Part of the mission of the Midlife Chronicles is to take advantage of every opportunity to reflect on those things in life that get better with age. This week, join me as I delve into one of those things…the ability to tolerate rubber chicken speeches.
Allow me to explain (as I once again cautiously avoid talking too specifically about work). Every now and then, as those in my profession have occasion to do, I attend business luncheons. Recently I attended one that, for some unknown reason, didn’t have an agenda. This meant that speakers were free to go on for as long as they could stand to hear themselves bloviate…I mean speak.
I was sitting next to a young exec. I could tell he was young, not just by appearance, but because he was wearing a rather large UGA ring that, which unlike my old SU ring, had a graduation year that started with ‘20’.
We struck up conversation over our…wait for it…chicken entrée (which was overcooked and under seasoned).
On comes the second speaker of the day, he gets off to a strong start, but toward the middle he starts sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher.
So as I’m sitting there thinking this guy could use a charter membership to Toastmasters, I hear what sounds like a raspy hiss. It reminded me of that sound you hear when you try to tune in an AM station on a transistor radio (For those of you who don’t know what an ‘AM station’ is or a ‘transistor radio’, my apologies).
Then out of the corner of my eye, I see the future CEO sitting next to me is dozing off. Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except I thought Bulldog boy was going to go all sleep apnea on me and I’d have to dust off my questionable mouth to mouth skills.
Fortunately, it was a pretty packed house and the other folks at the table were either checking their BlackBerry/iPhone/Droid devices, paying attention to the speaker, or like me and a couple of others, sharing knowing grins.
What is striking about this little episode is that this kid could have been me, especially ‘me’ twenty years ago when I viewed sleep as something to kill the time between Letterman and the morning news.
As we’ve discussed in these pages, sleep is my friend and I’ll do what it takes to make sure I get enough of it. Did I know this in my youth, of course not, but that’s the beauty of the middle ages. Now excuse me while I take my little blue pill and go nite-nite!
Oh, so what happened to Mr. UGA? I think he’s still napping and dreaming about the amazing career he is going to have once he learns how to stay awake and endure the torture that is the rubber chicken business luncheon!