Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Uh…it’s like…you know…really, really irritating when people pepper their speech with these really, really annoying phrases that mean nothing and simply take up space. Obviously none of them had a Speech teacher like Miss Breen. A failed actress that somehow ended up teaching a bunch of reluctant teenagers at a high school in Kansas City. She would not put up with such nonsense and she would call you on it every time until pretty soon you would just not want to open your mouth ever again. She taught us Public Speaking and Debate and she was one of my earliest experiences in striving for excellence.

Even though I would not have admitted it then, I loved her classes. I learned to get up and stand up straight and speak to a group and organize my thoughts and not use those dreaded “fillers” I mentioned above. And debate…ah debate. I was born to debate. I absolutely loved being the Devil’s Advocate.

My training in her classes stood me in good stead. To this day, I am often recruited to testify at hearings. I can get right up and say what I mean and mean what I say, and I can tailor my remarks to the allotted two or three minutes down to the second. So Miss Breen…wherever you are…I am glad you did not live to see this day of instant messages and abbreviated texting and news reporters who were never lucky enough to have a teacher like you. Here’s a belated thank you from a former student.


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