Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Public Freaking

Delores of Under the Porch Light has issued the challenge. 
Her followers obey!
This week's offerings: Vociferous, ambivalent, grunge, ink, flipped, dread
Come with me!
Future public speaking . . . champions
I’ve always been a talker.
Always.
The word vociferous could be very aptly applied.
But, during my formative years, if anyone ever wanted to fill me with absolute, bone-numbing, chill-of-death dread, all one would have to do was say, “Diane, why don’t you stand up and say a few words.”
Okay, the ‘saying a few words’, I could handle.
The operative/terrifying aspect here was the part where they said, ‘why don’t you stand up’.
Because that usually means that, in front of people, one has to STAND UP.
Yikes.
Grade seven provided the ultimate test.
Our English teacher whose name was Miss-Mueller-How-Could-You-Do-This-To-Me!, had assigned Every. Single. Person. in our class to do a report.
An oral report.
Okay, here’s where I admit that I had to have the words 'oral report' explained to me.
Miss Mueller HCYDTTM was happy to enlighten me.
A little too happy.
My soul was immediately immersed in dread.
Death was suddenly an imminent thing.
Due to occur on Thursday next.
I spent the following six days in an ambivalent froth.
Finally putting ink to paper the night before I was due to face the firing squad.
To this day, I can’t remember what I reported on.
Or even if I reported.
Because something happened just before my turn that is etched forever in my memory . . .
I‘m sure you’ve all been there.
Nervously Anxiously Apprehensively Terrified-ly awaiting your turn before the critical masses.
Well, the girl who preceded me was my good friend, Gladys.
She of the calm, self-possessed demeanour.
Gladys was also known for her clothes of uber-cuteness. No grunge here.
And I should mention, too, that Gladys’ outfit that day was a matching pants, top and hat that were OH-MY-GOODNESS-SOOOO-CUTE-I WANT-THEM-I-WANT-THEM-I-WANT-THEM!!!
Back to my story . . .
Gladys stood up in front of the class and began her presentation.
Suddenly, her voice . . . faded.
And the teacher leaped to her feet and caught her as she fell.
She survived.
Gladys, I mean.
I just thought I’d mention that in case you were concerned.
I know we were . . .
But her scary experience helped me to realize something.
The other kids in my class were just as scared as I was.
Some even more so.
And every single person in that audience wasn’t sitting there waiting for me to flip out or slip up so they could laugh.
Nope.
They were thinking about/dreading their own ten minutes of infamy.
And if our reaction to our good friend’s mishap was anything to go by, all we wanted was for our classmates to succeed.
Who says you don’t learn anything from public speaking.
In Grade Seven?

10 comments:

  1. Oh my!

    We had the same thing in Grade Seven for the first time - oral reports. And I got an education just like you and your classmates did. One of the most outgoing boys in our class suddenly turned into a sweating, gulping, mess o' nerves when he got up in front of the class. It was an eye-opener!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just re-read the title and "got it" - hahahaha! Love the label also :)

      Delete
    2. Somehow, it makes it easier when you know that most people suffer as much or more than you do . . .

      Delete
  2. We had the same thing...to this day I am still petrified to speak in front of more than one person...sometimes even then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whenever I have to speak in front of a group, I'm always tempted to take a phone with me. I can talk forever with a phone to my ear!

      Delete
  3. Never been afraid of talking in front of a crowd--maybe because I've done it so often. It is freaky the first time though, and it's a good reminder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sooo envious right now! :) Think of all the time I wasted . . . hiding . . .

      Delete
  4. I feel so sorry for Gladys. You probably did your report very well. I don't recall ever having to do an oral report, which is just as well, I'm not a talker. My daughter's year 12 teacher issued an oral report request. K said she couldn't do it, would probably have a panic/asthma attack. Teacher insisted. K handed in her books and left the school. Got a job. Said school was boring her anyway. I was working myself at the time so didn't find out until she had the job.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great lessons learned on this one. I loved your stories. Actually, they always stir a memory or too. Thanks for this one and Blessing to you!

    ReplyDelete

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