What's your racket this time?

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epistolario

Senior Member
Tagalog
I normally associate odd jobs (esp. unstable or part-time jobs) with the word racket. Good examples include online selling or working at fast-food restaurants.

- What's your racket, Joe?​
- I'm distributing fliers of a newly opened shop.​

I don't know if you can also apply racket to activities in humorous contexts. Let's say John is connected to Jane on social media and he is aware of her activities. She applies for a six-month Italian language course to Italy. Then, she works in France as an English teacher for a while. She returns to the U.S. to work as an employee for more than a year. She resigns and volunteers in Peru for three months to practice the Spanish that she learned in high school. Then, she has been convinced that Chinese is the language of the future, so she returns to the U.S. to enroll in a Mandarin School. John bumps into her at a local shopping mall, and he wants to tease her.

So what's your racket this time, Jane? ;)

Does it sound natural to use racket in this question (intended as a joke)?
 
  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    No, it's not commonly used like that in everyday conversation in 2020. It does suggest something shady, if not illegal, but even when it's neither of those it's not something used to describe normal activities.

    I also wouldn't call working in a fast food restaurant "a racket". A racket suggests you're taking advantage of someone. Working in a restaurant of any kind is a legitimate job.

    I might call selling weight-loss products that don't seem to be very effective a racket, even if there is nothing illegal about it.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Conceivably it could be said as a joke, but in my opinion it would be a very poor one and would sound like you watch too many old gangster movies, see.*

    * How To Talk Like A 20s Gangster (search for "see")

    I might say, "So what are you into now, Jane?"
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    True, it could depend on the situation.

    To a friend you haven't seen in a long time: What's going on in you life?

    To someone you don't like and don't trust:
    What sneaky scheme are you working on now?
     
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