Monday, November 29, 2004

My Speech to the Rotary Club
Thank you, thank you. You're too kind. Thanks very much. Thank you. Please. Thank you. Thanks, thanks a lot. Seriously. Thanks. OK, thanks, no, please, thank you. Thanks.

Before we begin, let's bow our heads and pray. Dear Lord, please protect us from those who kill and discriminate and persecute in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, amen.

Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, of all the … um… actually…

Gentlemen, of all the…

Beg pardon? You're a woman? No shit. OK, cool. Lady and gentlemen, of all the weird cults plaguing America today, yours is my third favorite. No, not really. I'm just saying that. I have no idea what you do. It doesn't involve mutilating kittens, does it? Because if one kitten gets mutilated, I am outta here.

But let's just say I do know what you do and that I'm glad you invited me here today. As you can see on the PowerPoint on the wall behind me, the topic of my speech today is "Janet Jackson's Bosom: Some Think Of It As Half Exposed But I Prefer To Think Of It As Half Decently Covered" And as you can see here on slide two, I've shortened it to "Optimism in America."

Now, you might say, "What is there to be optimistic about?" And you'd be right. Which is why, as you can see on this next slide, I've decided to re-title my speech, "America – What the fuck went wrong?" I believe I have the answer to that question.

In my opinion, America has been viciously attacked by two men: Osama bin Laden and Bill Gates. (You could also make a case for Mel Gibson, Sam Walton, Karl Rove, Dennis Miller and that dweeby little dude with the bow tie on CNN, but those chicken breasts on the steam table over there aren't getting any juicier, so let's just say bin Laden and Gates.)

When Osama bin Laden attacked America in 2001, he pissed off all of us. We were united in our pissedoffedness. But over time, America became divided about how to respond. Should we use all our intelligence and technology and ingenuity to find the terrorists and kill them or should we attack Iraq? Because the Republicans were in power, we attacked Iraq. But hey, that's America. What are ya gonna do? The reds have it. C'est la vie, whatever.

And so we were all like, "Osama, come out of your hole, muthafucka, or we are SO gonna kick Iraq's ass." And he was all like, "Go ahead you infidels, Allah is gonna show God a thing or two." And we were all like, "Are you talking smack about God? After school, we're gonna totally fuckin' kill Iraq." And he was all like, "Whatever, you pork-eating perverts." And we were like, "Dude! If you don't shutup, Iraq is SO dead." And so the dialog continues.

But the divisions here at home continued as well. Americans took a close look at themselves and said, "holy crap, we're getting FAT!" And some of us went on diets that were low in carbohydrates and high in protein, which is known to activate the kill-kill-kill-pow-pow-pow enzymes that protect us from predators and make us buy cheap, plastic crap at Wal-Mart and enjoy reality-based programming on television.

When we burped, wiped the grease off our lips, and came out of our stupor, we found ourselves divided into two camps: red and blue (there were also some purples, but we quickly wrote them out of the constitution). Both camps listened carefully to Osama bin Laden for clues to his crimes and his views about America and then said, "I wish somebody would translate this – I don't speak Arabic."

So we found some translators who could put bin Laden's views into words we could understand, such as "infidel," "Allah," and "spaghetti." The translation was eventually simplified to mostly one-syllable words so that Fox News viewers could understand it too. Only by getting all Americans to participate, could we examine ourselves and take action.

But not all Americans agreed on what bin Laden's words said about us. The blues listened carefully and said, "Wow, he's got a point about how our military-industrial complex is wreaking havoc on the world and we are totally going to knock that shit off one of these days." And the reds said, "Wow, he's got a point about how we're exporting a culture of vapid, depraved, sugary lard candy-sex around the globe and we are totally going to knock that shit off one of these days." But for now, the two camps could agree on one thing: money is cool.

So we rushed to our computers to create blogs to talk about how money is cool and Jesus rules and how the reds hate the blues and the blues hate the reds and everybody hates the purples. And we downloaded some desperately needed carbs and guns and Eminem videos and body armor and three-cheese bacon burgers and bible verses and wide-open beavers until suddenly our computers slowed to a crawl and said, "Error: Your computer is seriously fucked because Bill Gates failed to make Windows secure and now you live halfway between a real world that's not secure and a virtual world that's not secure and here's what you should focus all of your soul's energy on for the rest of your life: security, security, security, security, security!" And so we turned off our computers, meditated on world peace, and went out into the world to love our fellow human beings.

No, seriously, we bought a six-pack and watched Monday Night Football. And what do you think happened? More perverted sexual naked non-football stuff happened, that's what. And this time it involved a white woman and a black man, causing millions of southerners to reach for their shotguns but they were too aroused to concentrate so disaster was averted. But it could have been bad.

Eventually, the football game started and we all fell asleep on the couch during the second quarter and dreamed about having perfectly sculptured bodies and swimming naked through a lake of money and Cool Ranch Doritos with the cast of "Friends." And we woke up and went to bed and in the morning, we cringed like we do every morning, wondering if there'd been another terror attack overnight, and we turned on the Today show to find out but we saw that there'd only been some more deaths in Iraq and mayhem in the Holy Land and Spongebob, Desperate Housewives, cold front. And all was well, which is why as you can see on this next slide, I've re-titled my speech back to "Optimism in America."

Now, as a rotund Rotarian, you're probably wondering what you can do to help America heal. Frankly, not much. The Lions and Ruritans and Optimists are much better at that sort of thing. But there is something you and all Americans can do: stop being part of the problem. Stop believing you worship the superior god. Stop buying cars that are the size of houses and houses that are the size of churches and churches that are the size of stadiums and stadiums that are the size of Larry King's ego. Try to shoot stuff less. If you're going to flash your boobs, flash both of them because one is kind of weird and asymmetrical. Lay off the trans fats. And for the love of God, if you can't stop doing all this shit, keep it here in America because those foreigners don't seem to know a good thing when they see one, which is why, as you can see on this next PowerPoint, I've re-titled my speech, "Let's Keep Our Crap to Ourselves."

In closing, let me say what an honor it's been to speak to you today. Thank you. Thank you very much. You're too kind. ...I beg your pardon? The Rotary Club meeting is in room 200-C? This is Narcotics Anonymous? I'm sorry about that. Please forgive me. Thank you.

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