If Rick Perry had been in somebody’s living room when that Third Thing eluded him it wouldn’t have been a big deal. His mind went blank. My mind’s been known to go blank quicker than an Etch-a-Sketch. I could be talking to Rotary or the Spouses at the Ancient & Honorable Society of Taxidermists or the Annual Tea of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Tablecloths and suddenly – nothing.
I always feel honored to be asked to speak someplace and I work hard on my remarks, thinking up funny things and true things and writing them all down and promising myself not to depart from the text at all…
But then the day comes and here are these wonderful open faces and how can I keep looking down at some dead piece of paper when I could be looking into their eyes? I start in telling my stories and pretty soon somebody in the back is laughing so hard her friends are thumping her on the back. And then this one thing I say reminds me of another crucially funny un-leave-out-able thing and I tell that and then we’re all really laughing and then – whoops! – I’ve lost the path back to my main thought.
It sounds like a speaker’s worst nightmare but you know… it just isn’t. And the reason it isn’t is that people are just so glad it isn’t them up there that they help you right out.
I ask “What was I saying before that last thing?” and some good soul down front says, “You were telling how the water leaking out of the kitchen light fixture reminded you of when just before you throw up you start drooling that horrible way”. (A speech by me isn’t exactly an audience with the Pope.) And then I remember just exactly where I was going and I carry right on and NOBODY MINDS at all.
It doesn’t get recorded in the organization’s monthly newsletter.
It doesn’t appear on the Six o’Clock News.
And the reason is that we all goof up sometimes, and if somebody holding the mike goofs up too, it