Penniless Tim

November 10, 2010

Embarrassing Moments – Speech Class 101

Filed under: College,Humor — Tim @ 11:19 pm
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Embarrassing moments litter our lives (and their recyclable).  Oversleeping, forgetting to change, and entering the classroom tardy attired in Mickey Mouse pajamas or wearing a nerdy, one of a kind, aquamarine, fluffy, Mom purchased 1/2 price store discount rack nylon sweater into the first day of high school and discovering your best friend (who sits next to you in four classes) is wearing the same one of a kind, 1/2 price store discount rack sweater purchased by his Mom.  The pajamas were a dream while the sweater was a nightmare.  Years later, I still become flushed in the presence of fluffy sweaters.  One of my more memorable (or unmemorable) embarrassing moments was the second day of Iowa State University’s Speech Class 101.

Public speaking is not my forte.  I’d rather wear a nerdy, fluffy, aquamarine sweater into high school than give a speech  (including talking to myself in the mirror).  Full of witty comebacks when everyone leaves the room, writing is my preference – start with some garbled words, rewrite, borrow ideas off the internet, and mix until words almost make sense (C. S. Lewis has nothing to fear).  Unfortunately, you cannot graduate college without a public speaking course.  On a positive note, speech class is bound to have more females than Differential Equations or Physics and women are required to engage in conversation (at least during class).

It was my sophomore year’s spring schedule and I needed an additional course – options were Differential Equations at 8 AM or Speech at 11 AM . Differential Equations is a prerequisite for numerous other courses and failure to complete quickly would delay graduation while Speech is only a graduation prerequisite and could be the last class completed before graduation.  The choice was obvious – I opted for sleep and chose Speech class.

On the first day of class, I confidently marched into the classroom and sat front and center in the back row.  Within several minutes, our professor briskly walked into the room and loudly introduced herself as Professor Talksalot (name changed to protect the innocent and my bad memory).  She instantly commanded attention with her military speaking tone, authoritative presence, and interesting appearance – visualize Janis Joplin dressed like Sarah Palin.  Professor Talksalot emphasized two goals for Speech 101 – expand public speaking abilities and better communication skills with each other.  She promptly rendered our first assignment – a comprehensive speech introducing ourselves.

I was a bundle of nerves the entire week preceding class.  The key to Speech class is preparation and I prepared more than I’d ever prepared for anything – more than the twenty minutes spent preparing for the ACT test, more than the thirty minutes practicing trombone for the school marching band parade, and even more than the forty minutes shooting free-throws before my first junior high basketball game (darn near got in the game, too).  True to my word, I began preparing the speech well before midnight the evening before speech class and spent an entire Late Night with David Letterman episode reviewing and revising the speech.  My masterpiece was complete!

Early next morning after oversleeping breakfast (again), I confidently sauntered into Speech Class 101 and, feeling a little cocky, sat in the next to last row.  A few minutes later Professor Talksalot marched into the classroom, viewed her notes, skipped small talk, and commanded, “Everyone rearrange the chairs into a large circle!  Our first speaker shall be Robert Bauers.”

Silently we loudly dragged our chairs into a circle until I heard Professor Talksalot announce, ” Oh, sorry, Bauers already dropped the class!  Our first speaker shall be Timothy Scott.  Tim, please go to the center of the circle and start when you’re ready.”

My mind began racing with thoughts,  “What?!  First!  I couldn’t win a drawing if I was by myself, but she picks me out of thirty.  I can’t believe it – why don’t we go in alphabetical order or tall people first!  Slow down heart!  Calm down! Take a deep breath! Breath in, breath out.  Take a step.  Breath in!  Did I put on deodorant?  Why isn’t it working?  Walk toward the circle.  Breathe.  One more step.  Breathe.  Walk into the circle.  Walk to the center. Breathe.  I’m sweating like a pig, can anyone tell?  Everyone is staring at me!  Oh no, I wore my pajamas!  Breathe!  Whew, I don’t have on pajamas.  They’re still staring at me!  What am I going to say?  Breathe!  Pretend everyone is all naked!  It’s not working!  Everyone is staring, is my fly open?  Breathe!  Concentrate!  Say something!  Say anything!”

Perfectly calm and collected, I made eye contact with an empty chair and squeaked, “Uh, hi, my name is, um, um, Tim.  Tonight’s top ten, um, uh, sorry, sorry!”

I quoted David Letterman!  A perfectly rehearsed speech gone awry in the first sentence.  Embarrassment flushed my cheeks, but I stood firm, reestablished eye contact with the chair, and mumbled in my clearest voice, “I live in, um, the Hanson Dormitory at, uh, Larch Hall and am, uh, from, uh, Sioux City.”

Twenty seconds down!  Emboldened, mumbled nearly intelligible words escaped as I became a Polka performer in a Cirque du Soleil show.  I stammered, “I’m an engineering major,” stuttered “Tom is my brother,” mumbled “I have a dog Herman,” jabbered, “I’m wearing Fruit of the Loom,” grumbled “Dorm food isn’t good,” sputtered “My shoes are a  9 1/2!” and continued discussing modern relevant issues with my friend the empty chair.

Finally, I reached the once rehearsed speeches’ end and my two left feet verbal dance was over.  Or was it?  Daring a glance in Professor Talksalot’s direction , the wall clock perched above her head screamed, “It’s only been two minutes!  That isn’t a comprehensive speech!”

Panic should have overwhelmed me, but the empty chair’s thoughtful presence gave comfort as an eerie calmness enshrouded me.  Suddenly, a dangerous thought raced through my mind, “So Talksalot wants something comprehensive, does she?  I’ll give her something to comprehend!”

In the next few minutes, a lifetime of emotions flowed to the surface.  I psychoanalyzed personal decisions, shared dreams unfulfilled, identified nightmares realized, and became a verbal pugilist squaring off against deep seated emotions in the company of thirty new intimate friends.  Finishing the speech with an intuitive jab and emotional roundhouse, I made eye contact with my new found friends.  A strange, empty look permeated the room.  What did it mean?  Suddenly, I recognized the gaze – a sane person observing an insane outburst (or a cheerleader’s glazed gaze when I ask her out on a date).  Humiliation coursed through my body followed by an explosion of deep, insightful thoughts, “I’m a knucklehead!  What am I thinking?  Can I drop out of class?  Should I change my name?  I need my Mommy!”

I cowered from the circle’s center and searched for a back row seat.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a back row in a circle (circle of life my ***).  An empty chair, my only friend, beckoned and I burrowed into the seat.  Professor Talksalot meticulously called forth other students and the next 110 minutes deep were filled with emotional speeches such as, “My name is Bill and I like Vanilla ice cream.  I’m a Tri Delta and have a cat named Fuzzy.  I really don’t have a favorite color, but am fond of blue and green.  I chose engineering because I enjoy making things.  My favorite place in the whole world is Lacross, Wisconsin.  I have ten fingers and ten toes.  Salt is salty.  Turkey canoe has cheese.”

Finally, the onward march of one minute speeches mercifully ended – 29 speeches completed in 29 minutes with one fifteen minute speech kicking it off.  Melded with the chair, I waited for everyone’s departure before giving the chair a big hug and exiting the room.  Aimlessly meandering about campus for several hours, I finally gathered enough composure to attend another class – how could I restore my confidence!?  Entering the classroom, I found every back row seat occupied, twenty shoe staring, eye contact avoiding, Stark Trek loving students, and a bearded, Birkenstock wearing, bow tie attired professor staring at his own shoes – Computer Science to the rescue!

November 5, 2010

Vapid Vaporizer – not!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tim @ 8:16 pm

Amelia has bravely battled a cold the last few days (as opposed to cowardly battled a cold). Each night, she’s decided to wake up around 12:30 AM or, to be more precise, exactly when Mom and Dad are just falling into a deep sleep. Amelia has a nasty little cough and I decided to save the day by climbing into the attic and retrieving the steam vaporizer.

Setting up the vaporizer as Michelle soothed (or attempted to) Amelia, I filled it with water and plugged her into the wall (vaporizer – not Michelle or Amelia). Laying on the floor, half asleep, I awaited the magical steam, but none came out of the darn thing. I could feel heat coming from the heating element, but no steam. Finally it hit me, put salt in the water. It would be easy to claim scientific brilliance (sleeping through five semesters of physics finally paying off), but I’d actually read the directions several years before in a moment of weakness.

Genius always rears it’s brilliant head when you are half awake at 1 AM. I grabbed a salt shaker downstairs, came back into the bedroom, and picked up the heating element out of the water (still plugged into the wall). Trying to determine if it was working, I turned it sideways. Suddenly, I was fully awoken when boiling hot water ran onto my leg. I felt like McDonalds had just served me coffee. Lucky for me, my trusty jeans saved the day and I only received a slight singe. I’m just happy I wasn’t trying to see if the motor was actually running – steam into the ear would be tough to explain and still look tough at the emergency room.

Speaking of staying up all night, here is neat little video: Stay Up Late

October 24, 2010

Fall Tradition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tim @ 8:50 pm

Iowa migrant workers visit Georgia

In keeping with our fall tradition, we picked apples in Ellijay, GA and brought home two pecks of Mutsu and Rome Delicious.  At only $12 per peck, $5 orchard entry fee per person (Centenarians and under 4 weeks free), $3 per soda, and $10 hay rides, they were practically giving away the apples.  After adding gas expenses, those apples were only about $3 each.  We wanted to go Blueberry picking as well, but unfortunately the bank loan didn’t come through in time.  Luckily, we’re eligible for a stimulus grant (saving 5 jobs – see picture above).  The next time I need to max the credit cards, I’ll just take the kids to an Atlanta Braves game or buy some popcorn at the movie theatre.

October 23, 2010

Christmas 1998

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tim @ 10:45 pm

Call me silly, sentimental, or just supercilious, but I’ve kept all my old Christmas card letters.  Not ones sent to me, mind you, ones I’ve written.  In some narcissistic way, I’m thinking they will be used by some future Tim Scott biographer – documenting the life and times of the world’s most famous something.  I was always certain my famous something was going to really be something, but now my famous something may be not being famous for anything.  Sometimes something is better than nothing even if your something really was nothing.  Wow, my logic sounds like a politician!  And by the way, does anyone know the definition of supercilious – I heard some smart guy use it once and liked the s sounds.

Anyway, I thought it would be funny if I posted an old Christmas Card letter from my ancient past.  Now all of my loyal followers (the two people I email about my blog post) can get a chuckle from how quickly my life has taken a different course.  Here it is:

Dear Friends & Family!
We shall be experiencing our 2nd Christmas as a married couple in Carson
City, NV – staying with Tim’s older (and not nearly as athletic) brother Tom and his six kids (and very busy wife Mary).  We shall enjoy the on the job training with Tom and Mary’s kids before we hopefully make the plunge ourselves in the near future (a year 2000 baby – Mille Enium Scott).

After Christmas, we’re driving to California for two weeks of adventure in San Francisco, Monterey, and Wine Country.  They say California is like a bowl of Granola -if it is not a nut, it’s a flake (I wonder where Michelle and I will fit in).  Neither one of us has ever stayed in the Northern California area and we’re extremely excited about our trip.  If anyone has suggestions for the area, your more than welcome to call us before we leave on December 22 – of course, we¹d be ecstatic if you called us for any reason (but don’t try
to get us to change our long distance carrier).

Michelle is continuing to enjoy life as a freelance graphic designer with her office in the house.  She is keeping extremely busy and enjoys being her own (as well as Tim’s) boss.  Some of her projects range from graphic identities for retail malls, to logos, to company brochures.  The stress level is a whole lot lower than her Olympic projects and she
actually has time to work out, paint (pictures – not the house), and enjoy life with her husband (which makes us both happy).

I (Tim) am continuing to run my own copier/fax/printer business.  It’s been quite an exciting year even though I haven’t gotten any smarter in my business – just a whole lot more knowledgeable.  I’m seriously considering whether to try and expand the business during the upcoming year (and essentially eliminating any free time) or sell my share of
the company to my partner and pursue different avenues (and not work for myself).  It’s a tough choice, but I’m extremely excited about the new year no matter which route I pursue (if anyone knows a job with extremely high pay, lots of vacation, and little work required – I’ll definitely sell the business).

Michelle and I wish everyone a Merry Christmas with Santa making three stops at your house and a Happy New Year full of nothing but happiness, humor, good health, and winning lottery numbers.

Happy Holidays!
Michelle and Tim S

October 19, 2010

Call the police, there’s a tricycle in my driveway!

Filed under: Neighbors — Tim @ 3:43 pm

Life with five small children remains hectic, unpredictable, and full of small precious moments surrounded by nonsensical behavior.  Amazingly, the nonsensical behavior came from our neighbors – unbearably busy raising one child while a mother-in-law cleans their house every day.

Michelle was in front of the house watching Laurel (5), Sophia (3), and Amelia(1) when Sophia had a bathroom emergency.  Michelle rushed Sophia into the house (with Amelia on her hip) and into the bathroom – narrowly avoiding the bathroom disaster.  Emerging back outside with the girls, Michelle spotted our neighbors Steve Martini (41) and Jeri Martini (40) pulling into their driveway.  Unfortunately, Sophia had left her tricycle in the center of the neighbors driveway (devious three year old probably did it on purpose – we all know about those insidious preschool plots).  Inside the Martini car, Jeri began screaming and violently jerking her arms up and down while banging on the car horn – quite a natural emotion when confronted by a tricycle.  Michelle immediately came out, recognized the egregiousness of the situation, removed the tricycle and apologized twice.  Apparently it was not enough!  Jeri complained it was not the first time something has been left in their yard (the horrors!).  Steve even got into the action and asked Michelle if there was a problem (even though he was in the front seat with his wife).  Showing their god given intelligence, they iterated it was dangerous because Francine (their cleaning lady who sometimes doubles as a Mom) can’t see well and might hit the tricycle – I guess scratching your paint is more of a danger to them than running over a child.  The Martinis proceeded to fume, huff, and puff back into their cozy little house. What is truly amazing is that we never leave anything in their yard!  I know they are some of the world’s biggest neat freaks and would panic if toys were ever found in their yard.  They have a garage floor cleaner than our kitchen table (not really an amazing task on most nights).

Michelle came into the house and informed me of the neighbors’ reactions.  Being a calm person, my initial reaction was to properly place the tricycle inside their rectum.  Slowly my temperature lowered and I began to view it as quite humorous and visualized different reactions they may have in the future (it will happen again if I have to ride the tricycle myself).  Oh my god, there is a tricycle in my driveway!  How will we ever get into our house!  Call 911!  Call a moving van, we cannot take these intrusions into our life!  I never realized Jeri was really either Bewitched’s Gladys Kravitz or Margot Chester from Christmas Vacation.

I now have a tricycle revenge master plan and it is only dependent  upon winning the lottery (at least $30 million).  Immediately upon collecting the lottery winnings, we shall purchase a beautiful new home.  Instead of selling our current house, I am going to rent to the biggest redneck family in Georgia – at least 10 kids from six different marriages without a dentist visit to their name.  I shall provide free beer throughout the year, the loudest available indoor/outdoor stereo system, six disco balls, two backyard Tiki huts, the largest pickup truck on the market (muffler optional), and free hubcaps.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I don’t think God is going to reward me with the winning lottery numbers this week (alright – I won’t include the hubcaps).

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