Today’s expression is a quick one—to show your true colors. To show your true colors is to act as you truly, authentically are. When you show your true colors, you reveal your character.
On today’s lesson, we talked about pig butchering scams . The fraudsters behind the pig butchering scams are running a confidence scam. They don’t sound like scammers at first. They don’t even ask for money. What kind of a scammer doesn’t ask for money? These guys—their true character is as scammers. But they don’t act that way at first. They act like they’re being good friends. They don’t ask for money. They manipulate their victims so the victims ask to send them money.
But eventually, the victims want their money back. And that’s when the scammers show their true colors. That’s when the scammers reveal their true character. Now, they’re not friends anymore. Now, they’re asking for more and more money, putting more and more pressure on their targets. Now, they’re getting brazen—now they’re fattening the pig. Now they’re scammers for real—they show their true colors. They show what they truly are.
I mentioned in a previous lesson that I’m re-watching “Better Call Saul,” a TV series that’s a prequel to “Breaking Bad.” Over and over in the series, Jimmy, a lawyer, shows his true colors. Over and over, he tries to play it straight—to follow the rules, to get the professional job, to do things right. But Jimmy has a certain—what should we say?—a certain moral flexibility.
He’s not one to do things by the book, but he also wants to be accepted by Kim, his lawyer girlfriend. Every time Jimmy pretends to be one thing, his true colors eventually show. He goes into law practice by himself, trying to build a good reputation. But in doing so, he mocks his old employer by copying their logo and putting it on a billboard. He gets a job at a prestigious law firm, but then he acquires clients unethically. His true colors—his authentic character—eventually shows.
It doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. Sometimes average people without any history of standing out are put in a situation where they have to act heroically. Did you see the movie, “Sully”? It came out in 2016, was directed by Clint Eastwood. Tom Hanks plays a pilot named “Sully” Sullenberger. He was a commercial airline pilot. Commercial airline pilots have a tough job—but you hope they never have to use their skills. You, as a passenger, hope everything goes smoothly.
Well it didn’t one day in 2009. US Airlines flight 1549 took off from New York City, heading for Charlotte, North Carolina. But birds flew into both engines and disabled both engines shortly after the flight took off. The pilot of the flight—Sully—showed his true colors that day. He showed his true character as a pilot who takes safety seriously; he was well-trained and ready for an emergency. He landed the plane in the Hudson River and all 155 people survived. Tom Hanks plays “Sully” in the movie; it’s on Netflix.
JR’s song of the week
I was going to sneak ahead of JR this week and pick a song called “True Colors”—there are a bunch of them. But I just checked Airtable, where we track all our Plain English information, and guess what…JR has already picked a song of the week. I wrote this one early, so I thought I’d get ahead of him, but he already picked one.
“Glimpse of Us” by Joji is the song of the week. Joji is a Japanese singer and this song was the first time an Asian singer reached Spotify’s global list of most played songs. It was number one on Spotify for ten days. This song has just Joji’s vocals and piano. A glimpse is like when you see something briefly.
“Glimpse of Us” by Joji is the song of the week. Thanks, JR.
See you next time!
That’s all for today’s Plain English, lesson number 525. To get the full lesson, including the step-by-step walkthrough video, the transcript, translations, and exercises, visit PlainEnglish.com/525.
We’ll be back on Monday with a new topic. See you then!