On Tuesday, I had a Zoom presentation that I had spent a few weeks planning and several days prepping for. I was a little nervous, but was happy to the updates I made to my presentation, so I was good to go. I figured I should clean and shave my multiple-days stubble off to look more professional. So, of course, I cut myself shaving.
Not just a little nick, by the way. A nice gusher. I wondered whether I could somehow apply a tourniquet to my face.
The incident took me back a little because this wasn’t the first time this kind of thing had happened. In 1996, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. I had the great honor of being chosen as class speaker. I was very nervous, and remember that I scrapped pretty much my entire speech the day before going up, because I had read the key running gag to my Dad and got a response that I think involved actual crickets.
I should note that this was not mean spirited, in fact, he was 100 percent correct and I’m very glad I frantically rewrote the thing the day before, to much better result. But anyway, I was going to be speaking in front of about 2,000 people, which remains the second largest group I’ve ever spoken in front of.
The largest group was on September 7, 2003. Also in Green Bay, this was in front of about 80,000 people at Lambeau Field. It was the re-opening of the historic stadium after a multi-year renovation and a game against the rival Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings stomped all over the Packers in that game, and after a particularly terrible third and long call that resulted in a three and out. The crowd hushed and I shouted “YOU STINK, ROSSLEY!” to Packers offensive coordinator, Tom Rossley. Everyone around me turned around, the shout echoed through the stadium and I’m pretty sure I saw a few players on the Packers sideline look up. It was not a scripted speech, but it came from the heart and I stand by it.
So both of my experiences speaking to large groups were in Green Bay. Very different, clearly, but both in Green Bay.
Back to college, after a frantic rewrite and enormous nerves, I still remember carefully getting ready that morning, expressly thinking, “oh god, please don’t cut yourself shaving.” I of course did, and I struggled to contain that one right up until I got on stage. Thankfully, everything went well and I made it through. Could be that the lightheadedness from the loss of blood actually improved my performance.
And the same holds true with my presentation yesterday. Thankfully, it wound up being a share my screen situation on Zoom and no one shared video, so I hadn’t needed to get dressed up anyway, but so it goes. Not that I want to get in the habit of shaving incidents for good luck on public speaking. Maybe I’ll stick with the beard next time.
In other news, Amelia and Erin started work on a super cool new puzzle of Big Ben and Parliament in London.
At one point they nearly had the border completed and Erin asked if I could help locate a few last edge pieces. Both of us searched this enormous field of puzzle pieces, scanning over and over again, and staring deeper and deeper. I can’t speak for Erin, but I think I started to hallucinate at one point.
Eventually we saw a crumpled mass on the floor, and discovered Asta had gotten a hold of one of those edge pieces and chewed it to oblivion. And thus ended the case of the missing edge piece.
Then we had a nice dinner, and though it was a little cold, the kids insisted on eating outside. Lately they’ve liked to take their dinner in the little slide in the backyard, which is like their own little private club dining room.
There’s no butler, but there is a Norfolk Terrier constantly running around the perimeter, trying to figure out how to get up and nab some fries.
Later, they used the slide for a hoops shooting platform as we played a few rounds of HORSE.
It was a beautiful night and a fun day. And by bedtime, I was finally able to take that tissue square off my face.