Innovative Planning, Level One: Ice Breaker. This foundational project is designed to introduce me to my club and the skills I need to continue my Toastmasters journey. All I need to do is write and deliver a speech about any topic to introduce me to the club.
Good afternoon, fellow Toastmasters and guests. It feels weird to be making another Ice Breaker speech. In the last year-and-a-half I’ve shared a lot about myself: my anxiety disorder, my love of music, and my belief that you should do something that scares you every day. What could I say that you don’t already know?
At some point I realized I might be thinking too big. You know a lot of big things about me, but what about small things? I get a huge kick out of punny jokes, my favorite color is blue, and I love playing games.
For today’s speech, I want to play a game, an ice breaker. It’s called Two Truths and a Lie. Has anyone ever played? For those of you haven’t, or may need a refresher on the rules, here’s how it works: I’m going to tell three stories about myself; it’ll be your job to figure out which two are true, and which is the lie. Sound good?
Awesome. In an effort to keep to a theme, I want to talk about my three biggest childhood injuries.
The first one happened when I was a little over a year old. My mom and grandmother took me to the park for some fresh air and sunshine, and at some point it was decided that I should take a trip on the slide. Not the tiny kid one, one of “big kid” ones. As a first-time parent, my mom was too nervous to let me go by myself, so she sat at the top with me in her lap and we went down together. The trouble happened about halfway down, when my leg slipped between the side of the slide and my mom’s leg. There’s no stopping on those things, so we kept going, and torsion and gravity did its thing. My leg snapped like a little twig. It’s hysterical now — my own mother breaking my leg — but in the moment I imagine it was not funny at all. Especially when I had a reaction to the antibiotic the doctor decided to give me after putting me in a cast, and was covered in spots for weeks.
I remained injury-free for about three years, when my parents enrolled me in a Pre-K program. One of my classmates was named Grant. He was what my teacher probably called “excitable” and my mother definitely called “annoying.” One day we lined up to go play outside, and my teacher made the lamentable decision of making Grant the line-leader. He opened the door before he was supposed to, and soon enough the teacher noticed and asked him to close it. Unfortunately, I had made the equally lamentable decision to be fiddling with the door hinge as I stood in line. A four year old’s pinky finger stands no chance against a heavy oak door. I remember holding my hand and crying, and I remember the doctor putting the cast on. What I’ve blissfully forgotten is getting sick halfway through the six weeks I had to wear the cast, and vomiting onto and in it.
My last big accident happened a year later, in Kindergarten. My class took a field trip to the local fire station, where we learned all about how to look for smoke, feel the door to see if it was warm, and how to stop, drop, and roll. I was so excited to tell my parents everything I’d learned. My sharing culminated that evening at home, where I demonstrated stop, drop, and roll — a little too enthusiastically, because I stopped, dropped, and rolled headfirst into our brick fireplace. I didn’t need any stitches, thankfully, but my mother has told me that I quote, “Bled and hollered like a stuck pig.”
I am, knock wood, no longer nearly as injury-prone as I was in childhood, but I do still manage to klutz it up now and then — most recently when I ate it off our back patio and had a Band Aid on my head for a week. But at least it makes for good storytelling…and topics for Toastmasters speeches.
Okay, guys, we’ve got a few seconds left. Which two stories are true, they actually happened to me, and which is the lie? There’s the leg break, the pinky break, and the head injury. Any guesses?
Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash