FUNNY WOMEN #26: Conference Speaker Would Like to Begin by Apologizing for A Few Things

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Hi, I am Jeneane, your conference speaker today, and I would like to start by apologizing for a few things before we get started.

First off the bathrooms out the west exit are being remodeled and are not functional. So you will not be able to use those. Unfortunately, the bathrooms off the east entrance are also being remodeled. If you need to use the bathroom please go to the Subway Sandwiches alcove at the end of the block and ask them to let you use the bathroom. They will tell you that the bathroom is only for employees, so you will have to say you have to go “really bad” and “have already started going.” They will rush you to the back where you will be able to use the toilet. There will not be any toilet paper, not even the white shreds stuck to the roll by glue. There also will not be a mirror to see if your new shoes come off as “slutty and trying too hard.” You may try to balance on top of the toilet seat and gauge your reflection in the upper left corner of the window. The unsteady seat will cause you to put your left foot into the toilet bowl. This will make your foot smell like urine and like the sawdust with which janitors covered vomit in elementary school. I would like to go ahead and apologize for this.

I would also like to apologize in advance if I start crying during the talk. Or if I stare into the crowd for a few minutes and do not say anything. Especially if I stare at that woman in the third row with the large mid-section and the red pen clipped to her taupe suit. My husband left me yesterday, and I am still a little shaken. Plus he left me for a woman that looks like that woman in the taupe suit. Although my husband’s lover is not near as fat as the woman in the taupe suit in the third row. So I would like to go ahead and apologize for that. I mean the crying and the staring. I am not apologizing for the woman in the third row being fat; I don’t even know her. And if I did, I would recommend a good waxing for her upper lip and that hair sticking out under her chin.

Also, my whole speech will be done by a PowerPoint slide presentation that I will simply read from. I have made hard copies of the presentation–you will find them between the legs of your chair–so that you can read along and not look at me as I go through the presentation. Starting now, I would appreciate it if you do not look in my direction. I am really sensitive about these patent leather pumps that I bought right after my husband left. They are undeniably ridiculous. It would be most welcome if you do not look at me at all. Especially you, woman in the taupe suit, I will ask you nicely once not to look at me. If you look at me again I will have to ask you to leave. I apologize for that.

I should also apologize, because I just got a new phone and I am not sure how to turn it off. It may ring in the middle of the presentation. When it does I will pat all my pockets frantically, then I will look under the base of the podium, and then inexplicably I will turn around in a circle like a dog who is about to lay down on a rug. If you laugh at me when this happens, taupe suit woman, I will have to follow you to your hotel room and drown you in the bathtub. I may even use the red pen to write on your fat belly, “Who is stupid now?” I would like to apologize for that.

In conclusion, I would like to apologize on behalf of my husband. If he were here right now, I’m sure he’d like to apologize for his dirty shirts, our relationship, my broken heart. But first, I would like to apologize for the fact that I am going to take my shoes off in the middle of the presentation. This will happen shortly after my phone rings and right before I start crying. I will then kick my shoes and stub my toe and think maybe my ex-husband might like to give a PowerPoint presentation on the history of loss, surrender, and weakness. Right then my phone will ring again. At this point, I will mutter, “Get it together. Get it together. You can do this.” I will laugh at the phone. It will be the first laugh I’ll have had in last two weeks, since my husband left me for our yoga instructor who often complimented me on my “thickly muscled, stout, strong calves and meaty thighs.” She never apologized for that.

So with that said, I would like to go ahead and begin with a joke about a Catholic Priest, a Rabbi, and Lady Gaga going into a bar.

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Original art by Mikayla Butchart.

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Julia McCloy's work has appeared on Yankee Pot Roast, McSweeneys.net, Monkeybicycle, and Faultline. She prefers laughing to just about anything. More from this author →