Sunday, October 05, 2008

Anatomy of a speech

Missouri Reading Association is a warm, inviting event. Michael and I are on the docket to do the kick off keynote. Tick Tick the Clock. Teachers filing into the ballroom. And I race to make one more change. Michael (owner of the watch) says to let it go, but I know that in the face of the hotel coffee that can't stand up for itself and the unfortunate ballroom carpet that if I don't make this last change, all will be lost. It is a matter of extreme urgency that I adjust the program with 7 minutes to show time. I have to. I must. Or else.

Or else what?

OR ELSE! You know. The world as we know it will end, the stock market will crash, and a you betcha chick with a come hither wink will be nominated for Vice President.

Oh, wait a minute. I made the change, we began on time and all those things happened anyway.

Oh well. You never know.

The coolest thing about this event was really the next morning when Smokey Daniels had all the teachers write down their ideas on what we should do to improve education and then divided the letters into two piles and then into two envelops to be mailed to the Obama and McCain campains. You never saw a ballroom of teachers scribble faster and with more intensity in your life. Any other time I might have thought that it was simply the astigmatic anxiety oozing up from the carpet that had them wound up, but there was no doubting the genuine passion of the teachers as they put their ideas down on paper.


michael salinger said...

I like Tom Waits' line about watery coffee best.

"The coffee was so weak it couldn't defend itself."

Anonymous said...

You both inspire me as an educator...and I love Tom Waits.