The Devil Told Me to Hit Her With the Trophy!

“The Devil Told Me to Hit Her With the Trophy!”

Several years ago, I was very fortunate to reach the District 45 finals of the Toastmasters Humorously Speaking competition. My speech was a remembrance piece of our beloved dog Clyde.

From the somber summer of my divorce in 2003 through the following 2 years of rebuilding my life and launching my speaking career, Clyde was a constant companion in my recording studio. He wagged his nub of a tail, he napped often, and he gave me a smile on days when I needed one the most.

He was also the only dog I ever met who snored out both ends when he slept.

Yes, Clyde had a bit of a gas problem.

Through each of the four rounds of competition, I ran the range of emotions from out-loud laughter to near-tears upon re-telling Clyde’s passing, back to laughter with the details of his ‘exclusive’ pet cremation (a bit of a scam, in my opinion).

After round 3, as the victory applause faded, I was approached by a woman I’d never met. She held a prominent local leadership position in the organization. As several congratulatory people drifted off, she leaned it to let her voice be heard.

“You know, you’re going to have to learn the difference between an adjective and an adverb if you want to advance at this.”

If my face didn’t betray my feelings over that statement, I deserve an Oscar.

Somewhere in the stunned silence, I realized that it is true that we can simultaneously have an angel perched on one shoulder while a devil dances on the other. 

“Just accept the comment and walk away” advised the angel.

Not to be ignored, the devil leaned into my ear and laughingly exclaimed: “Hit her with the trophy!”

Ultimately, I thanked her for her suggestion and excused myself. While I am sure this person felt she was ‘helping’ in some way, her approach left much to be desired, for me.

Had she asked: “May I make a suggestion?”, I may have been more willing to tolerate her.

As she did not, and launched into her oafish commentary, I basically didn’t give a rat’s behind what she had to say.

Has this happened to you? Have your efforts been met my instant critical backlash, with little tact?

I realize that I am not God’s gift to the speaking world, and I understand that I always have something to learn.

We ALL do, in our respective fields.


Aretha Franklin demanded it, and I think we all deserve it.

I may not always know the difference between and adjective and an adverb (I always thought you just added an ‘LY’, guess not), but I do understand how to treat others.

Let’s all make an effort to approach the world tactfully, respectfully and generously* this week, shall we?

*these are all adverbs, by the way. I looked them up.

One comment

  1. Oh yes my efforts have been met with this type of person. Being brought up by devout catholic parents’, I used to go to church as an adult and bring my children to CCD. One day at church, the priest told me that there was no place in the Catholic Church for a divorced woman. You can imagine my surprise. I shook his hand, thanked him for his honesty and walked away.

    Lo and behold, guess whose name showed up on the list of priests who abused young boys. YUP, you guessed it……………………

    I guess that was OK!!!

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