essentials for an effective speech

I currently attend a small, New England, liberal arts college. I feel like that sentence kind of sums up a lot about a person. Mostly it means that in high school I thought it’d be a great idea to read a bunch of books and talk about feelings and stuff and now I’ve realized that I hate that but feelings credits don’t transfer well.

That’s mostly a joke. I do like where I go to school. I usually think of my school like my little brother. He’s a piece of shit and he’s annoying and my mom always blames me when he does something stupid, but if you ever try to shit on him, I’ll be pissed.

Anyway, one of the requirements at my school is a lovely class called Fundamentals of Speech Communication, which is pretty much just learn how to fucking not throw up every where when you speak in public because that is embarrassing. Needless to say, I was not the greatest Speech Communications student. I read the book though, which is more than I can say for probably 99% of the people who take that class. Rookie mistake, Dean. No one in college reads the book.

I’m an anxious person, and this was my first class of my college career and I really wanted to do well but also I hate giving speeches. Who likes that stuff? Even Obama is probably like, “not this shit again.” It’s the only reason I’m not fit for politics. That, and also I hate everyone and I get bored pretty easily. I’d start my campaign and then about two weeks into I’d be like, “eh.” No sex scandals in sight though! Another plus of being incredibly anxious around other human beings.

So I was living a nightmare every Tuesday and Thursday at eight in the morning. And the best part about this nightmare was that it just got worse and worse.

One of our assignments that we were told about in the beginning of the semester was to do two “impromptu speeches.” This was mentioned quickly, and off the cuff, like it was no big deal. Then a few weeks later, my professor told us to write down any speech we’d want to give and then put down three main topics or something. We went around the room and we all read our dumb ideas, and then she collected them.

Like I said, going to a small, New England liberal arts college says something about you, and usually what it says is that you’re some bizarre weirdo who’s kind of managed to turn that into something that doesn’t look so gross so you can be that quirky popular kid. Most of these speech topics were normal. Greek Life at small schools. Something about Halloween costumes. Then there were a few other more offbeat things like “Octopi.” And then one of them was fucking insane.

I don’t want to give out any names, but the girl who wrote this was named after a male character from the TV show Friends. I’m not a huge fan of Friends. It’s fine, I have nothing against it, I can see its merits. But me watching Friends is like anyone else watching The Simpsons. They’re all just kind of like “okay yeah adequate cartoon program” and I’m mostly thinking “yeah, adequate TV about people with more than eight fingers and skin that isn’t bright yellow sure.” 

Anyway, this girl, named after a male Friends character, said this very bluntly. She did not beat around the bush. The fact that we did not know previously that we would be sharing these did not phase her, like many a fucking weirdo who have come before her. (I say fucking weirdo like I don’t like these kind of people. I’m definitely one of them, though, so it’s hard balance to strike. Self-loathing and hating everyone who’s just like you.)

And she proceeds to tell the class that if she were about to give a speech, it would be about this girl who was stabbed in the abdomen, then performed oral sex on her boyfriend, and got pregnant.

Everyone in the class is pretty much like, “okaaaaaaaaay sure.”

Then class is over and our professor collects them and we go on our merry way.

Fast forward to next class.

“So you know how we made up those fake speeches?! Yeah now you’re going to pick one randomly and do a speech about it.”

At this point I’m praying for octopi. Please dear god let me get octopi.

So I’m sitting there, and, like I said, public speaking is not what I excel at. I am incredibly anxious, and I’m sitting in the back row imagining all the things that could possibly go wrong until what if that’s the exact spot an alien is going to censor it’s human-exploding laser beam and create the first casualty of some kind of intergalactic space war?? I really don’t want to be exploded in my first semester.

And for some reason my professor’s trying to be all cool and like, “I’m not going to call on names, just come up and volunteer when you want to.”

So I resolve to volunteer never.

One by one, everyone’s going up, picking up their speech topics. There is no justice to this system. The funny kids get boring topics like the Halloween costume one, the other nervous wrecks get things like the history of wheelchairs or other dumb things the funny kids wrote done to be FUNNY. One girl gets her own topic and I’m like you sick BASTARD.

I know in the back of my head that I’m being stupid. That I should just stand up, do my speech, get it over with. But at this point I’m practically fucking shaking and jumping out of a window seems like a more solid option. I would probably get a better grade.

And I keep freaking out until I’m dead last.

And everyone else has gone. So I walk up to the front of the room, and pick up the little piece of paper, and I have completely forgotten about this stabbed abdomen blow job girl that’s has just been waiting to get picked the whole time.

I mean, what do you do at that point?

I cleared my throat, turned to my class, and began my speech with an Attention Grabbing Statement (the first thing on the list of Essentials for an Effective Speech).

“Oral sex.”

And it’s all a blur from there. I believe I ended this groundbreaking work of public speaking genius with something like, “so if you’re going to give a blow job after getting stabbed in the stomach and you’re a woman, consider using a condom. Or spitting. Thank you.”

To this day, I’m still not sure if it was one of my prouder moments or one of my more horrifyingly shameful moments. Also, if anyone was qualified to give a speech about pregnancy and blow jobs, it’s me.

About a week later our professor called all of us up individually to discuss our grades for our impromptu speech.

She gave me a B because “it needed more content.” Apparently I didn’t have enough hard facts about pregnancy via blow job due to stab wound. I can safely say that I still don’t have those facts. Whenever I tell people that this actually happened to me, that I was actually graded on an impromptu speech about this, they ask me if you can actually get pregnant this way.

I still have no idea.

You might want to spit just in case.

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