The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘Introduction’

Student of the Toast

Recently I joined Toastmasters … If you knew me (and if you’re reading this you likely do), you’ll know that’s not an expected move. I don’t particularly like public speaking unless I do well. Toastmasters, hopefully, will increase the odds of me doing well. Thus, the reason I signed up!

(Nah, the real reason? I am new to an area and this is always when I’m my most social and outgoing. What better way to meet people than to stand in front of them and say um a lot?)

The first speech you give in Toastmasters is an “ice breaker.” The objective is just to stand up in front of a group of people and talk, and the secondary objective is to see where you stand as far as public speaking goes. I was told that I need to vary my pace and add pauses. Apparently I speak like one of those ‘text to talk’ computer programs?

Because I am a lazy blogger I will most likely be posting my speeches … why go to all that effort and then just share with one audience?

Anywho. Here I is, folks, this is I.


Ladies and gentlemen, my name is DumbFunnery, and today I will be talking to you about … myself.

When I thought about the icebreaker speech I wondered what would make the most sense – a bunch of facts summarizing my life?, some of my favorite short stories about my friends and me?, there are a lot of ways you can introduce yourself to a group of people.

In the end I decided to describe myself by telling you what I would consider to be an amazing weekend. I now transport you to the magical place of Saturday morning, 6:30 am, in the land of ideal DumbFunnery.

I’m up and dressed for a jog, eating a banana that is at the perfect ripeness. A perfectly ripe banana is a wonderful thing. I’m also sipping water and doing a bit of stretching – today is an easy day. I am capable of jogging let’s say 16 miles, but today I’m only doing 10. I head out the door, turn on my phone to a new CD that is some funky, poppy goodness, and I’m going. Today’s jog is fantastic – it’s one of those ones where I’m in a groove, my pace is awesome and I feel like I could just go and go.

When I get back home I have my favorite granola cereal, which is difficult since it’s this one that a local grocery chain in Texas makes, but my in-laws are kind people and they have recently visited and brought a few boxes to feed my addition. I have my cereal with some blueberries in it, watching the local news and laughing at how corny they can be.

After breakfast I bathe and sit down to write for a little bit. Normally at work I focus more on the logical side of my brain, writing allows me to be weird and nonsensical, which is fun. Today the words are flowing out of me and before I know it I have something that is actually pretty good! All right! It’s weird, I think it’s funny, and it flows well. Not too shabby.

Following that my wife and I have lunch and scheme on our afternoon – finishing up a house project. We have a house and are slowly learning how to do this and that, and today we have the last piece of a project that is great, and grand and … most importantly, within our limited reach.

Many high-fives, and of course Facebook posts later and we are heading out or hosting friends for dinner and a board game or two. We have a good night talking, playing games, and soon enough we’ve been laughing and smiling so much that our mouths hurt.

Then it’s bedtime and suddenly it’s Sunday. Because this is an ideal weekend we are our good, ambitious selves, and we have signed up for a volunteer project. If it’s my choice it’s something manual or working with kids, if it’s my wife’s choice it might be a food bank. Or maybe we’re handing out water at a run, cheering folks on, and also jealous that we’re not taking part (or, depending on the run, happy we aren’t taking part).

Realistically, at this point or some point we would have had to go run some typical errands that are magical time warps. You enter a grocery store with two items on the list and you leave forty-five minutes later with twenty things. How does this happen? But don’t worry, we’re in an ideal land.

Instead of running errands we head straight home and enjoy coffee and the news. Or coffee and a book. Or coffee and sitting around talking. Whatever it is, we’re sipping coffee and relaxing.

At the time I’m toward the end of a book that I have been enjoying so much I can’t put it down, but at the same time I don’t want to finish it. It’s either hysterical, or gripping, or it’s making me think thoughts I hadn’t thought to think before.

I finish the book and sit back and breathe out a deep sigh. I read one time that after you read something you shouldn’t immediately jump to doing something else – especially if you are trying to learn what you just read, or if it’s a complicated matter you need to let your brain digest for a while.

I think a lot of weekends suffer from time travel, and this one is no exception. It’s dinner time suddenly and while getting dinner ready I think back on the afternoon and wonder what I did that lead to this day being so close to over.

Dinner is something simple and delicious, but the most exciting thing is the ice cream after dinner. A big bowl of ice cream is a long time friend of mine, and we have spent many nights together. And to go with that ice cream is a quirky, oddball movie that is sweet.

There you have it. Me in the form of an ideal weekend – there’s jogging, writing, reading, helping people, adding to our house, being with friends, and also a good chunk of non-activity. I think, with love as the theme of the week, this whole weekend represents doing things that I love.

Thank you.

Don’t Mess Up

This week I had a fancy work event which I was very nervous about. Generally at work I never do any public speaking. I will sometimes speak to a group of about 20, if it’s at a meeting for my manager … But that’s a casual atmosphere where I know everyone. And I am not doing any actual presentation.

On Tuesday morning I had to introduce my boss’s boss’s boss (I think it sounds more fun to say it that way than with titles). I was pretty nervous about this. I practiced the very brief (30 seconds or so) introduction to the point of memorizing the speech.

There are a few ways that seemed like ways I could mess up introducing Miss Boss’s Boss’s Boss:

  • In the middle of the introduction, revert to what I would often do while practicing, which was to say “blaaaaaaah!! I don’t wanna DO THISSSSSS!!!”
  • Accidentally imply she’s a cyborg
  • Wonder aloud how the audience thinks I’m doing
  • Picture the audience in their underwear (I’m not saying there weren’t good looking people there, but overall that would be a bad move for my vision)
  • Set an oscillating fan beside me, and mimic the fan’s behavior while speaking (you know, look to the left part of the room for a few seconds, gradually shift my gaze and look in the middle a few seconds, you get the gist) … Then at the conclusion of my introduction I would say, “Yes, it’s clear (so and so) is an impressive woman. I guess you could say I’m her biggest … fan.”

Thankfully I didn’t do any of those things. My boss’s boss told me I looked far too serious (which makes sense, I was nervous). I plan to ask him how I did overall … I have a feeling that’ll lead to a lot more jokes, but it’ll be good.

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