Originally published September 9, 2019
Thinking on the fly
When I first started writing I never dreamed I would have to talk in front of people. Well, that isn’t exactly true, I figured my book would go straight to the NY Times best selling list and I would be eloquent and savvy, and I could fly on my private jet, and people would come to hear my witty ….
“I was born to speak in front of people.” This is what I tell myself as I prepare my speeches before any and every public appearance. But I believe I suck at it. Then once I get up in front of everyone and throw out a terrible joke I spent hours hacking together for the event, it all unfolds before me and becomes memorable.
I remember in college, as a liberal arts college student, I had to take a public speaking class. Why? I had no idea. My father told me that liberal arts make you a well-rounded individual. Take Spanish class, please. I had a great Spanish teacher who graded us on our own progress because he knew we were only taking language to fulfill the required course load.
Public Speaking, on the other hand, may sound like an asinine way to waste forty-five minutes every week to a college kid, but twenty years later, I began to see the reasoning behind it. The same applies to typing classes in junior high. The course wasn’t hard, I just made it that way. I remember the first time I had to speak in front of the class, I was so not nervous – scared stiff that I drank almost an entire bottle of gin. Somehow I made it to the class and through the speech. I must have made quite an impression because I got a B for the job. Turns out, the teacher felt the same about her class as my Spanish teacher did. Or she felt sorry for me.
Now, instead of getting drunk, I write lousy jokes to “engage the audience”. Not everyone makes it out of my mouth. Like Ole Honest Abe, sometimes I just leave it out.