Tonight, I witnessed 10 of the best speakers in Minnesota deliver their best speeches. Only one speaker would represent Minnesota in Washington DC at the International Speech Contest. Something I have noticed in my time in Toastmasters is that the speakers who get really deep into the International Speech Contest get there as a result of telling some face sopping, tear-jerker story which the audience finds so moving, that they declare the speech “inspirational.” I have too much of my father, and my father is too good a speaker, to follow the path towards face-wetting my way to the top. Not to shit on everyone’s story, but after listening to 10 speeches, I just need to flush and get a new roll of toilet paper.
The Rules (Self-Imposed)
The following is a composite story encompassing the cores of all 10 speeches delivered in order. The composite title will draw one word from each of the individual speech titles. My goal is not to exceed 3-5 paragraphs (ideally keep to 3 paragraphs) and to dwell on a speech for no more than 2 sentences. Prepare to be “inspired” –
What Leap of Fallen Words? Speak Failure Worth Unstuck Power (The Speech Story)
Mister Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters and Honored Guests –
In Japan, I once new an elderly businessman who was a war veteran from World War II. While travelling at 60 mph, he was hit head on by a drunk driver. This resulted in permanent brain damage. His final three words were, “You still should,” as he sang to his mother her favorite song while she was coming out of a coma.
Undaunted by my sexual molesters and suicide attempts, I sought to eradicate the word “fine” from my vocabulary in order to lead an honest life. As a United States Veteran, I know 22 veterans die a day in suicide and that fear, apathy and cynicism are the true problems in America: Syrian refugees, immigrants and driving through protesters, dragging them 50 feet behind a vehicle notwithstanding.
“Faith is taking the first step,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said as I emerged victorious in volleyball, earning me a scholarship to North Dakota University, which made me cry all the way to the airport as I left my native Jamaica.
“That horse was owned by Pat Delaney!” I screamed as I watched the horse dying helplessly in the freezing cold mud. The veterinarian had driven an hour to the scene, just to shake his head and leave. It made me want to play the violin like Davy Crockett at the Alamo. This made all the inmates in the prison cry.
I failed, but failure is not unique and failure does not define my success, as I learned in 4th grade. Listen, when my mother was in the cab with me to the airport, I regretted not paying attention because I got a call 3 weeks later telling me that she died.