What I learned giving speeches when I was 12

Bill Pearse

Bill youngIn last week’s Democratic National Convention comedian Sarah Silverman quoted her shrink, who said ‘we don’t get what we want, we get what we think we deserve.’

I don’t remember why I chose to compete in an oratorical contest when I was 12, didn’t know it really meant, didn’t understand what the Optimist Club of Allentown was, but I wrote a speech, and it was about encouraging people to vote.

My speech coach was named Rick Sharp: and even though it was the 1980s, he was in the 70s still with his glasses, his hair and beard, the tie he wore the nights I competed. I don’t remember much about the speech or Rick, but I can see how his eyes narrowed as he focused on me while I practiced, how he twisted the hair beneath his lips, the kind of advice he gave me to be natural, to relax

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