20 June, 2019

Gavel Club Epic Fail; or, Why Ambition Doesn't Always Pay

It's the morning on which I'm scheduled to speak this month. My speech is well prepared, sure to entertain and inform, and I feel confident that a Best Speaker honor will be mine at the meeting's end. I'm oblivious to the fact that reality's about to prove all these beliefs wrong.

I shake a couple of the other members' hands but don't make it into the meeting room before being pulled aside. The Institutional Activities Coordinator stands in her office doorway, looking terribly stern. Her eyes burning holes through me.

"Are you Case?" she asks. "You're no longer in Gavel Club. You've been removed from the call-out. It's been approved by admin."

My poor, beleaguered heart sinks. I suspect that this has to do with my recent inquiry, via e-mail, into Gavel Clubs' place in Toastmasters' district structure. Our president told me that she'd gotten wind of this and did not approve. But to revoke my membership over it, without any warning? This seems unduly harsh.

In her next breath she confirms my fear. "You had e-mails sent to Toastmasters through an outside party, and that is not allowed. You're out. Go back to your house."

What else can I do but tell the truth? In an even tone, I say, "I understand if I overstepped, and I apologize for that. I didn't know I was doing anything wrong by contacting Toastmasters. Is there any way I can appeal this decision?"

She walks me to the door, in a huff. "Maybe in a year."

A couple of the members watch me, confusion all over their faces, as I exit the hallway. It was challenging fun, gentlemen, I want to tell them, but can't.

This is what happens when you try to do good things around here.


  1. It almost feels like you have to ask permission for every single thing you do. What a microscope to live under. I'm sorry.

  2. Just wanted you to know I am reading this and you are heard.

  3. any rejection is redirection.

  4. Came to read this after reading 'Back to the Lectern'. Really sad this happened but happy there is a chance to get back


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