Toastmasters Will Save My Memory (Unless I Forget to Go to Meetings)

Stacy Dymalski (left) and Cathy Barker win first place respectively for Area D3 Toastmasters International Speech and Table Topics competitions on March 24, 2012, in Park City, UT

Well, the Toastmasters International Speech Competition for Area D3 in Utah just happened this past Saturday, March 24, at Olympic Park in Park City, UT, and lo and behold I won. I took first place with my speech “Wynton Marsalis Had My Back,” a poignant, yet humorous account of when my saxophone-playing son got to meet his hero, legendary jazz trumpet player Wynton Marsalis. Winning this contest brings me one rung closer to the top level of the Toastmasters International Speech Contest, which takes place later this year.

The thing that really amazes me when I win a Toastmasters competition is not that I’m able to write a speech that a smattering of people find entertaining, it’s that I can memorize anything longer than a three-item grocery list when half the time I can’t even remember why I walked into a room in my own house. Honestly, it’s a challenge for me just to get my kids’ names right when I call them. I have a 50/50 chance I’ll match the right child with the correct moniker and most of the time I get it wrong.

The worst is when I’m in a social situation in which I have to spontaneously introduce someone and for the life of me I can’t remember anything that even remotely comes close to resembling that person’s name. Never mind that I can recall just about every word of our last conversation, in which I learned (and can summon up) their boss’s name, their hairdresser’s name, their third grade teacher’s name, and even their dog’s name. (Just get that damn dog in here and I’ll introduce him all over the place.) But don’t ask me to shout out their name in case, for example, a piano is about to fall on their head and it’s life or dead if I don’t call on them to move out of the way. Best I can hope for in this situation is to bring it to someone else’s attention so they can be the hero. (I’m very gracious that way.)

Every once in a while my memory does kick in, usually for useless things like lyrics from 1960s TV show theme songs. So even though I often blank on my ATM pass code (usually when I’m just about to pay for a cart load of Costco items which doesn’t include the one thing I actually came in for, because I forgot what it was) I can still belt out the tunes that opened Gilligan’s Island, Petticoat Junction, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Partridge Family, and Green Acres like my life depended on it. I’d be a great contestant on Jeopardy as long as one of the categories wasn’t Places Stacy’s Car Keys Might Be Found.

So in honor of winning the Area D3 contest for the Toastmasters International Speech Competition, I bring you this uproariously funny little ditty about a woman who can remember lyrics to a song, which happens to be about not being able to remember if she turned off the stove.  It’s by Pam, um,… Pam… wait, it’s on the tip of my tongue, uh… oh hell, you can read, right? Just look at the damn YouTube credit and watch the video. You’re going to love it.

I dedicate this to my lost brain cells.

Pam Peterson! Yeah, that’s it, it just came to me! Pam Peterson! (I think memory loss contributes to middle-aged ADD.)


Did you like this post? If so, please click on the banner below to vote for me as a Top Mommy Blogger on I don’t win anything except a higher search engine ranking, plus bragging rights to my kids that I’m not as dorky as they think. (Okay, well maybe I am that dorky, but at least I’ll be easier to find on the Web.)

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Stacy Dymalski is a stand-up comic who gave up the glamorous life of coach travel, smokey comedy clubs, and heckling drunks for the glamourous life of raising kids (who happen to be bigger hecklers than the drunks). This blog is her new stage.

For more of Stacy’s comedy check out her hilarious book Confessions of a Band Geek Mom available on

24 comments on Toastmasters Will Save My Memory (Unless I Forget to Go to Meetings)

    1. I have to forgive myself for forgetting, or else I’d be in a constant state of shame! Unless, of course, I forgot what it was I was supposed to forgive myself for. Sometimes these things just work out on their own. 😉

    1. Thank you so much J85! I really appreciate the nomination. I’ve actually already been nominated for this twice before, but I will give my own recommendations in one of my upcoming posts.

      I really appreciate your interest in my blog. Thanks again!

    1. I know! Isn’t that frustrating? What is it with that? I can remember the most useless details about people, but not their names. I have even taken “name recognition” courses that teach you tricks to recall names and I still end up calling someone by the wrong name. I’m hopeless.

  1. Thanks, Wendy. I truly appreciate your support and kind words. Honestly, the hardest thing about giving this speech is not standing up in front of a roomful of people and speaking, it’s that this time (for the first time) my 16-year-old son was in the audience and he is the subject of the speech. There’s one poignant part in it that I almost lost it (i.e. broke down and cried) because he was there. Fortunately, I held it together…this time.

    1. Thanks, Rich! I really love the cheer you wrote for me. I’m sure the rest will come to when you really need your brain cells to kick in for something else more pressing…like how to find your way home.

    1. Thanks, Annette. I’m not sure, but I think that lady in the audience was crying because she suddenly remembered what level she’d parked her car on in the Disneyland lot last summer, and she was hoping beyond hope that it’d still be there. Either that, or she was moved by my speech. I’m good either way.

    1. Thanks, Sassyrenaissance! And might I say, I love your blog name! I look forward to checking your blog out soon. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment and hope you come back again soon!

  2. Man of the House is one of those blokes that everyone knows. Wherever we are someone will call out his name and stop to have a yack. He rarely introduces me but I don’t take offence, I know that he has absolutely no idea who they are.

    I am very impressed that you remembered a whole speech, and equally impressed that you got up in a roomful of people, that is something that would freeze me in my tracks!

  3. Thanks, Metan! Memorizing an entire speech is nothing compared to remembering where I put the dried basil I just bought to make dinner with tonight. Oh well. Maybe we’ll have tacos instead.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I hope you come back again soon!

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