The Eighth Page

Michael Oliver’s ASM Speech Notes

Michael Oliver’s All School Meeting Speech Notes: Good morning, future world leaders! Can everyone hear me? Fantastic. My name is Michael Oliver, and I am a graduate of both the Harvard Law and Medical Schools (pause for applause). As you might have guessed, I’m pretty rich, and I care a lot about your futures. That’s why I’m here today to talk to you guys about cultural diversity. Why, just yesterday I was having afternoon brunch with my good friend Shavkat Mirziyayev, the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan on a blanket in Central Park. We were chit-chatting about this and that, and somehow the conversation turned to giving speeches to large numbers of high school kids. I pointed a finger in his general direction and informed him of my scheduled speech with you guys. He didn’t understand. He questioned what I had to offer this magnificent group of youngsters (smile and make eye contact with audience). “They hire people to lecture the student body? Seriously, why would you do that? And for almost an hour? You kid, Mikey, you kid!” yelped the Uzbek Prime Minster. I wasn’t kidding. So here I am today, excited to talk to you all about cultural awareness. You ready? If you’re ready, then say “Let’s go, Mike O.!” (Pause for laughs, applause, cheers, and other indicators that they understand that I’m just as hip as they are.) You ready? Okaaayyy, here we goooooo! (Throw hands up as if on a rolling coaster that teens enjoy.) So, if you would now look up here at my first slide, we can see the percentage of people in the U.S. who are currently “culturally aware.” This percentage is low. Too low. So low that my research partner and I made more slides about it, which I have here. I want people to understand each other’s upbringings and to be accepting of each other’s beliefs and practices, no matter how strange or how violent they may seem. Simply put, I want to fix the world (pause for standing ovation.) You, my young padawans, need to recognize that when someone, when some Uzbekistani national questions your intentions, it is not their way of challenging you to a duel. You could respond back with something like, “Well, actually, I’m quite serious about all this,” instead of, “Yeah!? Let’s do this! Right here, right now!” That last statement could get you killed. (Pause for laughs. Sip water and straighten the Andover tie purchased on the way to the Chapel.) So, how do we become culturally aware? Well, if you look at slide number seventeen, you will see the twenty different locations within five miles of this area at which you can purchase my book, Becoming Culturally Aware: With Pictures! (Hold up book.) This book offers great ways to learn aspects of other cultures without actually having to experience them, as that can get dirty and unfamiliar. In the book, I simply tell you everything you need to know about each country’s culture, and you, the reader, will be set to make friends for a lifetime. If you could look at my concluding gross of slides, I have prepared some excerpts from my book. This slide tells how to differentiate between a Canadian from Alberta and one from Quebec merely by how each uses their soupspoon. I know, crazy, right? (Put on sunglasses and repeat “Crazy!” and then remove them.) I do all my own research. This next slide informs the reader that although in Southern Yemen a thumbs up means “good job,” in Northern Yemen the same symbol may be used to request a sandwich from a local deli. Neat, huh? Yes, it is. If you’re ready for twenty more minutes of these random, mostly fictitious cultural facts, let me hear it! C’mon, say it! “Let’s go, Mike O.!” Alllrrriiiigggghhht! (Perform many fist pumps, point at children and smile, begin doing the worm on stage.)