Narrative of the 08 Jan 2019 Regular Meeting

So many Toastmasters showed up to this meeting that we are considering holding future meetings in MeL’s car.

Okay, okay, it wasn’t that bad. In fact, it was a pretty good turn-out for a rainy day. Plus we had two guests, which always brightens things up. We are looking forward to having the whole gang back together for the next meeting. In MeL’s car.

MeL acted as Sergeant at Arms and introduced President MeL. She introduced our two guests: Orlando and Geo. And then she introduced the Toastmaster who was… me.

I learned a lot doing it. I have no problem getting up in front of a group and making a fool of myself. But I’m totally disorganized. I couldn’t even follow my own notes. But we’ll get to that shortly.

I started by complaining about the small audience size that why comedians hate Tuesday night gigs. Do you want to know why? Well, you should have been at the meeting!


Finally, I got to my prepared comments. They were about what I most like about Toastmasters. And this is the diversity of the group. In my normal life, almost everyone I know is like me: pointy-headed intellectuals with more neuroses than sense. But at Toastmasters, I get to meet what I think of as normal people — even though they are doubtless also messes in their own wonderful ways!

Word of the Day

In my role as Toastmaster, I forgot to find someone to do the Thought/Joke of the Day. So I told a joke. It was a good joke. Unfortunately, it can’t really be related on paper. Or at least: it wouldn’t be funny. But if you want to hear it, just ask me to tell you the library joke. It’s part of my series, “Jokes You Can Tell Your Grandmother.”

Next up was the Word of the Day. And that word was “delicious.” But in my excitement to be Toastmaster, I didn’t think of an example. So I had to stand in front of everyone stuttering. I finally came out with something. But here are some good ones from the meeting:

  • Steve: The Red Delicious apple is not my favorite.

  • Brian: The food at House of Prime Rib is wonderfully delicious. [How do you get reservations?! -FM]

  • Bert: During my vacation, there was a delicious moment of floating on top of snow.

  • Mark: The hamburgers at the Rohnert Park Bowling Alley are surprisingly delicious.

  • MeL: There is a record from the 60s and it is called “Delicious.”

  • Orlando: I took a walk into Armstrong Redwoods after Christmas and it was delicious.

  • Geo: I’ve been making these smoothies in the morning and they are delicious.

Speech: Thank You, Tom

Mark then gave a speech called “Thank You, Tom.” It was a fond remembrance of his father. What stood out to me was something that Mark learned about business from his father — without even realizing it until he did it. It had to do with saving a client who hadn’t been well treated by Mark’s predecessor.

The speech was part of Mark’s Advanced Communicator Silver. I believe after he gets it, we have to refer to him as Mr Burchill or simply Sire. (I made this same joke at the meeting, but poorly stated; this is my second try.)

After the speech, I sped on to Table Topics. Thankfully, the group reminded me that we were supposed to evaluate Mark’s speech. So after I hissed at everyone, we did that.

Can you believe we only get one minute to write evaluations, Comrades?! Let us take back power from the officer pigs who create false scarcity of minutes!

So left, two, three!

So left, two, three!

To the work that we must do.

March on in the Workers’ United Front,

For you are a worker too!

Excuse me! The Workers’ United Front took over there for a moment. Don’t get me wrong, they’re nice people. Just don’t mention the capitalist oppression of the prolotariate.

Table Topics

Brian was in charge of Table Topics. He presented a “grab-bag” of topics. Here are some examples:

  • Memorable New Year Resolutions (MeL): “One memorable resolution was when my husband and I ran an office furniture store. I used to eat at my desk. So I resolved not to eat at my desk. It took me three months to make good on this resolution. And to this day, I still don’t do it.”

  • Memorable Birthday (Mark): “I think I was in my twenties. I went out to the Blue Heron. And I thought I was getting so old! And that was the oldest I’ve ever felt on a birthday.”

  • What Super-Power Would You Pick (Geo): “I think I’d go for time travel. Then I could go back in time and change all the horrible experiences in my life.”

  • Beach or Snow (Orlando): “A couple of weeks ago I was watching this video about this guy called the ‘ice man’ or something. He never gets sick. He’s 57. And he swims in icy water. And he hiked Mount Everest in his shorts… It was super inspiring. So I’ve been making a conscious decision to be more present in the cold weather.”

Speech Evaluation

Bert evaluated Mark’s speech. He spoke about the difficulties of giving this kind of speech. Then he noted Mark’s excellent pacing, tone, and storytelling. He went through most of the points of the story. His only real “complaint” was that the speech hadn’t been longer.


MeL presented the grammarian’s report. She highlighted the gems that she liked:

  • My stated original intention of making “ooze” the word of the day.

  • Bert’s statement that he was “floating on snow.”

  • A phrase from Mark’s speech: “Ambition, persistence, humility.”

  • Orlando said “Be present in cold weather.”

Then we all discussed the word “peccadillo.” Geo was nice enough to pull up a definition for us, “a small, relatively unimportant offense or sin.”

Timer / Ah Counter

Steve presented the timer and ah counter reports. He focused on things besides ums and ahs — filler words, for example. Four people used a filler word at the beginning of speaking:

  • Geo: well.

  • Me: okay.

  • Bert: well.

  • MeL: um.

Interestingly, I absolutely positively never used um or ah during the whole meeting.

The timings:

  • Mark speech (5-7): 6:53

  • Table Topics (1-2)

    • MeL: 0:55

    • Bert: 1:19

    • Mark: 0:56

    • Geo: 1:05

    • Orlando: 0:54

    • Me: 1:13

  • Evaluation (2-3): 2:52

  • Grammarian (1-2): 1:59


I waffled a bit at the end — talking about the small but exciting meeting and our wonderful guests who were like pros — they really did a great job. And then I turned the meeting back over to MeL.

MeL asked our guests what they thought about the meeting. Orlando said he really enjoyed it — that he had no idea what to expect coming in. Geo said he got a lot out of the meeting. MeL thanked them both for coming and participating.

And with that, the meeting was adjourned!

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