Meeting report

24 July 2017

John Hicks

This should be simple report to write. Only one speech, a bard and a table topics session. However, it won’t be, and all because the theme Toastmaster Simon Mortimer set was “Bridge over Troubled Water”.

Before we head there I will deal with Carolyn Skerrett’s speech “With Thanks”, in which she was required (Specialty Speeches Manual) to accept an award. She brought along a silver cup for the purpose – ostensibly from the New Zealand Tennis Association. We all love Carolyn and her obsession with the game, so saw it coming a mile off. And who else could she thank, but her coach, Roger Federer? It was tidily done and - I suspect in her own mind – a rehearsal for the real thing.

Alison Scott made an excellent choice for her reading as the Bard and she read it beautifully. Milton Erickson is the “father of modern hypnotherapy”. Here is the link: http://ericksonian.info/articles/milton-ericksons-rules-of-life/. Here is an extract which may tempt you:

Human beings seem compelled to complicate their lives, to make simple issues difficult. For example–we all know the three most powerful words in the English language—I love you. Not much is simpler than that. We also know the four most powerful words in the English language—You’re right, I’m wrong.

After all this food for thought we might have imagined we would be free to indulge in a light-hearted Tabletopics session. But TTM Vita Tasman had other ideas, and we were drawn into more metaphysical considerations of what “bridges”, “troubled” and “water” really meant – or we should have been. Instead we got side-tracked … In answer to “what does a bridge over troubled water really mean?”, Stephen East plumped for New Zealand’s disastrous America’s Cup campaign. Adrienne Malis’s response to “Why do we need a bridge if the water is troubled” veered from not wanting to touch water which might be contaminated to playing frisbees with hippies beside the Golden Gate bridge. “How does a bridge help with feelings of sadness?” brought either Simon or new member (Craig Hickford) - my apologies to each of you, I was discombobulated by this stage - to recollect the joy of having the repairs completed on the Ferrymead bridge after the earthquakes.

All these empirical answers certainly threw me when I was required to respond to “What type of trouble would render a bridge useless?” I have been pondering this question ever since, and my revised answer is that a bridge is absolutely useless for any “trouble” apart from crossing rivers or railways. It is certainly useless at helping me to write a report; in fact, as you can see, it is a hindrance … unless you think of a bridge over troubled waters as a metaphor … Ahha! ... and so we come to life, the universe and all the inadequacies that we confront and conquer at our jolly Toastmasters’ meetings.

If you disagree with anything I have written for this - so called - “report”, remember this: I’m right, you’re wrong!