Communications Class Speech 1

I have to create and deliver several speeches this semester for my communications class. I’ll keep my drafting and miscellaneous notes here, and a final copy of the speech at the bottom.

This first one is the worst by far: introduce yourself. I can’t think of a harder thing to present on. Technical presentations are easy, especially with a small audience that cares to understand what you’re explaining. Performances of any sort can be anywhere from terrifying to fun to boring, depending on your preparedness. But self introduction? If someone wants to really know me, they have to pay. Understanding a person takes years, thinking you can get a head start in a few minutes of monologue is an affront to communication.

Enough complaining, I honestly think it’s a pretty good idea. It stresses the difficulties of constructing monologues, and gives everyone a chance to form caricatures of each other that help feel a bit more familiar in the classroom and might be conducive to friendship.

In the draft I wrote, they wanted two main points and a conclusion. I immediately thought of the structure of a haiku. Although the 5-7-5 haiku are fun to write, the real haiku is this: two images, and a line to tie them together.

My favorite, by Matsuo Basho, captures the unpleasant night spent sleeping in poor conditions:

Fleas and lice biting;
awake all night
a horse pissing close to my ear

Or a more usual kind:

Old pond . . .
A frog leaps in
Water’s sound

I think I can create this in my speech. Create two images of myself, and juxtapose them in the conclusion to give some small insight into my self. Or at least me as I see myself when being introspective.

In my draft, I chose to use the time I fell into a frozen lake as a child, and the time I ate ten carrots due to losing a bet. The first shows extreme thoughtless folly, the other… I’m not sure what it shows. It shows that I would take on a weird bet like that in the first place, and actually follow through without regret.

I could also frame this as “show, don’t tell” version of character exposition, except that I’m using my own narrative and character instead of a fictional character. If I was a fictional character, how should I be portrayed? Or, what should I have people think of me, that’s accurate enough to fit with what I show?

Maybe my story is one that tells of someone who is likely to die young, or maybe I was destined to be, but the lake incident made me into a cautious person, avoiding fate and taking harmless missteps instead of enormous deadly blunders.

Frozen water's chill
Oh! So many carrettes.
Another day the casket empty.

I guess I’ll just start writing and I’ll hot glue it together later

So my (hidden) thesis could be this:

As a child, I was very reckless and nearly died horribly with a friend. Now, I engage in silly antics that fulfill my death-wish but don’t put me in any real harm.



As a child, nothing was more exciting in winter than when the neighborhood pond froze over. My parents would check that the ice was thick enough and we’d be allowed to play on the ice. It was a magical experience. One fateful morning in early February, I saw that the lake had ice on it, and it was a snow day. My best friend, George, came over and we inspected the ice. We stomped on the edges near the shore, where the water was shallow. It felt solid and we couldn’t break any of it. There was a gaping hole in the middle of the pond where it hadn’t frozen at all. Clearly, it was unsafe to walk on. Or, as I saw it then, I knew my parents would never let us play on the ice. We stepped out onto the ice, and it held us. We kept some distance apart from each other so our weight wouldn’t break the ice. We walked out a few more feet away from the shore, excited at the risk and uncertainty of what we were doing. As soon as we felt comfortable at one distance, we tried going further, not really aware there was a limit to how far we could go out. The ice creaked cruelly, little jolts of sound shooting around at random intervals. I though it would be a good idea to go back, and we started our way to the left bank, after making it about half way to the gaping hole in the middle.

And the ice under my feet collapsed. I hardly remember swimming, but the ice on the nearest shore was thin from being hit by the sun all morning and didn’t block my way. I swam to the shore in my snow boots and heavy coats and picked myself up to see George almost to the shore a few feet away. I helped him up and, terrified and shaken, we ran back to the house to warm up and change clothes.


I find following though on my goals to be very difficult even when I know what I want to do. The best way I’ve found is to rope other people into it and create a challenge with consequences. On one of these bets, I had to spend 30 minutes every day writing in a journal. On the next to last day, I forgot to write anything and had to face the punishment: 2d6 of carrots. Or, in other words, I had to roll two six-sided die and eat as many carrots as the sum of the dice. So, I rolled them and got ten. Ten carrots. The maximum was 12, so this was pretty unlucky. That’s a lot of carrots.

I bought the carrots the next day, and ate all of them (dramatic pause) in one hour. The eighth carrot is where it became more and more difficult, and I started to question my choices. The worst part was that after all of that, I didn’t even feel full. I couldn’t eat anything, because my stomach was full of carrots, but I didn’t feel satisfied because raw carrots are so unsatisfying on their own. If you want to lose weight, try eating ten carrots every day. If you can do that then you’ll probably lose weight in addition to feeling miserable all the time.


I think I have a natural tendency to take horrible risks for no good reason, but trauma in my childhood tempered this tendency into something harmless and silly. My brother has the same tendencies but is less tempered than me, but both of us made it this far.

I chose to represent myself with two stories juxtaposed with a common theme, to mirror the structure of a haiku. After doing this I realized my story can be written as a haiku, that I will end with:

Frozen water's chill
So many carrettes to eat
Life pays folly twice

Thank you.


I’m actually pretty happy with this. It’s not what they asked for but it’s enjoyable to listen to and exposes some aspects of my character that can’t be stated explicitly without sounding like I’m proud of being a fool.


I gave the speech! It went well, I think.