Summer Fun – Toastmasters Meeting 6/20/12

Aloha DBA TMs,

Toastmaster Richard Sullivan, about to embark on vacation himself in a 60s’-era Volkswagen camper van, asked the rest of what we like to do for fun during the summer. Zachary Lee said he had fond memories of the Summer Fun program, especially camping at Camp Erdman. While Christopher Akin chose surfing on the South Shore and Susan Lam the North Shore for swimming, Gaylord Oshiro is setting sail for the shores of Alaska on a cruise.

As the first speaker, I began with the true life occurrence of a man whose life was saved by his girlfriend after he was bitten by a shark, thanks to her tying off his artery with dental floss! Dental floss might also be able to save your life too, I said, leading to my fable (a story with a moral) about two twin brothers, Andy and Grant. Although they shared the same genes, Andy was the more conscientious one and Grant kept putting things off. This was reflected in their higher education choices and careers and yes, even how they took care of their teeth. Grant didn’t bother to floss every day or visit the dentist regularly and eventually developed gum disease, lost some of his teeth, and passed away prematurely from a heart attack.  Research has linked gum disease to other chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, so a floss a day might keep the doctor away!

Our second speaker, Christopher Akin, challenged himself this past week to change up his usual daily habits and do them in a different way each day. These are things we usually do mindlessly, like brushing our teeth (and hopefully flossing), getting dressed, driving to and from work, and our drink choices at Starbucks. By doing things differently, he hoped to become more mindful and in the present, see that there are more options than we think in life from the small to the large choices, and realize why we have these habits and ritualizations. Reasons included: avoiding “decision fatigue;” doing something by habit lets you think at the same time about something else entirely; it’s just more logical to do things in a certain way; and sometimes you just want what you want, like your usual cup of decaf coffee. Chris ended his speech in a different way, by inviting us to stand up and give him a standing ovation, which he justly deserved!

Our third speaker, Gaylord Oshiro, invited us to imagine that we were once again in kindergarten, about to listen to our teacher read us a story. Speaking from the Interpretive Reading manual, Gaylord read us the hilarious children’s book “Skippyjon Jones,” the story of “a Siamese cat who wants to be more than that.” Although Skippyjon is a “kittyboy,” having oversized ears causes him to think that he is actually a Chihuahua dog. He disguises himself with a mask and cape, and imagines himself in Mexico, where he calls himself “El Skippito,” a great sword fighter and does battle with a bean-eating bandito. Gaylord’s rendition of this tongue-twister of a story held us entranced to the end, just as if we were back in our “small-kid” days.

Our esteemed president Hieu Pham apparently heeded Chris’ lesson on changing things, so next week’s meeting will not have our usual agenda. Details are forthcoming. See you next week!


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