How did this funny speaker get his start?
My career as a funny motivational speaker had it’s beginning when I served with a group of guys as National Officers of a youth organization (FFA) 40 years ago. We spent a year criss-crossing this country thanking donors, speaking at youth events, and attending conventions. Hadn’t seen some of these fellas in a long time. First thing I appreciated is how great it is to hang out with somebody your own age. We all look much better standing next to each other than next to a bunch of twenty somethings. Remember that tip. I don’t have many but that’s a keeper.
We’ve all had varied careers, an internationally recognized dairy farmer, the longest running elected official in Florida, a lobbyist for two Presidents of the United States, a successful executive of a major dairy product manufacturer (who couldn’t attend), and me…a funny speaker. Yep, I was humbled. I think I’ll use the term “humorist” instead of funny speaker…sounds more intelligent. But then again, nope, I’m a funny speaker. More explanatory.
Over the course of a long weekend, I noticed we had many of the same complaints about society and many of the same life experiences. Back in the day we would have been talking about women and sports, but this time we spent a lot of time talking about medical conditions and the value of a good nap. We all think the latter is way underrated. And of course we’re at the age where we struggle with change and pace. We don’t understand why they did away with hotel room keys (what’s my room number?) and we all agree that people just drive way too fast. Yep, we got old. Proven by the fact that when we went to a mall with many levels and parking garages, we couldn’t find our cars when it was time to leave. In fact, most of the time AT the mall was spent trying to GET OUT OF the mall.
Our memories could be called into question as well, because I’m not sure we were as smart, witty, and talented as our recounted stories made us out to be. But who is going to debate us on that stuff anyway, most of the people who could are in a cemetery somewhere.
I also noticed that we had all over-married. To the man, we had out-kicked our coverage. At least we were over-achievers in one category. And food and drink is much more important than it was when we were twenty, in fact the entire weekend was basically centered around eating and drinking. If the reunion was measured by calories and beverages, it was a huge success. You know that’s your focal point when your agenda includes “meeting for desert at 8 PM”. We waddled home.
We traveled to see the family of another teammate who had passed away, and realized that as we’ve aged we’ve apparently shrunk. Or maybe his three boys in the 6’5″ and up range just made us feel that way. It was a great time and the family had made our visit a big deal, evidenced by the fact they had installed new carpet and repainted the living room. I was impressed. Most people won’t vacuum for me, let alone redecorate.
But this was the most beautiful thing of the gathering. Some of us had not seen each other in over 30 years, but we hung out as if no time had passed and we were back at it again as 20-year-old road warriors. We picked up right where we left off. I’ve always heard that was a sign of great friendship. Now I know it to be true.
Mark Mayfield…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message