I am not a terrible public speaker. I am as good speaking in public as I am alone which in itself is not very enchanting. In school they used to always make us perform oral reports in front of the class. I’m not exactly sure why. The most lucrative job that involves public speaking is former drug addict. You don’t need an education to do this either. You need to know some dangerous people and the metric system so you’re not getting ripped off. Some oral reports I did in school have been forgotten. Others will be discussed right now after this quick commercial break.
I have a lot of memories from elementary and middle school yet few involve standing in front of the classroom trying to remain calm. Elementary school everyone got along well enough and weren’t shy about telling you how much you sucked to your face. By the time I got to middle school teachers were forcing us to break out of our shells that we had built up because we were always being told by our classmates how much we sucked to our faces. None of these oral reports stand out in my mind. I think the teachers felt so bad for me they excused me from participating in normal classroom activities. Knowing a teacher pities you is a terrible feeling.
High school came around and by this time the teachers assumed we were all acclimated into normal society. We were comfortable in our skin. We could take on the world if we wanted to. Ninth grade is almost a complete blur. The only performing in front of a classroom we did was reading aloud from our textbooks because the teachers were at least smart enough to realize we were too busy at home getting beaten by our parents or playing video games to bother with Dickens. I remember having to play Mercucio in Romeo and Juliet. It was his big dying speech and I had to pretend to die. The teacher told me to leave the classroom. He locked the door then they watched a movie while I tried to get back inside. Ninth grade was not a fun year.
(I find it eerie that my high school’s nickname was also the Spartans and she too has been locked out. Or maybe she feels so privileged others should open doors for her. In that case she definitely went to my school)
I did a lot of oral reports in tenth grade. My English class was the main one where we were forced into standing awkwardly with our bad postures trying to explain something to our classmates who hated us. I remember this is the same class when we explained to the teacher how 9/11 really didn’t bother us all that much. We were a real insensitive shit crew if I want to put a label on it. The kid sitting in front of me would draw pictures of our 55 year old teacher performing oral sex on him at least once a week. He didn’t quite understand what she meant by an oral report. Or maybe he did and that’s why I always get B-‘s and he somehow would get A’s.
In this same English class was our “How To” oral reports. We would have to find something we knew how to do and teach the class how to do it. A kid in my grade had killed himself a week earlier and I was starting to think he was a clever cat for getting out of this so swiftly. I had no idea what I could do to teach the class. The teacher kept insisting I teach the class how to make a BLT sandwich. Great, get the fat kid to bring in some bacon then watch him shine. I ended up doing my report on how to get rid of a stuffy nose. The hot chick in my class actually paid really close attention. I always tried to convince myself she had a secret love for me. She was never nasty toward me and in general she was a nasty person. I don’t think telling the class to snort salt water really did much to help my chances with her. Either way, it was nice to have her look up to me for once.
(Blue Man Group member Douglas St. Palmer clearing out his sinuses with nasal spray. Are there any words less sexy than sinuses or nasal? At least “Holocaust” reminds me of Christmas Holly and that makes me think of mistletoe)
I had another class in tenth grade involving a lot of public speaking. The teacher gave all the male students weekly back rubs and I still feel uncomfortable whenever I’m around a mustached man because of his pedophilic ways. I did one report on hockey rules. The main point of this was all teaching us how to use Powerpoint. You know the program that slows everything down. I forget what I did wrong but I only got a B on it. Maybe my shoulders weren’t as strong as another student’s. He had a very strange grading system.
Eleventh grade only had one oral presentation that I remember. It involved us picking classic songs from the Vietnam era then standing in front of the class interpreting them. I forget the song I picked, but the teacher said my interpretation was completely wrong. Isn’t interpretation all subjective? If I think Girls Girls Girls by Motley Crew is about cottage cheese then by golly maybe it is. I got an A on this report somehow anyway despite being wrong. Teachers are such asses. I should have bought them all a mug that says “Those who cannot do, teach.”
My final year in high school was a very simple one. I had very few classes and spent my time in school trying to skip class. My English teacher had a lazy eye so we spent most of the class getting yelled at for moving around too much, at least according to him. I had one class though where public speaking happened often. It was a creative writing class where I learned the key to my writing success; lie and tell people you’re good and maybe they’ll be dumb enough to believe it.
(Go ahead, lead another charge on “Hope” instead of action)
Every poem, short story, or whatever we wrote was read in front of the class. Everybody always got applause after. To be frank, most people deserved to be pelted. The class was almost all females with a few guys with girly hair mixed in. I sat in the seat closest to the door because I was the first alphabetically. A girl a year younger than me sat one row over and back. She was hot and I heard she had sex on a microwave. Or it was with a microwave. Either way, that bitch probably has got cancer.
(Ugh microwaves get all the hot chicks)
I was afraid at first to read anything in front of the class until I realized something important about public speaking. The important thing is if those in attendance did not pay to see you, they’re probably not listening. I only ever listened to the hot girls and occasionally some emo kid would slip in a swear word which would get my attention. The lesson here is very simple. Nobody cares about what you have to say. You’re boring and you’ll always be boring, especially when you’re in high school. What interesting thing has a high school kid ever done? The only way to get your own yearbook page is to snuff yourself. What a horrible standard.
How do you feel about public speaking and/or did you ever make a fool of yourself while doing so?