This Week in Toastmasters: It’s the End of the World as We Know it (and I Feel Fine)

Put on a Cosby sweater, guzzle some egg nogg and see how many viewings of “A Christmas Story” you can watch on TNT before you go insane and tie yourself to the side of your house with blinking lights like some sort of holiday-themed Ahab. It’s ….


Most of you are already out of the office, likely hiding in the nearest bunker in preparation for the Mayan Apocalypse everyone’s been talking about lately, so we’ll be brief (ha ha…right!).

I think it’s funny. In 1999, when everyone was sure Y2K would wipe out civilization as we know it and throw us back into the dark ages, there was a genuine, collective concern that the world would end. I remember my mom calling, worried she wouldn’t survive once the power went out and the zombies attacked.

“It’s just a computer glitch,” I said. “This kind of stuff happens all the time. Don’t worry. I’m a programmer. Glitches are what we do.”

Jan 1, 2000 came and went without much fanfare. I was glad, too, because a lot of the people I knew were convinced the world was ending and secretly suspected that, since I was a computer nerd, I had something to do with it. I tried calming them down, but it never seemed to work.

“If something does happen – and I’m not saying it will – it won’t be me. I work for a university. Now, if I ever get a job with a multi-national financial services corporation … THEN you have something to worry about. “

Now, however, the quasi-impending Armageddon of Mayan proportions seems to be more of a joke than an actual real thing that sane people care about. Apocalyptic scenarios are a dime a dozen these days. Nobody notices. It makes me wonder what would happen if, say, scientists discovered several real threats to our way of life.

Would people just shrug and say, “Meh. Walking Dead is on!”

Things to ponder on a cold afternoon in December.


We had a meeting last week. It was lots of fun. Mike Warren shared his thoughts on creation and the real meaning of Christmas. Brian Dietz gave us a message about our the way we use time and energy in our lives. Great speeches, guys. Way to go!

This week, we had our Winter Potluck, which consisted of everyone eating a bunch of food and talking about the one thing they wanted when they were a child. Or, if they couldn’t think of anything, the one thing they want now (the one thing I want now is French Fries, but I’m not sure that’s in the spirit of the event). Many thanks to Liz, Crystal and Laura for planning and running the whole thing. You were awesome as always!


  • Our next official meeting is January 10 in the usual place (1P2359) at the usual time (11:30 – 12:30). Be there or be a parallelogram sides of equal length.
  • The Evaluation Contest is Jan 17. We need some contestants, some judges, some timers, some ballot counters and some background go-go dancers. Go sign up for stuff on the website. I’m running this contest so, please, don’t make me look dumber than normal.
  • The International Speech Contest is Jan 31. Same deal (minus the go-go dancers). Crystal is running this one. She never looks dumb. That’s because she’s very smart.


You might remember us discussing the DCP earlier this year. Just in case you didn’t, the DCP includes a list of ten goals towards which each club works to achieve success. Last time I shared info with you, we had achieved 4 goals. Since then, we’ve had a few people achieve some educational awards and a few new members join. Once we get all the paperwork shuffled into the right piles (which will take place in early January), we’ll have completed 8 DCP goals for the Toastmasters year.

The Toastmasters year runs through June, so it’s looking like we’ll get all 10 for the second year in a row. Great job, everyone! As we move into 2013, start thinking about your goals for the second half of the Toastmasters year. How close are you to that next speaking or leadership award? We’ve got the contests coming up. Why not throw your hat in the ring? We’ll be electing new officers before too terribly long. Have you thought about taking the next step in club leadership?

What do YOU want to do? If you have a few, spare moments. Let me know at joseph (dot) e (dot) shaw (at) therestoftheaddress (dot) com.

Finally, Blessedly, This “Brief” E-Mail Comes To A Close

I’d just like to say that it’s been a privilege working with all of you this year. We’re almost to the halfway mark and we’ve done a lot. Let’s see if we can take our club to even higher levels of craziness starting in January. Seriously. I want each and every one of us to go the Spring Conference in April, and I want everyone there to say, “Something’s wrong with those people. They’re strange.”

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