 20)tinsmiths, sometimes even with your father. In the early mornings, if I wore long shirts and draped my head in a towel, I could walk along this beach without scaring people. It may not sound like much, but for me, it was a freedom I had rarely known.”
He stopped. He looked at Eddie.
“Do you understand? Why we’re here? This is not your heaven. It’s mine.”
Take one story, viewed from two different angles.
Take a rainy Sunday morning in July, in the late 1920s, when Eddie and his friends are tossing a baseball. Take a moment when that ball flies over Eddie’s head and out into the street. Eddie, wearing 21)tawny pants and a wool cap, chases after it, and runs in front of an automobile, a Ford Model A. The car 22)screeches, 23)veers, and just misses him. He shivers, exhales, gets the ball, and races back to his friends.
Now take that same story from a different angle. A man is behind the wheel of a Ford Model A, which he has borrowed from a friend to practice his driving. The road is wet from the morning rain. Suddenly, a baseball bounces across the street, and a boy comes racing after it. The driver 24)slams on the brakes and 25)yanks the wheel. The car skids, the tires screech.
The man somehow regains control, and the Model A rolls on. The child has disappeared in the rearview mirror, but the man’s body is still affected, thinking of how close he came to tragedy. The jolt of 26)adrenalin has forced his heart to pump furiously and this heart is not a strong one and the pumping leaves him drained. The man feels 27)dizzy and his head drops 28)momentarily. His automobile nearly collides with another. The second driver honks, the man veers again, spinning the wheel, pushing on the 29)brake pedal. He skids along an avenue then turns down an alley. His vehicle rolls until it collides with the rear of a parked truck. There is a small crashing noise. The headlights 30)shatter. The impact smacks the man into the steering wheel. His forehead bleeds. He steps from the Model A, sees the damage, then collapses onto the wet pavement. His arm throbs. His chest hurts. It is Sunday morning. The alley is empty. He remains there, unnoticed, slumped against the side of the car. The blood from his 31)coronary arteries no longer flows to his heart. An hour passes. A policeman finds him. A medical examiner pronounces him dead. The cause of death is listed as “heart attack.” There are no known relatives.
In a city 32)morgue, one worker calls another worker over to marvel at the blue skin of the newest arrival.
“You see?” the Blue Man whispered, having finished the story from his point of view. “Little boy?”
Eddie felt a shiver.
“Oh no,” he whispered.
“Please Mister . . .” Eddie pleaded. “I didn’t know. Believe me . . . God help me, I didn’t know.”
The Blue Man nodded. “You couldn’t know. You were too young.”
Eddie stepped back. He squared his body as if 33)bracing for a fight.
“But now I gotta pay,” he said.
“For my sin. That’s why I’m here, right? Justice?”
The Blue Man smiled. “No, Edward. You are here so I can teach you something. All the people you meet here have one thing to teach you.”
Eddie was skeptical. His fists stayed clenched.
“What?” he said.
“That there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind.”
1) christen [5krisn] v. 在洗礼中命名
2) tailor [5teilE] n. 裁缝
3) Polish [5pEuliF] adj. 波兰(Poland)的
4) railing [5reiliN] n. 栏杆, 扶手
5) sweatshop [5swetFCp] n. 血汗工厂
6) pitted [5pitid] adj. 有凹痕的
7) sagging [5sA^iN] adj. 下垂的
8) foreman [5fC:mEn] n. 工头
9) sneer [sniE] v. 冷笑
10) glare [^lZE] v. 怒目而视
11) fluid [5fluid] n. 流体
12) fatty [5fAti] adj. 脂肪的
13) silver nitrate [化]硝酸银
14) ingest [in5dVest] v. 吸收
15) agitated [5AdViteitid] adj. 焦虑不安的
16) saloon [sE5lu:n] n. 酒吧间
17) carnival [5kB:nivEl] n. (巡回演出的)游艺团
18) resigned [ri5zaind] adj. 屈从的
19) sideshow [5saidFEu] n. 杂耍
20) tinsmith [5tin7smiP] n. 白铁匠
21) tawny [5tC:ni] adj. 黄褐色的
22) screech [skri:tF] v. 发出尖锐的声音
23) veer [viE] v. 转向
24) slam [slAm] v. 猛力踩
25) yank [jANk] v. 猛拉
26) adrenalin [E5drenElin] n. 肾上腺素
27) dizzy [5dizi] adj. 晕眩的
28) momentarily [5mEumEntErili] adv. 即刻
29) brake pedal n. 刹车踏板
30) shatter [5FAtE] v. 粉碎
31) coronary artery [5kCrEnEri5B:tEri] n. 冠状动脉
32) morgue [mC:^] n. 太平间
33) brace [breis] v. 振奋
米奇·阿尔博姆（Mitch Albom），美国著名作家、电台主持、电视评论员，他的经典作品《相约星期二》（Tuesdays with Morrie）和《你在天堂里遇见的五个人》曾高踞美国畅销书排行榜榜首。《相约星期二》的中译本已经在中国畅销了6年，发行了40万册，而2003年面世的《你在天堂里遇见的五个人》迄今已在全球热销400万册，被译成多国文字，占据美国畅销书排行榜前五位超过40周。与《相约星期二》一样，《你在天堂里遇见的五个人》也是都市人的心灵良药，让读者换一种全新的视角思索人生的价值。
本文特色之一是从两个角度描述同一件事。作者先用“Take one story, viewed from two different angles”这句话来开启下文，提醒读者以下故事将以不同的两种方式叙述。紧接着的两段开头分别用了“Take a rainy...”和“Now take that same story ...”这两句话承上启下，连接以不同角度描述的片断。试试把这种写作手法运用到作文中吧！
accelerator (pedal) 油门（踏板）
brake (pedal) 刹车（踏板）
rearview mirror 后视镜
seat belt 安全带
steering wheel 方向盘