Speech Preparation

There are many stories that stress careful preparation for a presentation you must deliver.  Here is one of my favorites.

There was once a preacher who got into the pulpit week after week relying on the Holy Spirit to tell him everything he was to say.  Each Sunday before entering the pulpit, he would pray, “Lord, give me your message for this morning.  What do you have to say to your servant?”

Finally, one Sunday just before he got up, he said again, “Lord, give me your message for this morning.  What do you have to say to your servant?”

And the Lord finally answered him, “You’re not prepared!”

Misty of Chincoteague

This is a story told by my wife, Lanita Bradley Boyd.

The island of Chincoteague (chink-uh-TEEG), off the coast of Virginia, became famous due to the book, Misty of Chinoteague, by Marguerite Henry.  In a poll of the most famous children’s horse books, Misty of Chincoteague came in second only to Black Beauty and has had over twenty hardcover printings.  Misty became the ideal horse that any child longs for.

Chincoteague Island has also developed into a “destination wedding” location.

Recently, our friends went to Chinoteague Island  for a wedding.  Many of the guests heard talk about the book, Misty of Chinoteague, and were eager to get to the local bookstore to buy books for children or grandchildren.

In the front window of the quaint bookstore was a sign, “Misty is here.”  Yes, the horse Misty has been preserved through the art of taxidermy and stands for all to see there in the back of the store.

One of the wedding guests, knowing only that it was a famous book and she wanted to buy it, was excited when she saw the sign in the window, “Misty is here.”  She picked up a book from the display and went straight to the store employee. Misty

“Where is Misty?”  she asked, “I want to get her to sign my book.”

Smiling, the clerk said, “That will be a little hard to do, ma’am.  But she’s right around the corner here.”

Imagine the woman’s surprise when she saw a horse!

Hurrying back to the car she said to the other passengers, “Well, you could have saved me a lot of embarrassment if you’d told me Misty was a horse!”

A Unique Personality

The following story, with names changed, was told by one of my students years ago.

When parents remarry, you just never know what you are in for. I met my stepmother eight years ago when my dad brought her over to my grandmother’s house. “Girls,” he said, “tNo teethhis is Marjorie.”  She stuck out her hand and gave a big smile. My sister and I stood, stunned. She only had three teeth.

It had been a while since I had seen Marjorie before my wedding. When she arrived, I kept telling my husband, “There’s something different about her.”  It came to me: she had gotten false teeth.

At the next family event, Marjorie kept raving about the chocolate cake on the table. Moments later Joe came to me sort of chuckling. “What’s happened now?” I asked.

He replied, “Well, your stepmom took out her teeth and she’s chomping on her chocolate cake in the corner.” I thought, okay, this must be just because we’re around family.

Months later we went out to dinner with Dad and Marjorie at a local restaurant. She picked at her food for a while and kept mumbling to my dad. Finally, he said, “I don’t care, just do it.”  Joe and I looked at each other puzzled. Then Marjorie picked up her napkin, placed it over her mouth, pulled her teeth out, and set them on the table. She smiled, all gums, and began to eat her food.

If you’re going to deal with a challenging relationship, you would probably rather deal with a person that doesn’t have any teeth than one who doesn’t have any personality.

[Or you might choose to make your punch line just the opposite, especially in the business world: if you’re dealing with a challenging relationship, perhaps you’d rather have a person with no personality than one with no teeth.]

Remember to “PM”

One of my first jobs as a teenager was working in a shoe store.  The line of shoes was inexpensive, and often the shoes were not well-made or stylish.  They were popular because they were inexpensive.

Perhaps because of lack of stylishness, some shoes were hard to sell.  When a pair of shoes had been in the store without selling for several weeks, the manager would stamp a “PM” on the outside of the box.  This stood for “Push More,” and as a salesman I knew that if I sold a pair of “PM” shoes, I got 25 cents added to my salary.  Since in 1960 I was making 75 cents an hour, that was a nice tip.

When we knew a size of foot of a customer matched one of the specially marked shoebox we made a concerted effort to talk about its advantages to the customer.

I think we can use that notion of “PM” in our personal lives.  Recognize the things in our lives that are most important and put a “PM” label by them.  With each day, decide the “PM”s for that day and live a more productive and pleasant life.

When Enough is Enough

One of the most memorable cab rides I have ever taken occurred a number of years ago en route from Hartsfeld Airport to downtown Atlanta. Rain started as we got into the downtown area. I noticed that the driver did not seem comfortable with the cab. For example, he did not turn on the windshield wipers until we could not see out the front windows.

When we came to an intersection, I heard screeching and turned to see where it was coming from. The noise was coming from the car I was in! We were careening back and forth across the highway in a skid. I thought we were going to hit two cars that had stopped at the intersection. Somehow the driver got the car turned in the direction of a deep row of hedges, which softened our impact.

A cab behind us stopped and sheltered us from other cars until my cabbie was able to get the car started. We backed out of the shrubs and were no worse for the experience.

However, when we arrived at our destination hotel, the cab driver turned off the engine and turned to face me.

“You are my first customer,” he said. He went on to say that he was unfamiliar with the cab and had been unaware of the bald tires and bad brakes.

He told me that he was parking the cab in the hotel lot and calling to tell his employer that he was quitting immediately.

So I was his first and last cab fare!

We all have our breaking point in any job; I happened to be riding along when this cabbie realized “enough was enough.”