Could you please just use the microphone?

I am sitting in church today thinking about my dad. His birthday was earlier this month.

If he had stopped smoking, he would have been 89 years old, that is if nothing else had killed him.

You know those Facebook memes that detail the change in the color and condition of lungs if the owner stops smoking cigarettes? On one side, there’s a horrible looking blackened lung. The other picture shows a healthy-looking lung.

I have no idea why they had to pull a pink looking lung out of a guy just to show that it was healthy. Couldn’t a nice picture have done?

From 20 minutes to 10 plus years, and almost every time increment in between, leaving cigarettes yields a better you – and lung.

At 10 plus years without nicotine, it’s like you had never smoked at all. I’ll always believe that if dad could have stopped, he might be here.

But who’s counting, right?

The church folks have installed new pews and carpet. And, surprisingly, it smells like new pews and new carpet.

It’s nice. Before the new stuff, the back rows were strewn with fold-up chairs and worn-out carpet. (I’ll be honest: I didn’t even notice the new stuff until my bride told me – which makes my constant preaching to her about being situational aware look weak – and unaware).

I can hardly hear the speaker because the microphone is too far from his mouth.

It would be nice if he’d adjust that little problem. I’ve never understood folks who refuse to use perfectly good microphones, wrongly thinking that the conversation level of their voices would carry throughout the room.

I once sat in a large meeting room in San Antonio trying to hear an Army Colonel give a talk about career progression in the United States Army Reserve. I was interested, but couldn’t hear her.

Why?

The first (correct) thing she did was to put the microphone up to her mouth. That’s usually where the human voice emanates.

It was going well for about .02 seconds when she heard her voice broadcast over the speakers and frowned. The next (incorrect) thing she did was to say, “I don’t need this thing, do I? Y’all can hear me, can’t ya?” And she proceeded to put the microphone down.

Well, no Ma’am. No, we can’t hear you.

We can’t hear you now that you removed the one thing that would have allowed your voice to be properly amplified throughout the room and ensure that the audience understands your intended communication.

Unless you didn’t intend to be heard.

Which, I suppose, is a possibility.

But I keep my mouth shut.

Why don’t people use microphones? That’s why they’re there. Why are people scared of their own voices?

Here’s my philosophy: If you are in a profession that necessitates you giving speeches from time to time, learn to love your voice people. Go to a Roger Love seminar or Toastmasters or something. Doesn’t matter. Just get help.

Today!

I think there should be penalties for speakers who really don’t want to speak. Like, you are demoted to private and given the job of cleaning kitchen in Antarctica.

The Army, in its wisdom, made her a General a few years later.

I wonder if there’s a lesson there.

In the pew in front of me is a 12-year-old girl taking an enormous number of selfies. Beside her, is a little boy. Maybe he’s five years old. He’s playing with a toy truck. His mom suddenly looks at his left ear and becomes worried. She jerks his head around, the same way my barber used to rotate my nappy head in the barber chair when I was 6 or so.

I hated that.

The boy continues to play.

The mom says something to her mom, who is sitting next to her. The boy’s mom re-examines the ear and looks more concerned. By the look on both women’s faces, one would conclude that he has something dreadfully wrong with him.

But the reality is, I suspect, that he probably didn’t wash behind his left ear (or right one for that matter).

It’ll probably take a few more birthdays for him to correct this problem.

The sermon is over and another guy is making announcements. I can hear him. Someone is sick and in the hospital. A young couple wants to place membership. Some older member is celebrating a birthday.

It’s been 35 years or so since my dad stopped smoking for good. You know, given his other health problems, he likely would have succumbed to one of them. But, I would have been willing to give the no-more-cigarettes thing a try.

I glance to my left and it looks like the selfies are going to continue for the time being.

I suppose it’s better than smoking.

You go, girl. And kid, please. Wash behind your ears so your mother won’t freak out in public.

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