I posted here a few weeks ago about my upcoming speech to the assembled high school students and parents for the Teen Night Celebration at WAM for Youth Art Month-- which took place on way back on the 15th of the month and went reasonably well.
My assistant was in the audience and she said it was a great speech, but c'mon- she's my assistant-- what is she going to say-- It Sucked?
The behind the scenes info on it is that the speech came right in the middle of possibly the worst sinus infection I've ever had in my life-- and I've had some doozies over the years. This one was like a white hot poker shoved into the side of your head which LAUGHED at both the ADVIL and the SUDAFED I was throwing at it. I even resorted to the dreaded Saline Nasal Spray but that was little use.
I had two distinct conditions for the past four weeks-- either in nauseating pain or dizzy and light headed-- neither of which is what I would call ideal for making a speech to an assembly of 200 people where you are supposed to inspire confidence in this wacky career of art.
I make a lot of speeches, give literally hundreds of lectures so speaking in public is far from a new thing for me and my biggest rule of successfully pulling it off is DO NOT use a script-- no teleprompter for me, know your subject and you don't need to read from a script.
Except for two little issues this time-- 1. My head swimming in a thick soup of nonsense and 2. the fact that they asked me to speak for a specified amount of time i.e 9 minutes since the Sheriff of Worcester County would be following me.
So I decided I would write a loose script to measure time and then reduce it down to bullet points-- I do believe in the benefits of bullet points when speaking. Unfortunately, once again I'm going to blame the Sinusitis-- I lost track of time and never got a chance to reduce the script to bullet points and figured what the hell, I'll just use the script.
Not wanting to bail at the last second-- and even though I had Veronica standing by in case it was so bad I couldn't stand at the podium, I gave it a go and popped an extra Sudafed in an effort to dry out my sinuses long enough to get through a nine minute speech.
It went well for the first 3-4 minutes. I managed to get a couple of laughs, and even felt like I was connecting with my audience. Then my head decided to remind me that things in there were far from okay and my vision got so blurry I had to remove my glasses and without my glasses I could no longer read the script and lost my place. Either nerves or hopefully Sudafed kicked in strong and my mouth got so dry I could barely form a sentence-- the audience seemed to not notice but in my head it wrapped up like this;
"Remember, no matter what anyone tells you-- follow your dreams and believe in yourself. And most importantly--
Thank you !"
Wave and walk away.
Now let me reiterate this is the Katrina of Sinus infections. This ain't a head cold. Walking a straight line and not crashing head first onto one of the assembled families was a chore in an of itself.
But I managed to walk out and get right into a class I had to teach with about 30 seconds to spare.
I'm not sure I made any sense in that class, but I made it through that one as well.
NEXT: I decide to go to the doctor.