BTRIPP (btripp) wrote,

Did Speech #3 tonight ...

Well, went and did Speech #3 tonight ... pretty short notice given that I just got done writing it on Monday, but it went well enough. It was called "Rocketman" and was anchored around this book which I mentioned having gotten a copy of last month.

Just in case you were interested, here's my speech, complete with my timing notations and "stage directions):

Speech #3 - "ROCKETMAN"

Thank you, M. Toastmaster,
fellow Toastmasters, and honored guests.

As the years roll by,
I find myself becoming an embittered old man.

Needless to say, a good deal of this malaise
IS rooted in a personally very trying period
over the past decade or so ...

but what I'm more specifically wanting to address
is a sense of disappointment, or even betrayal,
for dreams unmet and promises unkept.


As I approach my 50th year in this incarnation,
I look back at what we had hoped
to be a fabulous future,
full of limitless technological advances.


While it is true
that I have seen many marvelous developments ...
from my first calculator
(which was, oddly enough, manufactured by Gillette),
that had a red LED read-out
and very limited functionality
to the Casio "data bank" that I wear on my wrist.


And from my first computer,
the Timex/Sinclair ZX81,
which loaded programs via cassette tapes
and allowed me to play blackjack on an old TV set,
to the remarkable machines
that enable me to waste all my time
interfacing with the Internet
from virtually any place I happen to be.


Of course, it is also true
that technology has, in some areas,
far outstripped the vision of previous generations.

Looking back at the gadgets
that Dick Tracy had at his disposal,
one has to wonder what its writers would have thought
of nearly every teenage girl having the equivalent
of a two-way wrist TV sitting in her purse ...

LONG before some real-world Diet Smith
had set up space-based manufacturing.


Ah, but this brings me to SPACE


The final frontier.

And, to many of the folks in my generation,
very much the promised land.


I don't think that people
who did NOT grow up in the 50's and 60's
can really appreciate
what "space" meant for those of us who did.

For the children
of the late 50's and early 60's
space was EVERYWHERE
from newspaper headlines of Sputnik
to the fantastic GOOG-EE design craze,
and Walt Disney's vision of Tomorrowland as
"a living blueprint of our future"

The promise of off-world adventure
permeated the culture.


And I'm not just talking The Jestsons here,
this was no joke,
this was an expectation,
a reality,
and to a child of six or seven,
a COVENANT no less binding
than being good for Santa Claus!


And, then, there was THIS ...
(pull out book)
This was, for me,
at age five or six
the Bible,
the Bill of Rights,
the manual by which to plan my future.


(show cover)
This is You WILL GO to the Moon ...
not you MIGHT go
not "given a certain confluence of
technological and cultural advances"
you COULD go ...
no, this is You WILL GO to the Moon.


I can not adequately explain
just how deeply burned into my psyche
the images and descriptions of this book are.

This is not my old copy,
but one I bought on eBay for this speech ...

but when I opened it up
something inside of me twisted
with an anguished feeling of loss.


(open book)
See that ...
(turn section)
It doesn't look like any real rocket
but it's what our dreams looked like!


(turn section)
Dreams of blasting off into space
(turn section)
and off to space stations,
wheeling in orbit long before Kubrik
created space hotels for 2001.


(turn section)
Dreams of space shuttles
that would take us from Earth orbit
and comfortably off to the Moon,
(turn section)
enjoying TV and games and snacks
as we hurtled through space!


(turn section)
Dreams of Moon landings
(turn page)
and space suits,
(turn page)
and "Moon cars"
(turn page)
and high adventures
(turn page)
on the lunar surface.


All in the PROMISE
of exploration,
(turn page)
exciting vistas
of "where you WILL live on the moon"!


In fact the words "may go"
only come up on the very last page
(turn page)
when looking out towards Mars ...
for THAT they had a caveat!


Needless to say, as the years ran on,
it at first seemed
that these dreams were real,
I was 12 years old
when Apollo 11 landed on the Moon,

While not being the small child
going on a lunar vacation by himself,
I could certainly be
one of the bright young fellows
populating the space station and moon base!

Couldn't I?

It WAS coming, right?
Space, the Moon, Mars, all of that?


But with every year
the dream grew dimmer,
the hopeful technological visions
of our childhood
crumbled into the dust
typically left by fairies,
unicorns, and human decency.


So here I stand,
after nearly a half century
holding a book
which fired my childhood dreams
and wondering
what went wrong with the world.


Even as the Apollo missions were still flying,
signs were showing up
that things were not well with the dream
as Elton John sang in 1972:
"I think it's gonna be a long long time"


And it has been.
And it continues to be.

And I'm never going
to be going to the Moon
despite all those promises
that I'd be a "rocketman".


Thank you very much.

1955 - Tomorrowland - "a living blueprint of our future"
1957 - Sputnik
1959 - YWGTTM
62-3 - The Jetsons
1969 - Moon landing
1972 - Rocketman

I'm going to be interested to see the video (which they've been recently posting on the Extreme Toastmasters web site), both to see how I did and what I need to work on, but also to see how the lighting looks now. Conveniently, the two light stands I got on eBay last week got delivered this afternoon, and I was able to grab another clamp light and reflector shade and have two decent lights set up.

Part of the problem is that Extreme meets in an apartment building's party room, and there is only indirect soft light in there, so most of the videos so far look like we're working in a cave. The last set (with one light) was a bit better, but I'm hoping with two they'll look clear. Also, right now we just have two 100w flourescent bulbs, which are great in that nothing gets hot, but not quite like having a flood or spotlight in play. Hopefully these will throw enough light for the videos to be OK ... otherwise we'll have to start messing with other options ... I guess the next step would be to move up from 100w bulbs to something brighter, but it's already a bit "glare in the eyes" up there, so I'm hoping that we won't have to!

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Tags: toastmasters
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