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Toastmaster Speech

I did it! I was even voted the best speaker of the night, and I got a blue ribbon. But even better, the couple who runs the Toastmaster group are Christians, and we had an awesome conversation after the meeting ended. God is so good! Here's the speech:

I’ve been making a fool of myself ever since I can remember. But it wasn’t until recently that God started making some sense of my foolishness, and unveiling His plan for this fool to become His court jester and take the show on the road.

I started making a fool of myself early in life. When I was in the third grade, I was sitting at my desk one day, bored and restless, when I started wondering if perhaps my foot would fit into the cubby of my desk. Yeah, it fit! It fit a little too well; it was stuck! So I started rocking back and forth in an attempt to dislodge my foot, which caused my desk to fall backwards on the floor! There I was on my back, with my foot sticking straight up in the air, still wedged tightly in the desk. To make matters worse, I was wearing a skirt that day, so the whole class had a pretty good view of my underwear.

My mother always warned me to wear my nicest underwear in public in case I should meet with an unfortunate accident. I don’t remember what condition my underwear was in that day, but suffice it to say, wearing hand-me-downs from my four older sisters had put me in quite the awkward position.

And when I wasn’t falling on my face or setting my hair on fire, I was writing humorous stories. I’d been doing that since I was a kid - entertaining my friends and family with my anecdotes. After I had children of my own, the writing continued. When my son Aaron was in 5th grade, he asked for my help writing a story about his childhood. Before I knew what happened, I had written the whole thing!

Aaron’s teacher sent me a note a few days later. She thought that Aaron's story was hilarious. She had taken it home to read it, and she laughed so hard, her husband came running out of the shower to see what was the matter. She also said that she hadn't realized what a gifted writer Aaron was. She was going to move him into the advanced writing class. Oops!

The thing is, I’m much funnier on paper than in person. The only time I’m funny and uninhibited in person is when I use drugs. The first time I discovered happy drugs was when I had a tonsillectomy a few years ago. Once those drugs started working, I suddenly had the illusion that the operating room was my own private stand-up comedy stage. The doctor had to beg me to shut up so he could get some work done.

And then last year I fell at the beach and broke my ankle. How many people do you know who can injure themselves on sand? Those poor EMT’s never saw it coming. By time I was settled in for the ride to the hospital, and the drugs kicked in, I had hijacked the ambulance and subjected the crew to an afternoon at the Improv. One smart alec EMT remarked “I never knew breaking your ankle could be this much fun!”

And if that wasn’t enough, I fell two more times after the surgery! Those crutches are some complicated pendulums. The second fall took me on a trip down two flights of stairs, and landed me in the basement, right on my broken ankle. I started to cry. Loudly. But after a few minutes I realized, there’s no one here but me! Should I be sitting here wailing like a banshee when there’s no one to hear me? It’s kind of like when a tree falls.

So I ended up back at the hospital. The happy drugs took away the pain, and I was cracking jokes and having the time of my life. When the nurse wheeled me away to get x-rays, my husband sarcastically remarked "You better examine her head while you're at it."It all turned out okay. The hardware in my ankle was still intact. When we got home my husband chained me to the couch so I wouldn't kill myself.

Finally one day I said to God “Gee, making a fool of myself has been fun and all, but what is it that You created me for, other than a good laugh?” He soon let me know that He wanted me to bring joy and happiness to the world.

I knew then that God was calling me to write, so I started putting my thoughts on paper, and before I knew it, I had written a book. I submitted my manuscript to a publishing company. So far so good…

But then God started pushing again. I learned that most publishers won’t publish a book unless the author is also a speaker. “A speaker! Come on God,” I said, “You’re really going too far, now. You’re saying you want me to speak in front of, I don’t know, hundreds of people?” He said “Yep.” Did you ever notice that God often tells you to do something with absolutely no explanation for it? So annoying.

Here’s where Toastmasters comes in. I’ll be practicing my material on all of you. I’m confident that by time I have finished this program, I’ll be ready to launch my new life, speaking to large groups of people with an inspirational message and a twist of humor on the side.

I said to God “If I’m going to have to stand in front of hundreds of people and amaze them with my wit and humor, then you better make me funny!" And God said “I’m on it!”