Maxed out 

Reading, write offs and ’rithmetic

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There are immutable laws governing life on planet Earth — gravity, for example — but there aren’t very many. What there are a lot of are really good rules of thumb. Don’t spend more than you earn. Don’t run with scissors. Ask nicely before you break your brother’s toys. Eat everything on your plate… or sneak it to the dog when nobody’s looking. Don’t tug on Superman’s cape, spit into the wind, pull the mask off the….

To which we will once again try to add the single most necessary, time-saving, braincell salvaging, anger management rule of thumb so sorely needed at least every other Monday evening in Tiny Town.


Really people, how hard is this to understand. Let us, for just a moment, consider the manifold ramifications of standing in front of an audience, subjecting them to the crutch of tepid PowerPoint slides and then insulting their intelligence by reading what’s already in front of their very noses. The occasional lapse of judgment notwithstanding, I think it’s safe to assume Mayor Kenny, the councillors, muni staff and most of the concerned citizens who take a pass on fine rerun TV to while away their Monday evenings watching democracy in action can read. I don’t believe I’m going out on too skinny a limb stating that.

Most know something about the subject being addressed. Most can mentally walk and chew gum at the same time. Pretty much everyone can read words faster than you can speak the same words.

So here’s what happens when you read the content of the slides you worked so hard and long to produce, slides meant to clarify, amplify and/or add background detail to the point you so desperately want to make in your short — hopefully — time at the lectern. You start reading; the audience finishes reading approximately while you’re still on the first of four points flashed up on the screen. You continue reading; the audience, councillors included, stops listening, wonders when the next slide will flash up, begins to notice those really cool sippy cups everyone at council table are drinking their Kool-aid from, wishes they’d have brought some snacks, remember half a candy bar somewhere in the pocket of their coat, wonders what they’d do if the public found out they too engaged the services of three-diamond call girls, has a moment of concern over whether they turned the stove off before they left home, notices you’re only halfway through reading your third point, admonishes themselves for not paying attention, wonders when you’ll pull the trained monkey out of your briefcase and really put on a show, stifles a fart and laughs silently to themselves, begins praying for the next slide, fidgets.

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