Home » Death and Dying » My Worst Speech EVER

My Worst Speech EVER

Last night I gave the worst speech of my life.  Everything that could go wrong, did.

I misunderstood the start time, and arrived late to the venue. Many of the seats in the once-filled room were now empty. People were partying audibly in the hallway.  I walked out onto the empty stage and discovered the fly of my pants was open.  I turned around to zip it, and when I turned back, a large potted plant blocked me.  I stepped around the plant to start speaking, and immediately began stammering nonsense.  An audience member in the front row imitated me and laughed. I finally found my words, but they were somewhere in the middle of my talk– everything was out of sequence.  I couldn’t find my place in my notes. Another audience member began lecturing about what I was doing wrong, and I had to ask him to be quiet so I could continue.  As I spoke, people stood up and walked out.  When I finished, none of the few remaining attendees clapped or looked at me.  I walked out of the building to find people on the street commenting to each other about how bad my speech had been.

I completely failed to deliver an effective speech.  And …

The world did not end. Life continued.

Living with metastatic cancer gives one a different perspective about small things like failure.  I don’t want to waste precious time fretting over what hasn’t gone right in my life.

Failure won’t kill me. It just teaches me what to do better the next time.

Like not having spicy barbeque sauce on a snack before bed.  It gives me weird dreams.  I’d rather not have that dream again.*
*Added that last sentence about 5 hours after the original post — evidently people didn’t catch my hint that this was a dream.  Sorry I was too subtle.  I don’t often hear that adjective applied to me!

16 thoughts on “My Worst Speech EVER

  1. Ahhh, how frustrating. We’ve all had really bad moments like that due to either not being as prepared as we thought we were or being thrown off our game due to unexpected circumstances. Yes, we should just take each one in stride as another [painful] learning experience. I know it wasn’t you having trouble, just the crazy circumstances, so have a laugh and move on stronger.

    Best hopes,



  2. I sooo appreciate the outpouring of compassion and support here, on Facebook, and on Inspire!

    It’s rare that I’m too subtle, but this time, I apparently was. The last sentence of the blog was intended to explain it was only a BBQ-sauce-induced dream. I honestly was NOT attempting to fool anyone. I’ve edited the post so that no one else will think I actually experienced this catastrophe.

    That’ll teach me to blog before breakfast.


  3. Your posts, and your writing is so wonderful. This is just a little unfortunate blip on the radar screen of life. And you’ve got so much life yet to live!!

    Also wanted to share, I am filled with sadness because the wife of one of my colleagues died on Thursday – from lung cancer. She was only 52. A non-smoker….


    • Oh, Julie, I’m so sorry to hear about your colleague’s wife. Lung cancer claims so many younger people! Please pass my condolences on to your colleague.


    • Sorry to hear about your colleague’s wife, Julie. Yes, cancer doesn’t play fair — even some young fitness fanatic organic vegetarian never-smokers can get it. So researchers have to work really hard in the hope that someday we’ll be able to outsmart it for a long time.

      Best hopes,



  4. Apparently….the fact that this was a nightmare went right over my head. I was all prepared to give a supportive response when I found out it WAS nightmare. Heck…I’ll give it anyway.
    Everybody has a bad day from time to time. Every great baseball player strikes out once in awhile. They just come back another time and try it all over again to get a hit. Same thing holds true here.


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