Some people are naturally gifted public speakers. Me, for instance. Put me in front of a room full of strangers, and I'll just talk and talk and talk. About anything, really---the weather, Masonic conspiracies, which animals people look like, how sweaty I'm getting. I will literally never stop to take a breath or vomit into my mouth. That’s my level of comfort around crowds.
But, I understand that not everybody is as gifted at public speaking. Some people---if you can imagine---get nervous in front of large groups whom they rightly assume are judging their every word.
For those pathetic dumps, here are a few helpful tips for speaking in front of an audience:
- When looking out at the crowd, picture everyone in their underwear. This will deflate the tension. Unless the underwear is really sexy.
- Control your breathing. Try to breathe once for every four heartbeats, which you’ll probably feel pulsating inside in your head.
- Pick out one person in the audience, and imagine you are speaking to only him or her. Just don't say her name at the end of every sentence, especially if she’s your ex-wife.
- Carefully go over your list of talking points beforehand. You did remember to make annotated flashcards, right? RIGHT?!
- Plant your feet. Feel grounded. Don’t lock your knees, or you’ll pass out. But, don’t think too much about not locking your knees, or you will also pass out.
- Mark your speech with predetermined pauses. For swallowing and burps and whatnot.
- Remember: You’re the one holding the gun. That gives you all the power.
- Have a bottle of water handy in case of cottonmouth. Cheap gin works too.
- If one the hostages acts up, make an example of him right away. One heckler (or hysterical crier) can throw off the entire pace of a robbery.
- Lighten the mood up top with a joke or a silly walk.
- A bullhorn is a good idea, especially because the rubber Simpsons mask will muffle your voice.
- Know your audience. A little crowd work goes a long way. Is anyone there from out of town?
- Remember: Commands and demands. You’re never asking a police negotiator for anything; you’re telling him what he’s going to give you. Like a helicopter.
- You can always fall back on your note cards if you lose your place.
- If it goes past two hours, booby trap the air vents.
- Stay away from the windows.
- Did Johnny just use your real name? DID HE JUST SAY YOUR FUCKING NAME IN FRONT OF THE HOSTAGES?!!
- That’s it---Johnny’s become a liability. You shouldn’t have let your girlfriend talk you into bringing along her loser brother.
- Tape Johnny’s mouth underneath his mask and shove him outside with one of the Uzis and some C-4 strapped to him. While the cops are distracted with that, there’s a service tunnel leading down to an abandoned subway line. I’d say you have a four-minute head start.
- Don’t get tempted by the helicopter. That was just a stalling tactic.
- The Cossack has a passport waiting for you over by that one place near the piers. The one where we did that thing with the Armenians.
- There’s a van to take you to a private airfield upstate. The Cossack’s guy, Viktor, will do the count and the split on the way. You can trust him, but don’t stare at his missing thumb. He’s got a mean streak.
- After that, it’s a jump flight to Atlanta and then smooth sailing down to Bogota.
- I gotta stay behind to take care of a few things with that iPad shipment that went bad. But, I’ll meet you down there in a couple weeks. A girl I know works the bar at The Conejo Loco. She’ll set you up with a place.
- Don’t flash around any money. That place is crawling with cartel guys.
So, those are my helpful tips for public speaking. I know you get anxious talking in front of strangers, but you pull this job off and we’re set for life. Man, you won’t believe the pussy and blow down in Colombia. It's like fuckin' Heaven.
Now, go out there are break a leg.
My asshole brain kept me up until 3:30am last night. (Fuck you, my brain.) And, one of the things it was cycling through was---I swear to god---tips on preventing insomnia. I think I'm broken somehow.
So, I guess here are some tips on getting to sleep. You hear that, brain? You win. You win, you smug bastard.
- Try turning off your television by 8pm and finish your evening with quiet reading. Ugh, just writing that makes me feel sick to my stomach. I’m so sorry, TV. You know that deep down I love you more than sleep. You know that, right?
- Avoid caffeine after 5pm. Unless it’s in coffee ice cream form. Only monsters don't eat ice cream.
- Exercise at night to tire yourself out. Or maybe that’ll wake you up more. I wouldn’t know. I've never tried it, and I never will.
- Drink a glass of warm buttermilk right before bed. Buttermilk means milk with three fingers of rum in it, right?
- I know this is an old one, but try counting sheep jumping over a fence. Have you ever seen a sheep in real life to help you picture that? I haven’t in about fourteen years, so I just imagine fat Labradoodles.
- Keep a journal next to your bed to help you purge random thoughts. Of course, this might simply train you to keep thinking up random thoughts at night like SOME KIND OF HORRIBLE ASSHOLE! You hear that, brain? I'm calling you out, you asshole.
- Some people swear by masturbation. Never attempted it, myself. Seems icky.
- Try switching up your sleep outfit. I, for one, gave up pajamas and now sleep in Spanx and a white dinner jacket.
- Maybe come up with an internal mantra to calm you at night. Sub-tip: SHUT UP, BRAIN! THIS IS WHY NOBODY INVITES YOU TO PARTIES! is not an effective mantra.
- Money problems often keep people awake. Maybe think about going back in time and being born wealthy.
- Stop being such a little crybaby and walk it off. Rub some dirt on it, ya baby.
- Shut up. You’re the baby!
- No, you are! You shut up! YOU SHUT UP!
- Ooh, look who’s grumpy without his sleep. Are you gwumpy, you big baby?
- STOP CALLING ME A BABY!!!!
- Wait, why are we even fighting? This isn’t between us. This is our brain’s fault. Hey, brain, you’re a real turd, y’know that, brain?
- Yeah, what he said. A turd.
- EVERYBODY, SHUT UP! This is your brain speaking. Nobody say another mean thing about me. I’ve been going through a lot lately, and yes, maybe I’ve been a little overactive at night. But, if you guys keep calling me an asshole or a turd or anything else butt-related, I’m going to get angry. And, if I get angry, I’ll retaliate by making you sexually attracted to gross, weirdo fetish stuff like squirrels or steampunk costumes. I’m talking full-on boner time whenever you see a squirrel. Am I understood?
- Yes, sir. Sorry.
- Alright, good. Now, I’m going to go back to obsessing over having misspoken to a pretty girl eight years ago. Please don’t bother me.
- We won’t. Sorry, sir.
- Stop sucking up to our brain, suck up.
- You stop sucking up!
- Owww, stop pinching me!
Alright, new guys, I'm running low on nicknames, so you're gonna have to take whatever's left. I'm sorry, but I've met a lot of people in my life, and I've given every single one of them a nickname. The choices are kinda slim at this point.
Speaking of slim---you are tall and slender. I've already used up Slim, Beanpole, and Skinny Steve. I guess I'll have to call you... Obelisk. Which is also something tall and thin. You're welcome.
You nickname will be StrongJaw.
Yours will be Mr. Magoo. No, wait; I have a Mr. Magoo. Your nickname will be Squints. No wait, Pinchface McSquints. That’s more appropriate.
You’ll be Gomer.
You will be Goober.
Your nickname will be The Old Goat. I like your white beard and your vigor in chewing gum, by the way.
You're going to be called Banana Hands.
Your nickname will be Turkey Bacon. Because you have hands the size of a bunch of bananas, and you smell like turkey bacon.
Your nickname is going to be... No Glasses Guy. Because you look like a guy I worked with named Glasses Guy, except without his glasses. Do you wear contacts? No? Good.
You'll be named Fat Steve. I already have a Skinny Steve, and need to balance that out. I hope you understand, Fat Steve.
You will be nicknamed Guy-Next-to-Fate-Steve.
You---wear this beret for a second. Alright, your nickname from now on is Pierre. Never take off that beret, or I might forget your name.
You will be Barnum.
You will be Blue Shirt.
Your nickname will be FaceDude.
You will be nicknamed Bowie, because you are David Bowie. It's an honor to meet you, Mr. Bowie. I'm a huge fan of your music.
You shall be Blue Shirt Number Two.
Alright, all the rest of you who haven’t gotten nicknames yet, wait here. I am going to go grab a thesaurus and some name tags. Bowie, you can go. I’m sure you’re very busy being David Bowie.
Be back in a sec. Hold down the fort, FaceDude.
If you are a stranger, and I have just handed you this business card, it means that I hate you. To understand the specifics of why someone you have never met before hates you, please refer to the list of reasons in small print on the back of this card. One or more may be circled.
- You have mentioned Harvard unprompted.
- I am tired, and you don't seem tired.
- You are a teenager.
- You are muscular.
- You have brought up your food allergy in a non-dining situation.
- You seem too "into" your “lover.”
- You have mentioned the Hamptons unsolicited.
- You have not given up your subway seat to a pregnant woman.
- You are a pregnant woman who seems insufficiently grateful that I gave up my subway seat for you.
- Your sunglasses cost more than a movie ticket.
- I don't like your voice.
- You are playing football with your shirt off. [See also: any other sport.]
- You have not said thank you to my holding the door open for you.
- You claim to not own a television.
- You refuse to walk on a MOVING SIDEWALK! IT STILL HAS THE WORD "WALK" IN ITS NAME!
- You are clearly coming from yoga at 3pm on a weekday.
- You are looking over my shoulder for someone more important.
- You have reclined your airplane seat the very first opportunity.
- You are wearing Tom's shoes, which I know shouldn't be a thing, but I kinda hate people who wear those. I know, I know---it shouldn't be a thing. But, they sell those shoes at Whole Foods, for Christ's sake. Also, the guy who started the company wears a summer scarf in an American Express commercial. Super gross.
- You have eaten the last appetizer off a tray right before I could.
- You are slowly repopulating your purse at the checkout counter.
- You have contradicted me during party conversation. [Subset: You have pointed out that I misquoted a New Yorker article at a party.]
- Your child has an old man's name. Or is named after an herb.
- Your blog got a book deal.
- All of the above.
Things I have for sale on my Etsy site:
- Knitted ukulele cozy
- Jewelry shaped like cupcakes
- Cupcakes shaped like jewelry
- Knitted cupcake cozy
- A computer keyboard made of recycled buttons and brooches
- Steampunk costumes for pet ferrets
- Handwritten list of bands you should check out
- Knitted bike seat cozy
- Felt bike seat cozy
- Trivets made from recycled past Etsy purchases
- Leggo iPad dock shaped like a squirrel wearing an ugly Cosby sweater
- Knitted skateboard cozy
- Messenger bags made out of old headphones
- A chair Mod Podged with magazine photos of Zoey Dechanel
- Knitted knitting needle cozy
Who was the first person to discover the way to a man's heart was through his stomach? Was it a Civil War doctor?
You guys, did you know that the scientific name for belly buttons is navels? It's pronounced just like the oranges... YOU GUYS?!!
How come nobody who likes frozen yogurt has superpowers? Is that a thing? Does frozen yogurt keep you from having superpowers?
Holy cow, has anyone ever noticed that Italy is shaped like a boot? IS THAT HOW WE INVENTED BOOTS?!!
So, Hobbits must have big ol' dingers right? I mean, proportionally big. But still... Right, you guys?
Ladies, did you know you have little baby seeds inside you right now? Super weird.
Who invented bananas? Because, good job!
Did you know that our first President looked exactly like the guy on our quarters? Do you think they planned that?
Why does everybody get so grumpy whenever I point out that they’re grumpy?
Heat kills bacteria right? Because, I just found a totally free bottle of Caesar salad dressing on the hot sidewalk!!!
Have you guys ever tried an avocado? It’s shaped like a pear, but it tastes just like guacamole! You guys!!!
Who made dinosaurs? Is there a separate Dinosaur God with His own bible and everything?
Why do banks make it so hard to get your money out of them when they’re closed? Ugh, I need to buy something!
How many baby carrots can I stick up my nose? TRICK QUESTION!! It’s two.
Which came first, Mexico or New Mexico? Because, I’ve been to New Mexico, and everyone there seems pretty old. While, everyone at Senior Frogs in Cancun seemed pretty drunk.
Where do babies get that great smell? Can you buy that at the carwash, or do I have to just keep rubbing myself with babies every morning?
Have you ever read the novelization of the movie Jingle All the Way? It sticks pretty close to the plot. Unlike those stupid Twilight books.
Did you know you can get pregnant just by having unprotected sex in a hottub?
How come you have to make lemonade with God’s lemons? Are you saying God’s lemons aren’t good enough for lemon meringue pie? That’s blasphemous!
Who’s your favorite Beatle? Mine’s that one guy with the song thingy.
Okay, bye, you guys!
I sneezed really hard the other night and astral projected. It was unexpected.
I was super weirded out. Because, one minute I was alone in my apartment, and the next I was staring at this devilishly handsome, bearded fat guy. And, I thought to myself, “That pudgy man has the most piercing blue eyes I’ve ever… Wait a minute! That’s me!”
My soul had detached itself from my corporeal being. I was hovering above my body, watching myself eat potato chip after potato chip. I screamed, “STOP EATING POTATO CHIPS! Can’t you see what you’ve done to yourself?” But, my body couldn’t hear me. I tried to shake myself, but you can’t touch anything when you astral project.
Eventually, my body fell asleep after two more bags of potato chips and some very unappealing masturbation. I weaseled my soul back inside through my left ear. Ever since then, I’ve been able to leave my body at will.
It's been a fast learning curve, and I wanted to share some tips on astral projection for beginners. Here goes:
1) I can’t help you astral project the first time, so don’t ask. I did it with a real solid sneeze, but each person does it his or her own way. I read on wikipedia that some guy left his body after eating 200 lime popsicles. Another lady astral projects whenever she sees photos of chinchillas. So, I guess, just go try random stuff.
2) Your soul is very flammable. Try not to drift into candle flames or near power lines. Also, your sense of smell is heightened when outside your body, so everything kinda smells like farts.
3) You can go anywhere when you astral project, but watching ex-wives shower is not worth it. Usually they seem happier than you remember them being, which is odd and off-putting.
4) Try handcuffing your body to a radiator or sink before you astral project. It really can’t be trusted with itself. Mine bought a bunch of collectible Hellboy figurines off eBay.
5) Other galaxies are boring. They are.
6) Never try to see if you can fit your soul into an empty Coke bottle, because that bottle might tip over accidentally and roll against the wall, trapping your body inside until your cat comes along and jostles the mouth of the bottle away from the wall like five days later. This is a very important one to remember.
7) Possessing other people’s bodies might sound fun, and it is. It’s super awesome. One fun thing to do is to make news reporters swear on air. I made Ann Curry say the C-word.
8) Roombas are not you friends.
9) Sometimes I like just hanging out with my body. We don’t really talk or anything, but it’s nice to have somebody to watch Netflix with. Also, sometimes I astral project to see if I have any spinach in my teeth.
10) Stay away from other souls that are astral projecting. Most are clingy weirdos. I met this one guy whose body is in a coma in Brussels. He made me call his sister and tell her he loved her and was sorry about the thing he said before the motorcycle accident. Drama.
11) Try to have fun with it.
Sooooo, that’s what I’ve learned so far about astral projection. I hope that helps some of you guys. Remember: Don’t float inside any empty Coca-Cola bottles. Even on a dare. It’s not worth the risk.
My to-do list for today:
- Wake up. Rub eyes for three minutes.
- Sing first two lines of a song on repeat in the shower.
- Conditioner beard.
- Eat toast while staring at nothing in particular.
- Watch weather report. Zone out. Rewind DVR and re-watch weather report.
- Be mad at a yuppie woman on the train for no reason.
- Greet receptionist with a resigned sigh. Hear her sigh as I walk away.
- Eat grapes. Think about the children's science show from my youth, during which Slim Goodbody said the bronchioli in our lungs looked like tiny bunches of grapes.
- Begin blog post about grapes. Delete it.
- Ice tea break.
- Stare out window. See cute dog.
- Try to remember LinkedIn password. Fail. Make note to apologize to friend for taking so long accepting her LinkedIn request.
- Probably work a little.
- Receive huffy email about something stupid.
- Ice tea break.
- Read celebrity gossip about an actor I didn't realize was a Republican. Be weirded out.
- Worry in general about skin cancer.
- Tweet something semi-clever.
- Check to see if it’s been retweeted.
- Check to see if it’s been retweeted.
- Throw away grape stem.
- Check to see if it’s been retweeted.
- Remember my LinkedIn password but then realize I tried that one already.
- Oh yeah, work a little more.
- Get back on train.
- Make eye contact with woman who glares at me, assuming I was looking at her cleavage, even though I stopped looking at her cleavage like three minutes ago.
- Make dinner.
- Look at nothing particular on the Internet for four hours.
- Go to sleep.
Good morning, sunshine. Good morning, birds. Good morning, flowers and trees and puffy white clouds.
Good morning, heat. Good morning, garbage smells. Good morning, drip of sweat sliming its way down between my shoulder blades.
Good morning, crowded elevators and angry moms and old ladies too tired to hold in their farts.
Good morning, fashion assistants wearing sunglasses on the subway even through there’s no sunlight down here and you look like assholes squinting down at your asshole Blackberries.
Good morning, melted gum and dog feces. Good morning, babies with heat rash. Good morning, even more garbage smells.
Good morning, air conditioner exhausts and air conditioner drips and the ever-present grind of air conditioners. Good morning, air-conditioned luxury stores with your doors wide open, because fuck the world, right?
Good morning, Russian men in Speedos and Brazilian men in thongs. Good morning, exposed beer bellies of the world. Good morning, back hair.
Good morning, road construction. Good morning, jackhammers. Good morning, people talking about the Hamptons.
Good morning, bees. Good morning, ants. Good morning stink bugs and spiders and cockroaches and silverfish and those gross wispy centipedes that look like eyebrows.
Good morning, mosquitoes.
Good morning, pit stains. Good morning, weight we meant to lose. Good morning, hot pillows.
Good morning, children with ice cream all over your faces and hands and t-shirts and everything you touch. Good morning, general stickiness.
Good morning, eight-dollar iced lattes. Good morning, hot leather convertible seats. Good morning, lacrosse players in backwards visors and shower shoes.
Good morning, heat stroke. Good morning, dehydration. Good morning, brownouts and blackouts and thunderstorms and tornadoes.
But, finally, a big good morning to tan-lined cleavage and flippy sun dresses. Thank you for making everything else okay.
Words to live by:
Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
Sometimes good things happen to bad people.
Sometimes rad things happen to badass people.
Sometimes mood rings happen to rude people.
Sometimes, could things happen to Brad, people?
Sometimes nude singers amend two peepholes.
Sometimes puddings upend two mad clavicles.
Sometimes foodies happen too, bat people.
Sometimes dudes fling happiness onto May poles.
Sometimes sad kings happen upon Mott the Hoople.
Sometimes glued wings wrap into admirals.
Sometimes lewd fingers apple tuba pebbles.
I don’t know if that last one makes a ton of sense, but it’s seen me through a lot of tough times. I have it cross-stitched above my bathroom mirror, and I read it aloud ever morning.
Don’t stop believing, you guys.