I am slowly working on the new novel, the one filled with all the sex and violence you can handle (and desire)–and probably more–but I haven’t been writing it that often.
And obviously I haven’t been blogging much.
And I still don’t have a post for you.
But I do finally have the desire to share this video of a speech I gave at one of my beloved toastmasters competitions back in 2012 and in doing so finally pull back the curtain on my never-requested-but-just-the-same-deliberately-hidden appearance. I don’t have the hair or beard these days, but yes, the rumors are true, I am still that good looking. 😉 (for the ladies.) (Fellas: sorry, but you shouldn’t need an emoticon to calm you down.)
Oh. And Happy Birthday…Djyaa-nit.
He was Top Cadet, Top Friend, Top Suburban Son, Top Forrest Boy, Top Gun, Top Bartender, Top Brother, Top Veteran, Top Car, Top Immigrant, Top Lawyer, Top Informant, Top Vampire, Top Spy, Top Spy 2, Top Spy 3, Top Spy 4, Top Spy with a Sense of Humor, Top Sports Agent, Top Freak, Top Motivational Speaker, Top Crazy Man, Top Future Cop, Top Samurai, Top Hit Man, Top Normal Guy, Top Politician, Top Director, Top Nazi Traitor, Top Rock Star, Top Ex-Cop, and most recently Top Astronaut. I can be talking about none other than the Top Actor of the World, Tom – T.C. to me – Cruise!
Just the facts: I saw Top Gun when I was 8 and went on to become a military pilot. My first anniversary out of the military occurred last year, and I figured it would be a good time to watch the movie again. It had been about 7 years since I last saw it. So much had happened in my time in the military that I was curious what I would think as I watched it again. You know what? As the movie ended, I felt like I was 8 again. I thought to myself, “Man, I can’t wait to grow-up so I can be a military pilot.” Then I realized, “Wait a minute, I’ve already done that!”
The moment that followed was singular. I realized that I don’t think I ever actually wanted to be a military pilot. I realized that all these years I actually wanted to be Tom Cruise. Or at least like him, Top Actor.
This thought terrified me. You see, recently I joined a Toastmasters public speaking club. Toastmasters is an organization that pushes people to follow their dreams. The club I am a part of is no different. Besides being overly encouraging, they are time keepers. If you tell them your goal, they will help keep you accountable. I knew that if I told any of them that I wanted to be Top Actor, they would literally start encouraging me to follow my dream to Hollywood.
Thus, I was faced with a dilemma. I joined Toastmasters to challenge myself. This was the perfect topic for a speech. However, there was no way I could share this dream of mine with this particular group of people.
Then it hit me! What if I just told them the truth?
Of all the people who make excuses for not following their dreams, I think I have the best excuse ever. I thought that maybe I could convince them that some people just shouldn’t follow their dreams. And I was one of those people.
Think about it. As a pilot, I spent 8 years perfecting my radio-call voice. You know what I’m talking about. The very monotone, betraying no emotion, professional way of speaking. Besides being monotone, a radio-call is also a strictly formatted four-part way of communicating. There is not much room for deviation from the monotone four-part format.
My thesis: I argue that even Tom Cruise himself couldn’t become Top Actor if, like me, he had to overcome 8 years of speaking in a radio-call voice and format.
And I can prove it. In order to do so, I need to take you through a few examples of how his movies would’ve sounded if he made them in a monotone, four-part radio call format.
To begin, allow me to take you back to the living room at the end of Top Sports Agent. In the movie he says, “…We live in a cynical world. A cynical world. And we work in a business of tough competitors. I love you. You… complete me.” To which Dorothy interrupts, “Shut up. (Sniff) Just shut up. You had me at hello.” Pretty powerful stuff, no? Well, let’s see what that would look like if a T.C. would’ve had my restrictions. Here goes.
*Pshh* Ahh Dorothy…This is Jerry…I’m standing in your living room and ahhh…We live in a cynical world. BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …A cynical world. And we work in a business of tough competitors. BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …Ahhh…I love you. You complete me. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Jerry…Dorothy here…Standing in the same room…Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello. *Pshh*
I mean come on! There is NO WAY anyone would have identified with those characters or that sentiment.
I can hear some of you already. You’re saying, “Hey, wait a minute. You picked an easy one, a chick flick. I bet some of his other movies would have sounded alright.” Okay, I’ll take that bet. And I’ll raise you. Let’s jump right to a military movie. Top Lawyer. You remember it. Lt. Caffy thundering away while leading Colonel Nathan R. Jessup expertly toward admitting he ordered the CODE RED. Let’s pick it up with Colonel Jessup. He asks, “You want answers?” Lt. Caffy replies, “I think I’m entitled them.” “Yawan’answers!” “I want the TRUTH!” “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!..” And then the great speech about walls begins. Now, here’s how the scene would have played out if T.C. was a pilot.
*Pshh* Ahh Lt. Caffy…Colonel Jessup here…sitting in the witness stand…Do you want answers? *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Colonel Jessup…Lt. Caffy speaking…I’m at your 11…I think I’m entitled them. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Lt. Caffy…Colonel Jessup again…still in the witness stand…Do you want answers? *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Colonel Jessup…Lt. Caffy here…I’ve haven’t moved…I want the truth. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Lt. Caffy…Colonel Jessup here…once again from the witness stand…You can’t handle the truth. *Pshh*
See? No drama. It would have been annoying. No one would have told their friends to go see Top Lawyer.
At this point, I think I’ve done enough to prove I’m right; and I should not follow my dreams. In all fairness, though, we need to come full-circle. Some of you are thinking, “Well, he seems to have a good point. Maybe he couldn’t become Top Actor. …Except that Top Gun is the movie that really put T.C. on the map, and in it he made radio-calls. So, no, I won’t let him off the hook, his theory is destroyed by Top Gun.” I respond, “Is it?” Do you really believe that the radio calls are what made that movie? We all know what made that movie and transformed Tom Cruise from Top Forrest Boy into Top Actor. The bar scene. “You never close your eyes anymore when I kiss your li-i-ips.” Goose takes over, “There’s no tenderness like before in your feeengerrti-i-ips.” Back to TC, “You’re trying hard not to show it…” Entire bar. (It’s appropriate to join in wherever you are right now, too.) “BAYYY-BEE!” “But baby! Believe me, I knoooow i-it…” And on and on. A scene like that spawns a career. Here’s how it would look radio-call style.
*Pshh* Ahh Pretty blonde woman…Maverick here…at your six…you never close your eyes anymore… BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …when I kiss your lips. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Blondie…Goose speaking…at your eleven…There’s no tenderness like before…BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …In your fingertips. *Pshh*
*Pshh* Ahh Blonde woman… Maverick again…I’m the one at your 12 o’clock…You’re trying hard not to show it…BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …baby. BREAK *Pshh* … *Pshh* …But baby, believe me I know it. *Pshh*
Whew! Need I say more? Need-I-Say-More? Terrible. I’m bored writing this. “Tom who?” That’s what you would say to me if he had made his movies the way I have had to speak for the last 8 years.
There you have it, proof positive that some people shouldn’t follow their dreams. I am one of those people. Are you? Are you you holding on to any dreams that need to be given up? I find my answers in the movies. Maybe you will to. It’s like in the movie Lion King when Rafiki tells adult Simba that to discover his destiny he needs to, “Look hahhhder.”
It turns out James Hetfield with his rhythm guitar, not Lars Ulrich with his drums, is really the one who keeps Metallica in time. Okay, truthfully this is probably debatable. Nonetheless, there is an opportunity for a great metaphor here. Who among us would dispute music’s inherent power?
Aside from what some noble, lofty lyrics of poets and dreamers say about finding music in nature and what not, in order to create music someone must keep time. If no one is keeping time, no amount of effort can transform noise into one of humanity’s most powerful expressions of itself. Music.
What about life? Cannot life itself be interpreted in a similar manner? In the end, noise and music are probably not perfectly distinct. There is likely a continuum with one end being noise; the other being music. What would it hurt to place human potential along a similar continuum? One end being not reaching potential, possibly not even seeing the potential; the other being maximum potential realization.
And if somewhere on the noise to music continuum there appears a time keeper, would not the human-potential continuum also need a time keeper? Need people who actively prescribe the standard of measure? Not some ultimate quality control dictating to all whether the music is good or not, no. These people would simply be keeping time. Might these human-potential metronomes even borrow similar tactics from mechanical metronomes and repeat themselves steadily with regularity? Asking, “How are you today?” (Click) “How’s your goal coming along?” (Click) “What’s the next step?” (Click) “I care about you reaching your potential and am here to help in any way you think I can.” (Click)
And just like the wind-up metronomes, might even these human-potential metronomes occasionally need to be re-energized every once in a while? Remember then, it is the same fingers that make the music which are the ones that have to take a break to reset the metronome. Wouldn’t it be the same people busily reaching their potential that need to take a break and reset these human-potential time keepers? Notice even that winding up a metronome still requires purposeful effort.
Thank you Cherry Creek Toastmasters.
Yes. We need time keepers.