After dissing Sarah Palin last week, I will now defend her against those who mock her for referring to notes written on her palm during a speech at a recent Tea Party Convention. Of course, my defense is not terribly nuanced or otherwise sophisticated. It boils down to “so what?” I actually find it charming. So quaint and low-tech. It also shows that she must not have sweaty palms. That’s something I admire in a public figure, for sure.
I understand she’s taken pot shots at the President for his teleprompter-dependency, but everybody does that. Using a teleprompter for your speeches isn’t funny, but carrying it with you everywhere like it’s your woobie is kind of funny. And you know what? I find that kind of charming, too.
I myself am not a good public speaker. I don’t much fear speaking in public anymore, but that is only because I don’t much fear making a fool of myself publicly anymore. It happens, and, you know, the sun also rises, so then we move on. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to speak in public, though. Six years, probably. That was the last time I had to give a talk in church. I didn’t write notes on my palm, nor did I use a teleprompter. I did use notes. A lot of them. What I had to remember wouldn’t have fit on the palm of my hand, even if I’d used both hands. I would write out the whole thing, but I wouldn’t ever want to just read a talk–not because that’s boring, but because if it ends up sucking, there’s very little cover. If I appear to be winging it, people are more likely to cut me some slack. “Well, yes, that was an awful talk, but obviously she was unprepared.” The truth is that I’m very well-prepared; I’m just that bad at talking. But that’s neither here nor there.
Usually when I’m giving a talk, I will refer to my notes dutifully during the first three minutes, and then I will inevitably lose my place or accidentally jump ahead and not be able to remember what I ought to say next. That’s when I decide to end things as soon as possible, whether I’m finished or not. Then people will say, “Yes, well, at least she didn’t speak for very long.”
My husband is a much better speaker than I am. This puts me at a great disadvantage when we’re having a disagreement. It is much harder to articulate your arguments when your brain shuts off the second you open your mouth. This is the main reason my husband and I don’t fight much anymore. In order to make things fair, he’d have to wear a bunch of handicapping devices, a la Harrison Bergeron. And I’d have to write notes on my palm like Sarah Palin. Or maybe I would splurge on a teleprompter, depending on how badly I wanted to win.