... > SPEECH 2
931 words (about 5-6 minutes)
information about the highlighted names,
see the descriptions at the end of the speech.]
and fellow Toastmasters ...
day, when you're old and grey, and you look back at your life,
I'm sure the memories that will stick most firmly in your mind
will be those of the characters you have met.
world has always welcomed characters.
can forget Cliff Young who went from
Colac potato farmer to marathon legend,
when he won the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Marathon
at age 61. Cliff was a character.
Joe Dolce, who reached to the No.1
spot of the Top 40 Charts in 15 countries, with the universally
acknowledged "worst song of all time" … Shuddup
Your Face. Dolce was also a character.
then there was Mark 'Jacko' Jackson,
who went from playing full forward for Geelong, to playing in
The Highwayman TV series in Hollywood.
Jacko was certainly a character.
for me, Kostas Poligamenos will always be remembered as a character.
exactly in the same sense as those I've just mentioned, because
he wasn't a sportsman or an entertainer. He was simply an accountant
... my accountant way back in the 80's when I had my photo studio.
what was it that made Kostas such a character?
of all, Kostas was a DORK.
wasn't a boring guy. He just got excited over boring things.
I first met him, he was 35 and single. He could never impress
had money … he always had money. But he didn't have personality.
In fact, if he had more charisma he would've made a good undertaker.
the bumper sticker didn't help either. In a desperate bid to add
a touch of humour to his personality, on the back of his BMW he
do it without losing their balance'.
he'd underlined the words 'do it' just so people didn't miss out
on the main point of the bumper sticker.
Kostas had a UNIQUE NAME.
Kostas wasn't always known as Kostas. When Greeks migrate to an
English-speaking country, it's common practise to anglicize their
names. Panagiotis becomes Peter, Giorgos becomes George, Dimitrios
- which is my name - translates to Jim, or James.
Kostas used to be called Con when he was at school. But as his
accounting business began to thrive, enhanced by his 'creative'
accounting practises, he went back to using Kostas, because being
known as a 'con', was just too close to the truth.
Kostas was CREATIVE.
fact, he was such a creative tax accountant they named a loophole
was such a creative accountant, if you asked him what 2 + 2 was,
he'd lean over and whisper, "How much would you like it to
was such a creative accountant that time and time again he'd impress
me with his finesse ... always solving problems for me I didn't
know I had, in a way I didn't understand.
he hated those government printed Tax Packs. "The government
gets your money when you fill out those forms," he'd say.
"These CPA income tax forms are much, much better".
But that was only because then he would get my money!
everything he did, he did by the book. I know this because when
I asked him what the difference was between tax avoidance and
tax evasion, he just said, "Jail."
Kostas was TRIVIAL.
time I nearly drove him insane when I handed back his road map,
all folded up the wrong way.
his timing was impeccable. One day we had the misfortune of being
in a bank when armed robbers burst in. Yes, armed robbers! And
while some of the robbers took money from the tellers, others
lined the customers, including us, up against the wall, and started
taking our wallets, watches, etc.
this was going on, Kostas slipped something into my hand. And
without daring to look, I whispered, "What's that?"
he said, "That's the 50 bucks I owe you."
then one day, Kostas became a LEGEND.
took a train trip with a couple of salesmen to a conference in
Ballarat. Kostas was always trying to impress me with his sharp
wit, so he bet our 2 companions, $20 each, that he could travel
on the train without buying a ticket. This intrigued them, so
we all boarded the train with a ticket, except for Kostas. The
salesmen took their seats but Kostas grabbed me and headed straight
for the toilets. Soon after the train departed, the conductor
came around collecting tickets. He knocked on the toilet door
and said, "Ticket, please."
grabbed my ticket, and opened the door just wide enough to stick
his arm out with the ticket in hand. The conductor took the ticket
and left. The associates saw this and agreed that Kostas had deservingly
won the bet, which made him $40 richer.
after the conference, the salesmen decided to copy us on the return
trip. So they bought a single ticket between them.
Kostas wasn't done yet. This time he bet our companions, $100
each, that both he and I could travel without a ticket. Now this
was definitely a wager too hard to resist, so once more the salesmen
all boarded the train, and our 2 friends quickly headed for the
toilets. Kostas and I did the same and crammed into the toilet
immediately opposite theirs. But soon after the train departed,
Kostas snuck out and walked up to the toilet opposite. Then he
knocked on the door and said, "Ticket, please."
you're not Australian, then some of the humour will be lost because
you most likely don't know some of the names I'm referring to
in my speech. So here's a list that will help clarify some things
for you ...]
Young ... 61-year-old farmer who won the first Westfield
Sydney to Melbourne Marathon (875 kilometers) in 1983.
... rural town near Melbourne, Australia (population 10,000).
Sydney to Melbourne Marathon ... longest marathon
in Australia at a distance of 875 kilometres. First run in 1983.
Westfield Shopping Centres - one of the largest
shopping complexes in Australia.
Sydney: Australia's largest city (population 3.9
Melbourne: Australia's second-larget city (population
Dolce ... Australian singer/song writer originally
Your Face ... Number One song in Australia in 1981,
then repeated its success around the world! Afterwards voted as
the "all-time worst song in recorded history".
'Jacko' Jackson ... probably the ugliest Australian
Rules footballer of all time. As well as being a thug (he was
reported many times), he was also renowned for clowning around
on the football field to entertain the spectators ... both habits
being excellent qualifications for a quick move to Hollywood and
onto the TV screen.
Highwayman ... short-running American science-fiction
TV series (9 episodes; Sep 1987 - May 1988), starring Mark 'Jacko'
Jackson and a big high-tech 18-wheeler truck.
... > SPEECH 2
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