Big sawmill conference Day One. I presented today. Today and Wednesday. I left home around 5am to make time for the drive over here, and was due to present “around” 11:30am. Arriving around 9am, I had a quick breakfast with my boss and then found my conference-themed polo. I stripped to the shirtsleeves in some abandoned room filled with shipping containers and donned the just out of the box and still wrinkled “official garb.” I walked into the conference room around 9:30am and was surprised when they asked me to present right around 10am; imagine my double-surprise when they told the first presenter had flaked and they needed me to fill an hour of time rather than my planned half-hour.

Great. Not much additional time to prep, but thankfully I’d used the car ride over to do some last minute run-through and tweaks (nothing like editing PowerPoint at 70mph in the passenger seat). Anyway, unexpected as the early start was, and unsure I’d be able to pull out over 30min of talking, I walked up to take my lavaliere and plug in my laptop. One big sigh and a sip of bottled water later, I began.

“Good morning folks, I’m Dave Lastname and I was supposed to have about 30min today to talk to you about ThingX. Turns out they tell me I have more like an hour, so let’s see what I can do. I drove over this morning from PlaceX today, so I’m gonna pass around a little jar for gas money here at the end of my presentation. If you like what you hear, please show me some love.”

And with that I was off. I managed to go for about 50min, and everything went much better than I had envisioned. It still wasn’t the smooth, practiced patter that comes from doing a presentation for the tenth or twentieth time, and they managed to stump me a couple times – but I got some instant feedback that I was the most engaging presenter that morning. That can make a body feel good, y’know? So, after all that fretting, it looks like the medium amount of preparation I did was sufficient. Well, at least for Monday’s session it was… I still have to do it again Wednesday (but typically things get better, not worse). Glad you guys were here to see me through it all.

Anyway, I’m back from the bar now. One too many celebratory beers and I realize I have to cut this thing short for it to make sense. I went fishing at 5am on Saturday in Florida, and I got canvassed by no-see-um bites before the sun was high enough to force them back into hiding. Two days later and I feel like I have the chicken pox or something: my legs, arms, and lower back are literally covered with red itchy welts, and I can’t stop scratching. Please, Lord, help me to stop scratching.


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