In 1969, a speech was written that, thankfully, no one ever heard.
It was a contingency speech written by White House staffer William Safire, to be read by President Richard Nixon in case Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were stranded to die on the surface of the moon.
Tomorrow night, Aug. 18, 2016, I will be throwing out the first pitch at the Kane County Cougars Political Corruption Night in my role as arch-dictator and creator of the Chicago Corruption Walking Tour.
What follows are my own contingency speeches for when a pudgy writer with spindly little scarecrow arms tries to do something physical before a large crowd of people.
In the event the pitch lands two feet in front of me, then rolls a bit:
Fate, that capricious zephyr that flits among our actions and desires, left for naught the aspirations of local blogger, tour guide and sideburnist Paul Dailing on Thursday.
Like the Athenians at Syracuse, like the satraps at the crossing of the Granicus, Dailing saw his ambitions halted by fate’s command. His desire, to heave the orb into the sky. His reality, a plop from his grip into the dust and petrichor of man’s hubris.
But at this moment of shame and humiliation, let us remember the words of Seneca in those heady pre-Pisonian days of glory:
“It’s not because things are difficult that we dare not venture. It’s because we dare not venture that they are difficult.”
Let us hope these words offer balm to Dailing, because, dude, that pitch was balls-awful.
In the event the pitch goes wide:
They asked. He answered. But his answer wasn’t what anyone wanted.
Blogger, tour guide and former mascot of a nonprofit offering low-interest home improvement loans to South Side homeowners Paul Dailing was a gun for hire, a man with anger in his eyes and a wild arm. Men called him crazy. Women called him irrational.
But they called him. And that’s what put this tale in motion…
In the event of rain (narrated by Morgan Freeman):
Well, old Paul was a lot of things. A blogger, a tour guide, a former ska fan. But one thing he wasn’t was a meteorologist. (Soft, wise chuckle) And that’s just fine.
In the event a wild pitch strikes and kills mascot Ozzie T. Cougar:
The sporting community was struck a blow today, as beloved mascot and large cat Ozzie T. Cougar was felled by a rogue pitch from blogger, tour guide and winner of Auburn High School Class of ’97 second-most talkative vote Paul Dailing.
Dailing, 36, who upon striking Cougar, 25 (175 in cougar years), was heard to yell “Oh fart” and sprint out of the stadium, is currently wanted for questioning by the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and the ASPCA.
He is considered armed but not very dangerous, at least not on purpose.
In the event of a pitch so bad it becomes a GIF featured as #6 in a Buzzfeed article “17 Things All Laughably Pathetic Clown-Weaklings Know Too Well”:
The struggle is real! Blogger, tour guide and owner of novelty T-shirts Paul Dailing was asked to throw this pitch and you’ll never guess what happened next! OMG! Talk about FOMO and LCAQ! This is… the worst! #dying!
In the event the pitch goes perfectly fine and everyone has a lovely time at the ballpark:
What? Dude, I can’t consider every contingency. Don’t be silly.