My Speeches

Just Follow the Signs
By Kiki Whitman

Make Em Laugh Speech #3 The Entertaining Speaker

January 15, 2003

Fellow Toastmasters, Honored Guests:

Don’t you wish sometimes on the road of life there were signs pointing us in the right direction? Helping us out like a supernatural director. For instance, when it comes to relationships - you’re confused. You dont know if you can go the distance.

Signs like, "Stay With It

Cut Your Losses

Exit Wrong Way

All Uphill From Here

Actually, if you think about it, there ARE ALREADY signs about relationships that try to help us out:

"Proceed With Caution

Stay Off Shoulder

Dangerous Curves Ahead"

When I grow up, I want to be a sign! Because everybody does what a sign says. I do! You’d better obey those signs or you could get yourself killed. Signs save lives and prevent major chaos.

People, whenever Im confused I just look up and follow the signs. I became aware of this obsession to obey signs in 1995 when I got a divorce. I moved to an apartment on Division Street. I thought, how coincidental! It had a glass window 180 degrees so I could see the mountains, yep, it was all good until the earthquake. ...

Seeing the risk factor in that place, I then moved to a place on Ledge Street. I lived on Ledge during my single years and I pretty much looked at those days when I was living on the Ledge. Then a couple of years later, I started working at Dick Clark Productions and also, coincidentally, moved to a house on Clark Street... do you see the pattern here?

Then out of the blue one year, my dog was hit by a truck and blinded. Two weeks later she bumped into a candle and our house caught on fire. The fire marshal said we must move immediately so we had to find a place to live and pack our smoltered stuff away in just 3 days. This is Christmas time now, and no one was moving out in December and the only place I could find was a place was under the flight path near the Burbank airport in the valley - coincidentally, on Valley Street. So now Im looking for Rich Road if anyone knows where that might be, please email a copy of that map so I can plan my future.

Signs get to the point, too...unlike me. I can think of a number of times when signs helped me out.

Like the time when my turtle ran away. Turtman is the coolest turtle. Very scary how smart this turtle was. You think turtles are slow? I could have capitalized big time on this turtle because speed was his need. One time the neighborhood Dennis the Menis, Max, came by (he had a crush on my daughter) and he couldnt wait to get his hands on that turtle. We were outside walking the turtle and I was supervising for a while until the phone rang and I being the phone slave I am ran to the phone. I hollered to Max not to leave the turtle alone. I was only gone a few minutes and when I came back Max was not in the yard, and neither was Turtman. I went into the house and Max was in my daughter’s room - he forgot to watch the turtle. Now the unfortunate thing was that we were going to Canada for 3 weeks on a kayaking trip the very next day and now our turtle was on the loose.

Fact is, red eared sliders cant live out of water and we had plans to be out of town for 3 weeks. So we gathered the kids from the neighborhood and our flashlights and combed the nearby yards on our hands and knees but to no avail.

I could hardly sleep a wink all night long, worrying about Turtman in the wild world.

So I did the only thing I could do I got up and made some signs. Here’s one I drew my turtle with a green highlighter :

Runaway Turtle (Actual Size) Cant Live Without Water

People jogging by would stop and read the sign laughing as they went by. But I was serious. I had to give it every chance I could while we were gone.

We left the next day. I was sad. My vivid imagination kept putting Turtman in vulnerable situations (like under the wheel of a tires crossing the road) but the new adventures that lie ahead quickly consumed me. I hoped that when we got back somehow Turtman would be waiting on the front porch.

That didnt happen. In fact, nearly a month passed since the disappearance. Then the phone rings one day. A woman who lived down the street said that her dogs were barking uncontrollable in her yard. When she looked to see what the ruckus was, she saw the turtle. She had remembered seeing one of my signs a month prior while walking her dogs. But when she tried to find another sign, only one was left and she found it! She put Turtman in a bucket until my daughter and I arrived.

After a months journey on foot Turtman had wandered ACROSS the street and 7 houses down the street and back home again all from the help of a creative sign.

So next time you want to have a garage sale, do what I did. Make a creative sign dif...