A Funny Speaker gives Communication Tips

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A Funny Speaker Interprets the Genders

I make a living as a funny speaker, but I’ve picked up some great communication tips over the years. May I share?

Let’s be honest.  Men and women are terrible communicators with each other.  You know what I’m talking about…saying one thing but actually meaning another.  I will lay blame on both sexes, that way both of you will be equally offended by this writing.
So in an attempt to clarify a few things, I’ve been compiling interpretations over the years.  I’m know I’m just a funny speaker, but truly believe this will help both genders understand the other.  I just wanna make the world a happier place.  I’m that type a guy.
Here goes nothing:
Man says “it’s a guy thing”, means “I have no rational thought pattern connected to this activity.   Don’t even try to make it logical”.
Woman says “you need to be a better communicator”, means “shut up and agree.  You’re wrong”.
Man says “that’s interesting dear”, means “I haven’t been listening for the last five minutes”.
Woman says “I’ll be ready in a minute”, means “go ahead and catch another loop of Sports Center”.
Man says “you look terrific”, means “please don’t try on another outfit, I’m starving”.
Woman says “go ahead, do what you want”, means “you’ll pay for it later.  Think again”.
Man says “take a break honey, you’re working too hard”, means “shut off the vacuum cleaner I can’t hear the game”.
Woman says “do you love me”, means “I just bought something really expensive”.
Man says “I could never love anyone else”, means “I’m really used to the way you yell at me.  Comfortable is good and it could be much worse”.
Woman says “we need to talk”, means “you’ve screwed up so sit down, this is gonna take a while”.
Man says “I am listening, I just have a lot of things on my mind”, means “I wonder if that redhead over there is wearing a bra”.
Woman says “does this outfit make my butt look big”.  Seriously guys, if you need to have that one interpreted then none of the above is going to help.  Enjoy your bachelor pad.

Mark Mayfield…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message

Funny Speaker – Funny (and ornery) Grandkids

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A Funny Speaker’s Grandkids…Archer, Delaney, Everett, Reid

A funny speaker has four funny grandchildren.  Genetics.  A beautiful thing.

Four grandchildren.  Four angels.  Slightly ornery angels, but angels nonetheless.  Enjoying them like crazy now because once they’re teenagers, this old man, even though he’s their grandpa and makes audiences laugh as a funny speaker, will not be as cool.  So in honor of these unpredictable packages of joy, I’m listing the Top Ten things my grandchildren have taught their “PaPa”.


10.  The things that your kids did that made you mad, are now hilarious when your grandkids do them.


9.  The best place to wipe your hands is on the underneath side of the table.


8.  Super Heroes are AWESOME!!!


7.  On a grandchild, eyeglasses are the cutest.


6.  Being pulled around in a laundry basket never gets old.  Pulling the basket, however, can get old.


5.  A “Bouncy House” is a solid investment.


4.  You can read a book ten times in a row and it’s just as good the 10th time.


3.  A “Princess” dress can be worn at anytime, including during a nap and at an airport.


2.  The quality of the dining experience is directly proportional to the amount of food on your face and shirt.


1.  Grandkids give the best hugs.



Okay wait, here’s ten more, and then I promise I’ll stop.

(Did I mention I was an annoying Grandpa?)


10.  The best part of the cake is always the frosting, which is why you eat that first.


9.  The location in the bed where you go to sleep, bears no resemblance to the location in the bed where you wake up. 


8.  Bribery is sometimes okay.  Getting a grandchild’s kiss by promising a present is perfectly acceptable.


7.  It’s not important what you do outside, just that you BE outside.


6.  Playgrounds are mankind’s greatest invention.


5.  All shoes are adorable on a grandchild.


4.  All food is better on a stick.


3.  Bedtime is only a suggestion.  It can be extended by a variety of stalling tactics.


2.  A grandkid running to you with outstretched arms yelling “PaPa”, is the sweetest sound EVER!


And the number one thing I’ve learned:

There is nothing stronger than the grasp of a grandchild’s tiny hand.


My daughters know how much I love them, but there still is no truer adage than the old saying, “if I’d known how much fun grandkids would be, I’d have had them first”.


 MARK MAYFIELD…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message

A Favorite Gig for a Funny Speaker

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A Funny Speaker at his Favorite Gig

One of the toughest questions that a funny speaker can be asked is, “what’s been your favorite gig?” 

I generally say, “the last one that gave me a check”.  HA!  A funny speaker is supposed to answer funny, right?  But with over forty years and thousands of audiences, I always thought it impossible to single out one event.  I was wrong.
Here’s the background.  I’ve come to know the neighbors across the street of my youngest daughter, Lindsay.  My grandkids and their children play together, and both families are just great friends.  I won’t go into great detail about describing those neighbors because all I have to do is say one thing and you’ll know the type of people they are.  They have three little girls, one of whom has Down’s Syndrome, and they’re currently in the process of adopting a baby from China with Down’s.  Now you know Ben and Nicole Wallace.
It’s an expensive project so Lindsay and Nicole decided they should try and raise some money to help offset the costs.  What started out as gathering a few items for a silent auction, turned into a full-blown fundraiser.  They enlisted my other daughter, Leah, to help and before you know it they had over 80 significant silent auction items and 10 premium live auction items.  Game on. 
Lindsay should be a professional fundraiser, because she knew all the nuances of this type of event having previously done it on a large scale with a church.  They then asked me to emcee and be auctioneer.  They thought my title “funny speaker” also meant “will do anything”.  They also know I work cheap, so they offered food and cocktails.  I’m in.  Here’s another reason I’m in:  I love auctions.  It’s basically a contest, one that I refuse to lose.  I’ve bought a lot of worthless junk because I got caught up in the rush of bidding.  I once bought an accordion at a farm sale.  In case you’re wondering, I don’t play accordion.  But I was the high bidder and that’s all that mattered.  By the way, know anybody that wants an accordion?  Despite my fascination with auctioneering, I never learned how to babble and slur words, although some of my programs may sound like I learned. 
In case my auctioneering failed, I decided to have some back up entertainment.  I enlisted my good buddy and one of America’s best mentalists and illusionists, Devin Henderson, to perform (he killed by the way, an AMAZING act!).  I also got Jeremiah Nichol, another great friend who is the best Deejay/Entertainer in Kansas City, to host the dance and party afterwards, and it’s now officially an event.  And yes, these guys signed on for nothing.  Just wanted to help out.  I pick good friends.
The people there were off the charts.  Incredibly giving, and an unbelievably fun crowd.  I played a couple of “get to know Ben and Nicole” games, and then she set the table for the live auction with an incredible touching and heartfelt thank you to the 200 plus people in attendance.  As I told you earlier, I’m not an auctioneer, but I do apparently have the ability to badger people.  That apparently is an inherent trait of a funny speaker.  It was so easy.  In fact, another good friend told me they were bidding just to shut me up.  It didn’t work.  I’ve had stubborn audiences before.  Just so you know, badgering people is a lot of fun, although that may depend on which end of the badgering you’re on.  Let me summarize this:  harassing those folks was worth it.  We raised some serious dough, in fact over $20,000 and not one corporate dollar.  All from middle class friends and family just wanting to be part of this great cause.
I don’t think I’ll add auctioneer to my title of funny speaker, but here’s one thing I learned that night.  In a world full of chaos, that was a room full of humanity. 

Mark Mayfield…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message

A Disaster for a Funny Speaker

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A Zipper & A Funny Speaker

A disaster for a funny speaker just might be funny.

I’ve had a lot of oddball things happen to me over the years, but this “disaster” is one I can quickly remember, even though it happened a few years ago.  And yes, as a funny speaker I sometimes tell it on stage.  For that’s one definition of comedy:  tragedy plus time.

Virtually every man, at one time or another, has had a flash fear that they would be speaking in front of people, and realize that their fly was open.  And, of course, it’s happened to many.  One of my best friends, Fred McClure, actually sang the national anthem in the Houston Astrodome with his zipper down.  Remember how the anthem begins, “Oh say, can you see”.  40,000 people could.  (Sorry Fred, now a bunch more people know.)  I wonder what the corresponding fear is for women, maybe tucking your skirt into your pantyhose?


Fortunately, it’s never happened to me (not the pantyhose thing, the fly thing).  But I did come precariously close once.


I was working in Moline, Illinois (I know, I’m a bragger) and before I was about to be introduced to speak at this after-dinner event, I made the obligatory trip to the Men’s room.  In the crowded shuffle of lines and sinks and paper towels, I somehow left the room with my fly down and returned to the banquet hall.  When I approached the head table, the meeting planner noticed this major faux pas.  As soon as I sat down next to him, he leaned to me and said, “can I ask a question”.  I said “sure”.   

He then quietly inquired, “is your fly open”.


Now I have to back up a little and tell you what we had been talking about before I went to the restroom.  I was actually filling in for a friend who was sick and my air travel for this event had been made at the last minute, and was a bit tight.  During the meal, my discussion with the meeting planner had been about the possibility of catching an earlier plane in the morning and getting to my next engagement with a little more time to spare.  I had told him I was on “standby” for an earlier flight, and that I had been checking periodically to see if a seat had opened up on that flight.  So…


When he said “is your FLY open”, I thought he said “is your FLIGHT open”.


The conversation went like this:


Is your fly open?

 Sure is, and thanks for asking.


It’s normally open this time of the year.


During slow times or early in the morning, you can pretty much count on it being open.


It only took us a few seconds to figure out that we were on different topics, but before we did this meeting planner was seriously wondering what kind of funny speaker he had hired.  He actually said to me one of the funniest things I had ever heard regarding this subject.  He told me I needed to “bring my tray table to the upright and locked position”.  I told him that’s a line a funny speaker can certainly use.


So I learned a couple of things that night.   

Diction is important.   

And the last item on my checklist before I take the microphone is, well, I think you know.


Mark Mayfield…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message


A Reunion and a Funny Speaker

A Funny Speaker and his "brothers". Funny speaker A Reunion and a Funny Speaker NO team1

The Funny Speaker is second from the right.

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


A Funny Speaker Looks at Funny Studies

I may make a living as a funny speaker, but I’ve got some smart thoughts about some stupid studies.


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A Funny Speaker looks at “Funny” Studies

Some people wouldn’t see things the way I do.    Certainly other speakers, those that are motivational, inspirational, or informational.  But when you’re a funny speaker, you see funny things all the time.  Even in studies and government research projects that aren’t supposed to be humorous.  So since we have a federal financial crisis with massive deficit spending, I thought I’d weigh in on this subject and offer a suggestion that both the far left and the far right and everyone in between could agree on:  stop with the “studies”.  You know what I’m talking about, those massively expensive surveys and research projects, often federally funded, that end up telling us something we all know.


A recent one was the multi-million dollar study that concluded British Petroleum was mainly responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico a few summers ago.  Really?  Was there another prime suspect?  Was it Shamu?  I guess the fact that BP accepted responsibility for the disaster made the government somewhat suspicious, so they wanted to verify what everybody knew with a lengthy study.  Glad they got to the bottom of that mystery.


How about this one:  College Students Sleep Longer When Classes Start Later In Day.  This revelation ranks right up there with the discovery of gravity.  Who could possibly have known this?  Oh I don’t know, maybe anyone who has ever gone to college, or anyone who has known someone that went to college, or anyone who has heard about someone going to college, or anyone who is conscious. 


Contemplate this juicy research on the subject of weight loss:   

Diet and Exercise are More Effective Than Either Method Alone, Genetics Also a Factor.  WOW!  Now that’s an epiphany!  I’m fairly sure we knew the genetic connection.  Redd Foxx used to say, “follow an ugly boy home from school and see who let’s him in the house”.


And here’s another:  Forgetfulness Might Predict Cognitive Decline.  Isn’t this a redundant study?  I’m thinking that if I’m forgetting stuff more frequently, I might not be as sharp as I used to be.  In other words, I would be experiencing cognitive decline.  So not only does forgetfulness predict cognitive decline, IT IS COGNITIVE DECLINE.


Maybe we could just have a new cable television channel to showcase these studies.  I could host it.  Should we call it “A Funny Speaker looks at Funny Studies”?   No way, it ought to be named the “No, Duh” network.  But before we move ahead on this idea, we need to see if there’s a need.  We better have a study.


Mark Mayfield…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message

What Can Lift Up A Funny Speaker?

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A Funny Speaker gets Serious

A funny speaker is supposed to make a joke about everything, right?  Not in this case. 

This will be a vast departure from any previous writing.  I have always attempted to make my newsletters uplifting.  When you make a living as a funny speaker, people expect that.  Humor does that.  But that’s not the only thing that can lift you up.

Our family experienced some tough times a little over a month ago.  My cousin’s son, who was named after my father, passed away due to complications from diabetes.  He was a young man with young children.  Two days later my niece and her husband lost their newborn baby.  A double tragedy.

Believe me when I say, I’m not writing this for sympathy or to call attention to myself.  It was the prose that my nephew wrote that provided the “lift” we all needed.  Despite being in his early 20’s, he has the wisdom of a thousand men.  When I grow up, I wanna be just like him.  I had to share it with you.  This is what he wrote about the son he had just lost:

We are truly blessed.  So much love and support for our little boy, it is phenomenal to say the least.  DJ came to us by the grace of God to enrich our lives in the time we had together.  He gave us a glimpse of what’s to come before Jesus called him back to Heaven, to keep those we have previously lost, in good company.  My love and shear appreciation of meeting my little angel significantly outweighs my sadness and pain from him leaving too soon.  I’m beyond thrilled at the quick impact he made in hearts and minds of others as well as myself.  The words I am expressing do not begin to do him justice.  I find comfort in knowing that he will guide me through the rest of my days on this earth.  One thing DJ taught me is that life is too short to not face head on.

Do your best while you’re here and everything else will fall into place.  He did just that and I am honored to call him my son.  It’s never goodbye, just “see you later”.  I did not lose a son, I gained an Angel.  “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4″

I’m humbled.

Mark Mayfield…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message

A Funny Speaker can be Motivated by a Check

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Funny Speaker and Good Times

Being a funny speaker isn’t all fun all the time.  Particularly when you’re battling the elements and a fat foot.

Some of you know I’ve had my foot in a cast, and then a boot for a while.  I’m getting better, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to run a 10 flat hundred or dunk a basketball anytime soon.  But that’s probably because I couldn’t do those things before.

This has tested my patience at times though, like when I was in Fargo, North Dakota a few weeks back.  I included North Dakota in that sentence in case you thought I was talking about Fargo, Oklahoma, because who would go to North Dakota in the dead of winter, right?  That would be me.  I think it was because the client had a check.  Pretty sure that was the reason.

Crutches.  An open-toed cast.  A backpack.  Those are the key parts of this story.  Oh, and one other thing…the weather.  The high that day was gonna be 5 below.  That’s the high.  Toasty.  And they said it might “flurry”.  Well, it ended up flurrying for seven hours.  It was a major “flurry”.  These conditions were exacerbated by a constant 30 mile-per-hour wind.   Time for a picnic.  I’m gonna drive to Minneapolis because they’re gonna get all the way to 1.  Yep, 1 degree.  That doesn’t even sound like a temperature.  That sounds like the loneliest number.  Which is the way I felt.  Actually, I’m going to the twin cities because the client has a check.  Pretty sure that was the reason.  By now you’ve figured out I’m more a capitalist than a speaker.

I step out of the hotel to get to my rental car and catch a patch of ice and a gust of wind.  That’s an ugly combination when you’re on crutches.  As I lay in a fresh pile of “flurry”, it made me wonder how I ever thought playing in the snow as a kid was fun.  In case you’ve forgot, it’s cold.  It’s particularly cold on exposed toes.  I had bought a stocking cap to put over the end of my foot, but it flew off in the not-so-graceful, scissor-kick, pratfall.  It managed to land in the middle of some recently plowed dirty and wet snow.  Cold or cold AND wet?  Gonna go with just cold, so the stocking cap got left behind.

I have to take my gloves off to get the car keys from my pocket.  In those 1.2 seconds, my fingers turn to icicles.  Minimal dexterity.  So I drop the keys into a snowdrift.  This is the same snowdrift that has completely covered my car.  Like a dog getting ready to bury a bone, I’m trying to retrieve my keys by digging on all fours…actually three, ’cause I’ve got my frostbitten toes of my broken foot up off of the ground so they can experience the wind chill factor.  I find the keys just as I lose feeling in all my extremities.  As I remove my backpack, I drop it as well.  You HAD to see that coming.  I somehow open the door with my elbows and a wind sheer blows most of the seven hours of flurry into the front seat.  My car is now an igloo.  Nice. 

The drive to Minneapolis was delightful as all the snow started melting inside the car.  The only way I can keep my cast dry and out of the ice and slush is by propping my leg up on the dash.  This is not easy…and probably not safe.  And I’m not that flexible.  I pull a hamstring.

But I made it to the twin cities and guess what?  It had stopped flurrying and the client had a check.  That’s why I laugh about trips like this.  The check.  I’m pretty sure that’s the reason.

MARK MAYFIELD…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message.


A Funny Speaker and his Resolutions

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Funny Speaker Resolutions

Just because I’m a funny speaker in the motivational speaking industry, doesn’t mean I can’t fail at New Years resolutions like everybody else

I’ve always thought resolutions were something that went in one year and out the other.  They’re soft goals that seldom get met because they just fizzle out over time.  And the bigger deal you make out of them, the bigger disappointment you will become to yourself and others when they fizzle.  And they will.  It’s just hard to set a goal and do it FOR A YEAR!  So my resolution as a funny speaker is to make more doable resolutions.  Here they are.

I resolve to not get frustrated when I hit a yellow light.  I’ll just leave the house one-half a light sooner.

I resolve to pay more attention when channel surfing.  I accidentally stopped on “Real Housewives of New York City” the other day and caught my first glimpse of living brain transplant donors.  And this is their sixth season????

I resolve to stop being such a tightwad by buying single-ply toilet paper.  What was I thinking?  It actually should be against the law to sell such stuff.  Totally ineffective.  I’ll spare you the grossness of this discussion, but if you’re thinking of trying to save a few cents, don’t do it at the expense of your behind.

I resolve to stop trying to pick up that little piece of persistent lint with the vacuum sweeper.  I know you do this too.  That little thing that is somehow intertwined into the carpet and instead of bending over and picking it up, you go over and over and over it with the sweeper.  First this way, then that way, then back the first way again.  Take a deep breath, stretch your hamstrings out, bend over, and pick the dang thing up.

I resolve to stop making fun of the “SLOW MEN WORKING” sign at road construction sites.  It was one of the first jokes I ever heard and I’ve never been able to get it out of my head.  If they wanted us to not make fun of it, they should’ve put a comma after “SLOW”.  Same with “FOR RESTROOM USE ESCALATOR”.  How about a little punctuation people!

I resolve to stop pounding keys and buttons when something’s not working or not going fast enough.  This applies to any remote control, touch screen, or keyboard.  I can’t seem to help myself.  Even when I approach an elevator and people are waiting and the “UP” button light is already on, I’m still compelled to hit that button again.  Do I have magic fingers?

I resolve to accept the fact that women are incessant bed makers.  Recently, I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and when I got back, my wife (who is nocturnal) had made the bed.  Men believe that if you’re going to be back within 24 hours, what’s the point?

I resolve to stop lying on the phone when somebody asks, “did I wake you?”  Here’s the truth:  I was sleeping.  I’m gettin’ old.  I take naps.  Sometimes I take a nap before I go to bed.

I resolve to continue my efforts to fight for a sarcasm font.  It would make writing this blog a whole lot easier.

MARK MAYFIELD…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message

Even Funny Speakers have to Christmas Shop

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Funny Speaker Gift No-Nos

I’m not just someone who makes a living as a funny speaker, I’m also a champion procrastinator. 

So here’s my take on Christmas presents since there’s only a few days left to finish your shopping.  Well, that’s the woman’s perspective.  A funny speaker like me sees it a bit differently:  there’s a few days left before I have to start my Christmas shopping.  

I just don’t think shopping and men go together.  I’ve always believed that was one of the biggest differences between the genders.  Personally, shopping just drives me crazy.  I’m not a shopper, I’m a buyer.  My method generally has three steps:

1.  Grab a catalog.

2.  Go to the bathroom.

3.  Pick something out.

And I think the gender differences in shopping can be summarized this way:  A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item she doesn’t need, whereas a man will pay $2 for a $1 item he does need.  Bottom line, we’ve both got shopping flaws.

It’s also true that men prefer shopping online more than shopping in a mall.  That may be because there aren’t any naked women in the mall, but you can find a lot of them online.  At least that’s what I’ve been told.

So if you’re one of those procrastinators, don’t put your shopping off any longer or you’ll end up giving your mom some beef jerky from QuickTrip (personal experience).  And if you do that traditional “Twelve Days of Christmas” thing, here’s another twelve items you should avoid.

1.   An overdue library book.

2.   A box of chocolates that have been sampled.

3.   Any item that has a “clearance” sticker on it.

4.   Deodorant or fake hair.  These aren’t good gifts ever, ever, ever.

5.   A gift that you gave your brother earlier for his birthday.  Definitely if it was personalized.

6.   Granny panties.  Even if the person is a Granny.  Particularly if the person is your Granny.

7.   Knitting supplies to someone who doesn’t knit.  This is too busy of a time to take up a new hobby.

8.   A pound of ground beef.  Two words:  E Coli.

9.   An autographed picture of yourself.

10.  Anything from a garage sale.

11.  Statues of naked people.

12.  Pants extenders.

This isn’t the all inclusive list of no-nos.  There are thousands more.  These are just a few that haven’t worked for me.

Maybe I should start earlier?

MARK MAYFIELD…A Funny Speaker with a Serious Message