We all ask ourselves, as we are preparing our speeches: what’s my main objective? To entertain? To inform? To inspire? All are worthy, and a speech can push more than one button. But once a year at VanCore we aim for something completely different: To scare.
This week’s spooktacular meeting fell on October 31. Anyone who had forgotten what day it was was jogged when past-president Jonathan strode in under a pumpkin head, which he tipped up during introductions, like Galahad before Arthur, to reveal his face.
Jonathan led table topics down the Halloween wormhole. How much shiver can you get into a two-minute speech? Turns out, quite a bit. To scare someone — as distinct from startling them (Boo!) — is tricky. You have to engage attention from the get go, and then slowly change the temperature. It’s a kind of twisted seduction. And as with a seduction, it helps if your bloodcurdling story is a little bit funny, too.
We learned that Mary Lou inherited her black cat, Ebony, via re-gifting. We delved into the history of Halloween traditions like witches and jack o’ lanterns. We heard of encounters with real ghosts and genuinely haunted homes. Was it all true? Was any of it true? Hey, Halloween is not a time for fact-checkers. On this night, the heart knows what it knows.