GK: And now it's time for ADVENTURES IN COMMUNICATION.....(BUSY METROPOLITAN THEME).....today we're discussing effective ways to ask someone for a personal favor in a case study we call "Finding A Speaker for Tiffany's Graduation" ---- Example No. 1. New York.
(PHONE RING. PICKUP)
SS (OTHER END): Yeah?
TR: Doris, it's Sydney.
SS: Yeah? Whaddaya want?
TR: Doris, listen. I got a problem. (SS SIGH) It's about Tiffany's graduation. I'm supposed to find a graduation speaker.
SS: But graduation is next Tuesday!
TR: I'm aware of that.
SS: And you're just calling now?
TR: I know. It's late.
SS: And after the way you treated me, you expect me to do you a favor? ---- huh? do you? I've been in therapy for the past thirteen years, thanks to you, you big weasel. You know that? If my therapist knew I was even talking to you on the phone right now, he would have a hemmorhage. A hemmorhage. Dr. Feldman would collapse in shock if he knew that I was talking to you and letting you talk me into doing you a favor.
TR: Please. For me, Doris. I need this.
SS: Okay. I'll give the speech. But only this once. Don't ever ask me to do this again, you hear?
TR: Thanks, Doris. Thank you.
SS: Aaaaaaaaaaaaa.... (SLAM PHONE)
GK: FINDING A SPEAKER FOR TIFFANY'S GRADUATION. EXAMPLE NO. 2. CALIFORNIA
(RING 5 TIMES)
SS (OTHER END): Namaste.
TR: Uh. Hi.
TR: Chrysalis. How's everything?
SS: Everything? It's incredible. I'm in a very positive place right now----
SS: Thanks to the wheat grass. I juiced some nasturtiums and parsnips and wheat grass today. I am just like, completely, in another space. A space that's adjacent to ---this space. I mean, like, I am actually beside myself.
TR: That's great. Chrysalis, are you still channeling Mardak?
SS: Mardak the Philosopher Prince of Egypt and Mesopotamia? Mardak the Great Archer, the Giver of Wisdom, the Bearer of Bright Jewels. Mardak, the Poet of Twilight? Mardak the Warrior for Justice and the Finder of Lost Car Keys?
TR: Right. Him. You're still channeling him?
SS: Yes, of course.
TR: Chrysalis ---- could Mardak come on Tuesday to give a speech at my daughter Tiffany's graduation?
SS: I'll ask him ----- O Mardak, ---- will you speak your three thousand year-old wisdom at the graduation of Tiffany on Tuesday, Mardak? ----He says yes and he'd like a thousand dollars and the check should be made out to me, Chrysalis, a.k.a. Jennifer Larson.
TR: Fine. Uh--- There isn't a chance Mardak would be willing to do it for, say ---- three hundred dollars, is there?
SS: Mardak says yes. Three hundred dollars, but you have to send a limo.
TR: Okay. See you Tuesday, Chrysalis.
SS: Mardak says goodbye, Trent. (CLICK)
TR: FINDING A SPEAKER FOR TIFFANY'S GRADUATION. EXAMPLE NO. 3. THE MIDWEST
(RING. RING. PICKUP)
GK (OTHER END): Hello?
SS: Don? Hi. It's Nancy. How are you?
GK: I'm good.
SS: How's Beth?
GK: She's fine. How are you?
GK: And Leland?
SS: He's okay.
GK: That's good. How's your job at the airport?
SS: Oh, it's nice. I like it.
GK: It's not too strenuous, then?
SS: Oh, you know. It's okay.
GK: That's good.
SS: Have you talked to Mom lately?
GK: No. Why? Is something wrong?
SS: No, no. She's fine.
GK: Are you sure?
SS: Oh yeah, she's fine.
GK: Well, that's good to hear.
SS: Say, Don?
SS: I called to ask you a really big favor, if you'd be able to speak at Tiffany's graduation ---- it's on Tuesday.
GK: Tiffany is graduating! is that right --
SS: Yeah, time sure flies, doesn't it.
GK: I'll say. Gosh. Little Tiffany.
SS: Yeah, they sure grow up on you. You turn around and suddenly they're big----
GK: I've got to figure out what to give her for a present.
SS: Oh no, don't do that.
GK: Of course I'm going to give her a present. My own niece?
SS: Oh, she's got way too much stuff as it is. Leland gave her a car last week.
GK: Well, that's great. Maybe I'll give her a fountain pen.
SS: No, no. Don't go to all that expense.
GK: Well anyway I'm glad to give the graduation speech.
SS: Well, you know, if it's not too much trouble, I'd sure appreciate it. It wouldn't have to be a real long speech. Ten minutes is probably good enough.
GK: No problem.
SS: I know how busy you are.
GK: I'm glad to do it.
SS: I'd be glad to pay you for your mileage and all.
GK: No, no.
SS: Well, that's great. The school was looking --- you know --- for a speaker who's nationally known, actually they were trying to get Sandy Appleman, and then she had to cancel and I said, "Heck, my brother could do as good a job as anybody else!" and I told them about you and how you give speeches all the time and they said, "Well, okay, ask your brother." As long as Sandy Appleman can't do it, it's probably too late to ask anybody else.
SS: You sure it's no problem.
GK: No problem.
SS: You'd tell me if it was, wouldn't you?
GK: Don't worry about it.
SS: I know, but you'd tell me if it was a problem.
GK: I'm glad to do it.
SS: I mean maybe there are better speakers they could get, but we're talking Tuesday. so there's no oint in talking about it.
GK: I guess not.
SS: I mean, maybe somebody national could give a better speech, but who are you going to get at this point? I mean, you're not going to be getting a Larry King or a Johnny Cochran or a George Bush at this point, are you ---
SS: And those people charge 25 grand. Right?
GK: I guess --what time do I need to be there?
SS: Six o'clock.
SS: It's a bad time, isn't it.
GK: No, I can work that out.
SS: I knew I shouldn't have asked.
GK: It's okay.
SS: I knew it. Listen, I'll ask someone else. It's all right.
GK: No, really, I can do it.
SS: I knew I shouldn't have called.
GK: I'll do it.
SS: I'm always asking you for favors.
GK: It's okay.
SS: And now I'm taking up your time with this stupid phone call.
GK: It's no problem. I can do this.
SS: You're probably in the middle of something right now.
GK: I am, but it's okay.
SS: Oh, Don. Oh, gosh. Forgive me.
GK: It's okay -- really.
SS: You're probably there with Beth and the kids just sitting down to dinner-----
GK: Beth and the kids and we have some guests, but it's okay.
SS: Oh my gosh.
GK: Nancy, don't worry about it.
SS: I could just go shoot myself. I am just a big problem for everybody.
GK: Nancy, please.
SS: I'm sorry. I won't ever bother you again.
GK: It's okay.
SS: I'll find someone else. I'm terribly sorry.
GK: Nancy----- it's okay.
SS: All I do is cause problems. For you. for Leland. For Tiffany. She hates me.
GK: No, she doesn't.
SS: She can't wait to leave home. I don't blame her.
GK: Oh ----
SS: She says I try to put all this guilt on her. And she's right. I do.
SS: I'm no good as a mother, I'm no good as a wife.
SS: I'm just a big fat zero.
SS: I have no friends at all. None.
SS: And now I'm losing my daughter. The only good thing in my life. She's leaving me.
SS: I don't know why I keep going on. I honestly don't.
GK: Nancy, tell me where I need to be Tuesday at six o'clock.
SS: Never mind, Don. I've taken enough of your time.
GK: Nancy, settle down.
SS: It's my problem. I won't trouble you with it.
GK: Nancy, it's not that bad.
SS: I'm sorry. So sorry.
SS: Forgive me.
GK: Nancy, listen to me for two seconds. Please. Nancy. Just listen. Okay? Don't talk. Are you listening to me? Nancy?
SS: I'm listening.
GK: Okay. Listen. It's June, Nancy. It's a tough time because we went through all of that pain and cold and misery and sensory deprivation and we longed for summer, and we thought we'd be happy when summer came, and then summer did come, Nancy, and we're not as happy as we expected to be back when it was cold and snowy ---- we thought we'd be in paradise, and we're just here on earth, except it's greener. So we get depressed this time of year. As we do at all other times of year. Okay? You follow me?
SS: Okay. (SOBBING)
GK: Good. You go ahead and cry. It's good for us midwesterners to cry, because we tend to keep all of our anger and frustration inside us. It's good to let it out. And while you're letting it out, I'm looking at my calendar here and I can't possibly give that graduation speech on Tuesday.
SS: That's okay.
GK: I promised Mom I'd take her out for dinner that evening.
SS: That's good. You do that.
GK: Of course I could always dump Mom. Tell her I had a previous engagement. You know.
SS: No, no, no. You have dinner with Mom.
GK: I mean, she's 87, what's one more night at home alone watching TV?
SS: No, you take Mom to dinner. I'll find someone else.
GK: Are you sure?
SS: I'm sure.
GK: Are you okay now?
SS: I'm fine. Are you okay?
GK: I'm fine. Good talking to you.
SS: Good talking to you.
GK: Say hello to Leland.
SS: You say hello to Beth.
GK: I will -- bye now.
SS: Bye now.
(PHONE HANG UP)
TR: This has been ADVENTURES IN COMMUNICATION....."Asking for a Personal Favor".....For printed transcripts of this segment, give us a call. We'll see what we can do. (MUSICAL BUTTON)
© 1997 by Garrison Keillor