Saturday, March 3, 2012

Procrastination Problem (UN)Solved: My 7th ToastMasters Speech

I'm failing miserably at my Lent sacrifice. I was supposed to give up procrastination, however, I am here, still in yesterday's clothes, surfing the web, playing Hidden Chronicles on Facebook, and watching other people give speeches on YouTube when I am supposed to be preparing my own speech for today's speech contest. Yes, you read correctly: I said preparing as in I still don't know what I'm talking about for a contest that is in just 2.5 hours.  And I have to leave the house in 1 hour. And I have to still shower, wash my hair, dry my hair, and WRITE my FRIGGIN' speech and practice it in just that short amount of time.

Procrastination Nation.

I've known for 4 days that I was entering this contest. I had procrastinated at work so much that I was/am behind grading so that took precedence. Plus, I still had to teach when I had classes. Yet, I had time when I got home. Now I'm procrastinating STILL by telling you that I'm procrastinating instead of writing my speech. So now, I write my speech and hope it fits the 5-7 minute criteria.

Without further delay, my speech.

Spongebob: A Life Coach (revised-- the video to the original *horrible* one is here)

I love cartoons. On a typical Friday night or Saturday afternoon (my kids rarely see the sun rise on a weekend), you can find me on the couch with my legs drawn up and a son or two snuggled beside me, watching the inventive antics of Disney's Phineas and Ferb on the small screen. This is hardly different from my childhood growing up. I watched cartoons religiously: Ducktales, Looney Toons, Dark Wing Duck, Animaniacs, Ren and Stimpy, Jem and the Misfits, HeMan, you name it. I just loved cartoons.

Now many people may feel like cartoons are a waste of time but I beg to differ. Cartoons are very valuable, not only for the creation of imagination but also as a way of reviewing and improving life. Today, I'm going to explain to you just how integral cartoons are by examining Spongebob Squarepants as a life coach.

There are over 300+ episodes of this Nickelodeon cartoon, chockfull of lessons, however, for the purpose of this speech, I am going to focus on just one episode: The Bubble Stand. In this episode, Spongebob opened a bubble stand, similar to childhood lemonade stands, selling $0.25 lessons for blowing bubbles.

Squidward Tentacles, Spongebob's uptight neighbor, ridicules Spongebob for the idea but plops down a quarter for the privilege of blowing a bubble, refusing to take a lesson from Spongebob, after all what does a kid like Spongebob know about blowing bubbles. So Squidward dips the wand into the soap solution, lifts it to his lips, and blows, creating nothing but spittle and a bubble dud. He drops quarter after quarter, repeating the same action and getting the same results. I believe, that's the definition of insanity, no?

Spongebob finally demonstrates his technique, doing a funky little dance with his arms and bringing "it around town", before dipping the wand into the bubble canister then blowing out one spectacular bubble.

After many more futile attempts, Squidward, mockingly, tries Spongebob's technique and, lo, he produces one extraordinarily large bubble which lifts him far off the ground.

After watching this cartoon, it struck me how similar to society Squidward is. He has his traditional way of doing things, refusing to even consider another way. I also realized how much I have been trying to be like Squidward when I should have been trying to be more like Spongebob. I've been dipping my own wand into the bubble canister and trying to blow bubbles in the traditional way and, I, like Squidward, kept coming up with duds. But my heart has been longing to do that funky dance, to bring my dreams "around town", before blowing them into visible reality.

I went to the University of Miami, got an English degree, and am now a teacher, and have been for seven years. But what I really want to be is who I've always been: a performer, a writer, and a mentor. Teaching was the traditional and, until recently, stable route. But my desire is to walk down the dark alley of the road less taken, leaving my own trail and creating my own legacy, my own unique bubble.

Let me ask you: how many of you are stuck, trying to do things the way society has dictated: go to school, get good grades, go to college, be a doctor/lawyer/teacher/etc, get married, have kids, sit on the PTSA, send your kids to college, retire comfortably before taking your exit of this Earth-- in that order? How many of you long to take the nontraditional route, to make your way, to fail and make mistakes, to fall and get back up more experienced and better prepared to create your dreams? How many of you are really Spongebob?

Life is filled with Spongebobs, people who did things their own way.

Walt Disney, the man who gave us Mickey Mouse, was told he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas"; Thomas Edison, the father of the lightbulb and countless other inventions, was told that he was "too stupid to learn anything"; JK Rowling, the brain behind Harry Potter, was turned down by 12 publishing houses before her book was picked up and, even then, she was told to get a day job because she wouldn't have much of a career as a children's book writer.

This list of life's Spongebobs goes on and on and on: Albert Einstein, Johnny Depp, Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, George Clooney, Sarah Palin, Socrates, ee cummings, Winston Churchill, President Barack Obama, Steve Jobs, Vince Lombardi, Fred Astaire, Michael Jordan, Steven King, Charlie Chaplain, Beethoven, Hank Aaron, Judy Blume, Jackie Robinson, and so many, many more.

If you're a Squidward, be a Squidward. But, if you're a Spongebob, don't be afraid to be a Spongebob. Blow your bubbles your way. As life shows us, you'll be amongst good company and that's not a bad life lesson to learn.


UPDATE Randomness: I found a tumblr page dedicated to the BubbleStand episode.

The video below drives the point home even further:
Spongebob episode (can't find one that's normal speed):

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