Ahem. Before I begin, I would just like to say, please excuse the masseur. He'll be up here off and on during the rest of my talk, so just pretend he isn't there. Also, I would like to make the request that we have only traditional clapping occur. That is, the appreciative non-spontaneous kind used as a responsive measure to something you like or approve of. It is otherwise known as 'applause'. I'm sure you've heard of it.
I'm going to assume that meant you liked what I just said. Very good. Let's get started then. Long ago, when I was in college, much younger and smarter than many of you were here right now, I lived in a dorm. I had a pot-luck roommate, whose name, irrelevantly, was Bryan.
I take it you've heard of him? And you are fond of him, I presume? I'm going to have to presume because we are clapping during this talk only to communicate appreciation, yes? We are adhering to the laws of causality and meaning? Okay, good. So yes, Bryan. Nice fellow. Now, as is often the case, a restriction of the dorm room was that its occupants had to slumber in bunk beds. Now, sometimes Bryan, up on the top bunk, snored. Or rather, his breathing was loud and prevented my own sleep. To solve this problem, many gruff and rustic persons would simply have yelled to their roommates in the bunks above them: "HEY! Get UP! You're SNORING!", or some other such vulgar thing. I'll have you know, I was an extraordinarily thoughtful and considerate young man, and still am (although not so thoughtful, hehe). No, I sought not to indulge in such rude activity. Bryan would not wake up on my account. But I wasn't about to suffer in silence, and so I began to experiment. If the bunk bed was jostled, it would consequently jostle the roommate and interrupt his sleeping experience just enough to cause him to turn his head slightly, thereby affecting his breathing habits - but not his overrall consciousness. How much to jostle though? It was difficult to gage the correct amount of force to produce the desired effect. Plus, it's a bit rude. So the plan was abandoned.
I came to my next breakthrough when I lifted a shoe next to my bed a few feet above the floor and dropped it. The noise the impact made was significantly cacophonous enough to produce the desired effect. However, if subsequent snoring occurred later on during the same night, the shoe was unreliable as a snore-stopping device. It had the propensity to bounce upon hitting the floor, ending up in a place not easily accessible to the lazy and sleep-deprived. Considerable effort would have to be required to recoup the shoe, I realized. So I resigned this line of attack. That's when it finally occured to me that I should clap. Yes, clap, ladies and gentlemen. And it worked like a charm, this clapping, Using my own two palms, I could easily alter and control the loudness. I like to say that 'clapping snipped the snores so I could snooze' (That's available on T-shirts from my web-site by the way). So clap I did, whenever the need warranted it. And all was good. After several months of this happy clapping, I received a query one day from my roommate Bryan. He said to me, "Hey Henry. Have you been hearing any weird, uh.. clapping sounds at night?"
The gig was up. He hadn't slept through them after all. I was forced to confess everything. I admitted to Bryan my sincere fear that he had been telling his friends this whole time that he had a crazy roommate, one that clapped for no apparent reason at night, while he slept. I imagined that they all had a nickname for me behind my back: "The Clapper". He assured me this was not the case, and that he only suspected me as the cause of the strange clapping sounds and had finally garnered enough confidence to ask me about it. I swore off 'Nocturnal Clapping' there and then, my friends. But I urge you all here today to take it up! Surely, you people like this sort of thing. You all paid for this lecture and can clearly see its merits. I have enlightened and inspired all of you.
Good night, and thank you for your time.
Now is the appropriate time for you to applause.
Well, whatever. I'll be in my suites. Alert room service. Have them skip the first five courses. I'm saving room for the chocolate fountain.
Biography of Kermit the Frog, soon to be published by Lego...
Kermit "my brother Brian" the Frog was born on May 9, 1955 to a poor pauper and his wife's wife. The pauper's name was Gunterheim and his wife's wife was named Shirky. On the most notable date of June 22nd (22 years later), it occurred to Kermit that he'd like to have a brother. Thus, yours truly was conceived and clothed in rich gold linens and the diamonds of kings. But that's another story.
The Early Years (1955-1956):
Kermit's childhood was punctuated by repeated explosions brought about by assaults upon the mind, brought about my "assassipsychics", who were trained men and women devoted to the act of blowing up the minds of important people. Kermit, being the sole frog in Christian captivity, was considered the most stylish celebritess of the age, and thus a target for "mind-assault". His gowns and graceful way of descending staircases were mimicked by the elderly around the globe. A man named Tuckers marketed a line of lingerie socks with the likeness of Kermit's swarthy drunken countenance. This became the inspiration for the 1983 movie "Robo-Cop", starring Denzel Washington as himself, and also a line of lunch-boxes with poisonous spikes in them.
The Years of Turmoil (1956-1957):
Despite the warnings of his doctors, Kermit turned to painkillers as a way to cure South African apartheid. Unfortunately, his usage of the drug only worsened the situation over there. In a rage, Kermit destroyed Tokyo, then claimed it was all in fun. A joke, he called it, but Japan refused to laugh. In 1992, they sent two helicopters to his Manhattan home and delivered four newspapers. Kermit read only the funnies then coughed up some sort of Bigfoot/Loch Ness hybrid. This was to be the first of many revenge schemes on the part of the Rising Sun. To this day, he has eluded all Japanese wraths. Kermit went into hiding after this incident. For fourteen long terrible years, Kermit was employed as an anonymous glass-blower in Miami. His wife Splat was a loving person, but tended to freeze milk and eat it like it was food. This behavior disgusted and depressed Kermit, and one day in 1965, he left her. In a jar on the kitchen table he put his billions in fortunes, his inherited heirlooms, and a winning lottery ticket. To this day, she has never spent a penny, but still acts quite snobby at parties.
Hope Springs Eternal (1957-2338):
Kermit became the first nun in outer space.
The Voyage Home (2338-?):
Kermit the Frog is a living legend that inspires our parents to be kind to us. Few can forget the "tall tales" that show us that Kermit is far superior to anyone at playing basketball, lassoing enormous fish, running marathons, and shooting junk. If it wasn't for my brother, we wouldn't have two congresses. We wouldn't eat salad occasionally. There wouldn't even be a Starbucks on the corner of Vine and Ninth. But now, I must finally reveal Kermit the Frog's secret. A secret he hasn't told anyone ever. You've all been living under a misapprehension. My brother let me reveal his secret at the very end of his biography so that I could cash in. Here goes... Ready? Kermit the Frog... is a CAT!
What's Next for El Gato? (?-2005):
Well, now you know. The damage is done. Kermit the Frog died in 1824 at the fertile age of 31. He was nineteen. His sole surviving nieces adopted him posthumously as their child. In World War II he fought bravely and burned up Hitler with a bowie knife. He was never thanked. Also, he is Australia's fattest man. He can out-eat a pack of dogs.