December 24, 2009

How the Grinch Spoke at Christmas - adapted by John Zimmer



Huge thanks to John Zimmer for his creativity and brilliance in revising this classic for us speakers. View it on his site for the accompanying images.

How the Grinch Spoke at Christmas

Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas speeches a lot,

But the Grinch, who lived just North of Who-ville, did not!

The Grinch hated speeches! The whole speaking profession!

Now, please do not ask just what caused his aggression.


It could be that most speakers read from their notes,

Or came unprepared, or just bleated like goats.

But I think that the thing that did most disappoint,

Was that most every speaker abused PowerPoint.


But whether the goats or the Points lit his fuse,

He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos,

Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown

At the warm lighted stage down below in their town.


For he knew the Who speakers, yes every one each,

Was priming himself for his Who Christmas speech.

“And they’re making their edits!” he snarled with a sneer.

“Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!”


Just the thought of those speeches he found so mind numbing,

“I must keep those Who Christmas speeches from coming!”

“For, tomorrow, I know, like the turn of a page,

“The Whos will wake up and they’ll rush for stage!”


“And then they will speak with such tact and such poise.

“And with wireless mikes, all the NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!”

“Then the Whos, young and old, will sit down for a chat.

“And they’ll chat about this and they’ll chat about that.

“And they’ll chat and they’ll chat and they’ll chat, chat, chat, chat!”


“They’ll chat about topics and subjects and things,

“And Santa and Frosty and five golden rings.”

“They’ll chat about issues, a great verbal feast.

“A verbal feast is the thing I can’t stand in the least!”


“And then they’ll do something I hate most of all!

“Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,

“Will stand close together, the squat and the lank,

“They’ll stand hand-in-hand. And the speakers they’ll thank!”


“They’ll thank! And they’ll thank! Oh the praises they’ll sing.”

And the more the Grinch thought of the Who’s Praising Sing,

The more the Grinch thought, “I must stop this whole thing!”


“Why for fifty-three years I’ve put up with it now!

“I must stop those speeches from coming! But how?”

Then he got an idea! An awful idea!

THE GRINCH GOT A WONDERFUL, AWFUL IDEA!


“I know just what to do!” the Grinch laughed with a hoot.

“I’ll make a professional speaker-type suit.”

And he sewed up some cloth with some threads on some bobbins.

“With this coat and this tie, I’ll look like Tony Robbins!”

Then the Grinch climbed his sleigh, and the sleigh started down

Toward the homes where the Whos lay a-snooze in their town.

The stage was all dark. All the Whos were in bed.

All the Whos were all dreaming sweet dreams about TED.


The steps to the platform he climbed inch by inch,

For if Tony could do it, then so could the Grinch.

The little Who lecterns all stood in a row.

“These lecterns,” he grinned, “are the first things to go!”


Then he slithered and slunk, on his Stop-Speech-Crusade,

Around the whole stage, he took each speaking aid!

Flip charts and handouts back from the print shop.

Markers and Post-Its and all of the props!


And he stuffed them in bags. Then the Grinch, with a grin,

Took the bags to his sleigh and he stuffed them all in.

And then he returned and he took down the lights!

He took down the prompters! He took all the mikes!


He cleaned out that stage from the bottom straight up.

Why, that Grinch even took all the water and cups.

Then he stuffed all his loot in his sleigh, the old schemer.

“And now,” said the Grinch, “I will stuff in the beamer!”


And the Grinch grabbed the beamer, and started to shove

When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.

He turned around fast, and he saw a small Who!

Little Cindy-Lou Who, who was not more than two.


She stared at the Grinch and said, “Tony Robbins, oh why,

“Why are you taking our beamer home? WHY?”

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick

He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!


“Why, my sweet little tot,” the fake Tony lied,

“There’s a light on this beamer that won’t light your slides.”

“So I’m taking it home to my workshop,” he grinned.

“And I’ll fix it by ‘Awakening the Giant Within’.”

And his fib fooled the child. Then he patted her head

And he said, “Live with passion!” and put her to bed.

And when Cindy-Lou Who was tucked up to her chin,

He took the Whos’ beamer and stuffed it right in!


It was quarter past dawn. All the Whos, still a-bed.

All the Whos, still a-snooze when he packed up his sled.

Ten thousand feet up! Up the side of Mount Crumpit,

He rode with his load to the tiptop to dump it!


“Pooh-pooh to the Whos!” he was grinch-ish-ly humming.

“They’re finding out no Christmas speeches are coming!

“They’re just waking up! I know just what they’ll do!

“Their mouths will hang open a minute or two

“Then all the Whos down in Who-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!”


“That’s a noise,” grinned the Grinch, “That I simply must hear!”

So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear.

And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.

It started in low. Then it started to grow.


But the sound wasn’t sad!

Why, this sound sounded glad!


Every Who down in Who-ville, the tall and the small,

Was speaking! Without any equipment at all!

He hadn’t stopped speeches from coming! They came!

Somehow or other, they came just the same!


And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,

Stood puzzling and puzzling: “How could it be so?”

“It came without PowerPoint, Keynote and more!

“It came without gifts from the Toastmasters store!”

And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.

Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!

Maybe speaking, he thought, just needs good preparation.

And delivery with heart and with full dedication.


And what happened then? Well, in Who-ville they say,

That the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day!

And then the true meaning of speaking came through,

And the Grinch found the words of ten speakers, plus two.


And now that he no longer felt his stage fright,

He whizzed down to Who-ville to put things back right.

With a smile in his soul and a speech in his mind,

He came back and left his speech hating behind.


He rode into Who-ville, no longer a looter.

He brought back their beamer and MacBook computer.

He brought back their lecterns, their curtains, their lights,

He brought back their flipcharts, exhibits and mikes.


He brought everything back for the great verbal feast.

And he … he himself … the Grinch … gave the first speech!

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