April 23, 2014 Leave a comment
According to the agenda, the Jokemaster “Provides a light-hearted story or joke to kick off the meeting.”
Here’s the composed version of what I memorized, altered, and delivered a bit more spontaneously:
Mr. Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters, esteemed guests:
I spoke last week about what a reclusive homebody I’ve become, about working from home and spending all my time on the Internet. But it didn’t used to be that way. Before Benjamin was born, Nathalie and I traveled the world.
For our honeymoon, we hiked in the Highlands of Scotland. We play bocci with the old men of Paris in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower (only in France they don’t call it bocci: they call it pétanque). We walked, hand in hand, on the raised platforms of the Palazzo San Marco over the floodwaters of Venice. We even crossed the Adriatic and traveled inland to visit the tiny autocratic puppet state of Syldavia — where, I’m sorry to say, we quickly ran afoul of the law.
I won’t go into details. I’ll just say that it’s all too easy to break the law in a totalitarian regime. We were arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced all in one day. The sentence was death. The tribunal of judges asked if we had any last requests.
Well, when I was a younger man, I wasn’t as shy as I am now. So I requested, no I demanded to address my captors, my judges, my executioners, to speak about the glories of the tradition of freedom and the evil of their police state; to show them how their own interests, not to mention those of their oppressed subjects, would best be served by the light of liberty —
Nathalie cut in: "I have a last request too," she said. "Please shoot me before he gives this speech."