Years ago, there was a Peanuts cartoon in which Snoopy was running one way, then another, back and forth. In the last panel Lucy said, “Indecision is an awful thing.” Last August, in addition to preparing for my Toastmasters club’s humorous speech contest, I was tracking a tropical storm named Erika. It would strengthen, then weaken, speed up, then slow down. She just couldn’t make up her mind.
If Erika was indecisive, the news media was not. In spite of the storms apparent dissipation, I was bombarded with alerts to take caution and prepare. Doomsday outweighed writing a speech.
I ran out to get supplies. Once in the store I headed for the water aisle. There was none — the populace had commandeered all the water. I left the store thinking, “Where am I going to get water?” I looked next door and there was a liquor store. “What the heck,” I reasoned, “liquid is liquid.”
I woke up the next afternoon to sunny skies and one heck of a headache. My brain was on hold. I needed to work on my speech and couldn’t come up with a topic, much less develop a humorous speech.
By Sunday, I was rarin’ to go. “Come on Google, let’s get some ideas.” I typed “humorous speeches.” There were countless lists and hundreds of topics. It was like a good news / bad news joke — lots of ideas but too many to wade through. That leads to indecision and of course “indecision is an awful thing.”
Further down the page I spied another link — Humorous Speeches – Toastmasters. Wow, I hit the mother-lode. I clicked on it — and found various videos of former contestant winners. As I watched masters in action my confidence started to wane. Google should have a disclaimer — “don’t watch Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contests if you’re going to be in one.” Which reminded me of another disclaimer Google needs, “Never use medical sites to diagnose your symptoms.”
A few years ago, I noticed the vision in my right eye was blurry. It was also red and uncomfortable. After a couple of days, I got the bright idea to google blurry vision. Good old Google even had a selection for blurry vision in 1 eye. Several clicks later, I found I either had macular degeneration, glaucoma, or … a brain tumor. By the time I saw the doctor I was trembling. After an exam, he announced, “You have dry eye syndrome.” DRY EYE SYNDROME? That was never mentioned on any of the sites I saw.
Monday arrived and there were 4 days to prepare my speech and still no topic. I wasn’t close to a decision. Yeah, yeah, I hear you, “Indecision is an awful thing.”
Staring at my computer, my mind drifted and I thought about how much technology and the internet had changed our lives. Have you noticed that today everything is abbreviated: like OMG – Oh my God, BTW – By the way, LOL – Laugh Out Load, BB4N – bye-bye for now. What happened to words? We are speaking in letters and numbers. I love the written word and it’s disappearing.
Then there’s social media. It seems everyone is vying for the Golden Thumb Award. You know, winning the prize for getting the most likes on Facebook in 1 day! We don’t socialize any more, we sit in front of computer screens having pretend relationships with strangers.
By Tuesday, the tension was mounting and while my mind wasn’t a blank — it was full of random thoughts having no connection like:
Where was the commonality? In my mind, I saw Lucy shaking her fists in the air screaming, “INDECISION IS AN AWFUL THING.”
Then it hit me. Perhaps Lucy wasn’t right. You know, the mind works in mysterious ways. What if I were to take Lucy and all my incongruous thoughts and weave them into a story about creating a speech. And there you have it — a bit crazy, a little odd — but a speech none the less. Goodbye Lucy!