Sunday, October 07, 2007

x365: 8 of 365; Jim R.

I had the privilege of meeting you twice: once as a two-year old child just mastering language, the second time as a university student in my early twenties. You took me aside and told me that I may remember you dimly, if at all, as a friend of the family, but you remembered me as one of your best friends. I didn't tell you, but that's exactly how I remembered you as well. Now you're a federal court judge, and I, having lost my facility for language altogether, write speeches for politicians.

7 comments:

Indigo Bunting said...

Love this one. Great post.

ozma said...

Speeches! As someone who has to write what I find astounding in that is that you would have some serious deadlines there. Yikes. How do you do it?

Do you have to write every word? Can you just sketch it out? "Y'know, say something about how poverty is degrading to the soul." Don't you have to know tons about their policies and political viewpoints? Or do you get to sneak in your own?

Canada. In my imaginary view of Canada, everyone is smarter, faster, better. (You don't even KNOW. I've calculated my immigration points up even. Please do give me a job.)

No, really. Since the only thing someone pathetic like me is be a lawyer I hopelessly dream of U of T law school (probably impossible)--even funnier since I know jack about your political system. Just that it is faster, smarter, better than my own.

palinode said...

I. Bunting: Thanks. I was unsure about this one, especially because it's very personal.

Ozma: Speeches! Yes, there are some crazy-ass deadlines some days. Sometimes there's an impromptu media scrum and I have to assemble something passable for a politician who may or may not have some command of the topic.

I write for a set number of people, so usually I know their speaking styles and I know how to write for the person. I sketch it out first, then I expand the speaking points into speaking notes. Sometimes the speaker will glance briefly at the speech and ad lib the whole thing. Sometimes the speaker will read verbatim in a monotone and miss the rhythms entirel. Both circumstances are painful for me, since the former ignores my words and the latter mangles them.

Since I work for a particular department, my speeches cover a prescribed range of topics - sport, recreation, youth and the arts. Generally I keep myself apprised of current events and policy so I know what's coming. And yes, I always inject my own viewpoint, which I typically embed in a really atrocious joke. Sometimes it gets past everyone and even comes out of the speaker's mouth - and that's downright gratifying.

Is Canada smarter, faster, better? If you want to hold on to that idea, best stay in the US. I love this country, but sometimes I want to scream and run away. I'd like to start a country somewhere that takes the best from every system and includes free massages for everyone.

Theresa Bakker said...

I love that Canadians call the media mosh pit a scrum. Wonder where that comes from? Is there a Canadian version of Webster's? The Yukon Quest runs from Whitehorse to Fairbanks and vice versa in even years. I have friends who've been in THAT scrum. Does the Quest ever make it into your speeches?

palinode said...

You mean they don't call it a scrum elsewhere? Huh. I never even thought about it. And yes, there's a Canadian version of Webster's, but I don't have it next to me, so I just looked up scrum online. The internet wants to tell me that it's a rugby term for 'a whole lot of guys too violent for soccer smashing into each other until all the teeth are knocked out'. So that makes sense.

You know, there's a small chance that the Yukon Quest could make it into one of my speeches. And now I'm going to figure out a way to shoehorn it in to my next speech.

What do you call a scrum?

Theresa Bakker said...

Please, please tell us if that happens. I don't get CBC here to keep my ear on. The Yukon Quest, more than just a dog race.

Hmm. What do we call a mass of media in the US. A gaggle of reporters? I just googled "media scrum" and found this informative entry.

Theresa Bakker said...

PS You know, I've thought and thought on it. The sad fact is we don't really have this kind of availability here in the plastic UniverSe. I think the closest thing we have is a "photo op." And that's actually what the reporters call it, too.