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Chris Jepson

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Chris Jepson

Columnist Chris Jepson

A man in search of an idea. That is I. I have the opportunity to give a 45-minute speech at the University Club in late May and I am finding it a challenge to narrow my focus down to "an" idea. I do and I don't like speeches. I like that it requires a discipline that I do not necessarily practice. I like that it demands that I edit and condense my thinking. I enjoy the learning that comes from researching the new.

Yet, public speaking can be unsettling. We are accustomed to seeing folks so effortlessly entertain that a certain doubt can creep into one's own performance. And then I think, "Why?" What is the point of putting one's self out there such that it becomes a stressor? "Life should be a stretch," many of us heard growing up. Doing that which unsettles is good, so it is alleged. At 60, I grow doubtful.

I keep a chapbook, a log, a diary of sorts that I write down ideas, notions, insights, things that amuse. My first entry in my current log is dated from July 5, 2009. Evidently I awakened from a dream at 5:11 a.m. and wrote down the following question to myself: "Whether it is better to have been created or to have evolved?" This sort of idea amuses me no end.

As a secular humorist, I guffaw at the creation myths that are present in all religions, how man is the intentional "creation" of God. Any god. Take your pick. It's the intentional part that has me in stitches. Recall the recent case of the young Winter Springs girl lost for days in the nasty swampland of gator-infested Lake Jesup. The chap who found her publicly claimed God personally directed him to her. I have to ask when such claims are offered, "Why'd God lose her in the first place?" That tightens jaws. Too funny. But religion, myths are always a good topic for a speech.

Here's a few more chapbook (speech) ideas:

April 26: "Just because it's common doesn't mean it isn't special." (That one's [my] life in comparison to all others.)

Aug. 10: Things we wish we never heard. "Did your husband get his girlfriend pregnant?" Or, "get your girlfriend pregnant!" Hmmm? Hah!

Sept. 12: How do you "get" the kind of woman you want to be around?

Sept. 12: Let's play like Gods.

Sept. 22: Function of dreams: It's what your brain does to amuse itself, occupy itself.

Oct. 14: "Fiat justitia-ruat caelum." Latin for: Do justice, and let the skies fall.

Oct. 24: A real job title, "Compulsive Hoarding Expert."

Oct. 26: According to the movie "Inherit the Wind," Earth was created by God on Oct. 20, 4004 B.C. at 9 a.m.

I passed a billboard recently that I thought said, "The Me World." It actually said "Theme World." I laughed out loud. So many possible speech themes, so little time. The me, me, me of theme. Think it's a sign? Yes.