Cheep cheep. Like bird noise. I gave a small talk recently, something I avoid like relatives. It went pretty well. I held the audience’s rapt attention for a full five minutes, which out of an hour’s speech wasn’t bad. Rim shot. Actually I spoke for only five minutes which I have come to think is about all anyone can abide.

Talking to a live audience is like anything else, only harder. There are two kinds of speakers. There are the ones who are relaxed and supremely comfortable behind the lectern and bore the audience to tears. I try not to be that kind. I made a drum stick that appeared to go through my head, like Steve Martin’s arrow, and wore that for some of the talk. I try to be more that kind.

Made me think, though, about people who say Obama should just give a great speech and then Congress would vote the way he wants them to. I’m not sure it works like that. Even when the audience is really paying attention and seems to be in rapt agreement with all your mighty wisdom, when the speech is over it’s out the other ear, and forgotten. There is one other kind of speech that actually gets people up and moving, but that is called demagoguery.

Segue: speaking of speaking. you can fill in the word balloon of the debate moderator in this month’s cartoon caption contest, if you would like to speak without actually having to get up on a stage.

Also, remember to enter the latest round of my Cartoon Caption Contest here.