I have seen two interesting tattoos in the past week. On Tuesday I saw a woman with a motley assortment of odd-but-not-particularly-interesting tattoos. One of them was a cartoon woman holding what appeared to be a brain in front of the Brooklyn Bridge and the WTC. The whole thing was so incongruous (and shabby, to boot) that I wonder if I was hallucinating. Perhaps it’s from a comic book — err, graphic novel.
In which case…NERDS.
Another, across her back, written in classic tattoo cursive, read Trust No One (which is not at all an uncommon tattoo, particularly among people who pose questions on Yahoo! Answers. How is taatto formed?) (Oh, and also, it’s apparently popular with gang members and Dave Navarro. You are in good company, lady!). Anyhow, I know it sounds parochial of me, but I just think it’s funny to get Trust No One tattooed on a part of your body that you can’t EVEN SEE.
Then the other day I saw a woman with this tattooed on her back:
So it goes.
That was pretty cute. She was in her early 20s, and it wasn’t a regrettable-early-20s thing, like dancing bears around one’s ankle or an ankh on your clavicle or something. At 35, I remain untattooed, and let me tell you something: Given the tattoos I would’ve gotten at age 20, I’m really fortunate that I’m so lazy, averse to pain, and fearful of my parents’ disapproval.* For example, getting El Desdichado done in Old English lettering across my back. Yeah I know. But how could I not admire a guy who walked a lobster on a ribbon in the streets of Paris?
So, no tattoos just yet. YET. By the way, speaking of the heroes of my early 20s, here’s a video of Lou Barlow singing a cover of La Roux’s “Bulletproof.”
*And trusting of no one!
Hey, I’m going to be participating in Comedy Emergency, a fundraiser for Partners in Health, to support their work in Haiti. They’re an amazing organization, and I’m so pleased to be part of this event.
It’s this Thursday, January 21, and it’s uptown at the Triad.
-Musical Improv by Los Banditos Del Canto accompanied by Chicago City Limits alum, the phenomenal pianist Frank Spitznagel.
-Stand up by Kate Berlant (Crime and Punishment) and Todd Meierhans
-Clowning by Spencer Novich (Cirque du Soleil)
-Close up Magician Josh Beckerman
Ben Weber (Producer, Comedy Night at BAMcafé) and
Ben Wellington (Los Banditos Del Canto, Cherub Improv)
Please come. It’s one of the few occasions you can do some good by drinking and laughing.
Business conferences. It seems like some people attend them just for the embroidered backpacks, the chafing dishes full of institutional eggs, and the Kool & The Gang singalongs in the hotel bar. Here’s a thought bubble: Perhaps, at the end of the day, attending the conference sessions is the biggest of the pain points in attending a conference.
Bottom line. Just thought I’d run that up the flagpole.
But not me! I read the abstracts, and I take notes, and I rock the fucking name tag. I’ve never led a plenary session (plenary plenary plenary; everyone loves saying that because it makes you sound like you’re going to talk about curing cancer) or even presented a paper. (These are not part of my core competencies. Going forward, though, I think I’m going to add that to my personal development plan.)
And I came home from my recent conference with a whole new outlook. Not just because I learned about introducing Zimbra or Moodle or Google Wave to your organization. No, my biggest takeaway was the amazing experience our group (of loosely affiliated, self-identified cool people) shared at a brew pub one night. “Joan,” our server, was Pareto’s heir apparent. When she spoke, we were enthralled. Everything was recontextualized.
I didn’t have time to pick up her abstract before she kicked us out that night, so I’ve put together the talking points from her talk. I think you’ll relate to it. It’s totally scalable.
Straight Up Now Tell Me: Managerial Public Speaking Best Practices, as presented by “Joan,” our server at the bar
1. Start with a powerful declaration.
OK people, I need you all to shut up for a minute because I’m only going to tell you this once.
2. Outline your actionable items.
We have FOUR BEERS. FOUR. Pilsner, Wheat, Amber, and Bitter. The first two are light. The Amber is amber. The Bitter is a darker amber.
3. Make your aspiration statement.
I’m going to take your order based on where you’re sitting at the table. You, guy over there, go sit in your seat. Anyone who moves will NOT GET THEIR DRINK.
4. Create synergy by making people question everything they think they know.
What kinds of wine do we have? Why the hell would you order wine in a brew pub? What’s wrong with you?
5. Draw your audience in with a personal anecdote everyone can relate to.
Religion is dumb. My father’s an evangelical. He’s also a tax-dodger.
…And he abused me.
6. Speak to the individual.
You told me I should pick a drink for you. So now you have a pink drink with two cherries in it. They symbolize your balls.
7. End with a call to action.
This tip is not nearly large enough. It needs to be bigger.
Next Tuesday, September 1, will be my next and last Love Is a Four-Letter Word reading! (Though not the last NYC reading ever, I hasten to add.) It’s at Cornelia Street Cafe, at 5:45 pm (or maybe 6, if we are to believe the website). Also reading are Emily Flake, Michelle Green, and The Maud Newton, the whole thing’s hosted by Russ Marshalek, and it should be a lot of fun.
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