How Streaking Is – and Isn’t – Like Public Speaking

Streaking – dashing through a public area in the nude – is much like public speaking. At the same time, streaking is the opposite of public speaking.

I recently saw a streaker, for the first time since an assembly in high school, which was four decades ago. From giving my earliest speeches in what now exceeds a hundred, with the fear never to be forgotten, it occurred to me how much streaking is like beginning public speaking.

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Some prefer streaking with their speaking.

For example, when giving a speech it’s common for the moisture in our mouths to relocate to our palms, and elsewhere I would think, depending on gender. I envision the same thing happening when streaking.

How different can the psyching-up process be for the streaker as for the speaker? With all eyes upon you as you stand on stage to give a speech, there is no doubt that you are being scrutinized. So too, the streaker. To counteract this disadvantage, beginning public speakers are advised to imagine the audience in their underwear or, without their clothes entirely. The idea is that imagining yourself as the only one not nude will give you a sense of superiority and power.

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We have gathered today to remember grandma’s life and what she meant to us.

Streaking is entirely the opposite. The streaker purposely makes himself the only one who is nude.

A speaker hopes the audience will respond to him or her positively, and speakers will spare no words toward this end. The streaker, on the other hand, doesn’t have to utter a single word. Loud and clear, his message comes across: “Look at me! I’m a crazy son-of-a-bitch!” As the audience roars their approval he may shout and give a fist pump in glee.Sometimes a speaker will come across as a show-off. On the other hand, all streakers are show-offs – and we love it!

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Behold the white-tailed humanoid in its native state.

It was during the intermission when I was at a motor-speedway that a streaker hilariously appeared. The audience roared as he sprinted a quarter of the way around the track before a speedway employee, coming from the side, joined another in pursuit and closed the gap. Up the fence went the streaker, with one of his pursuers right behind.

This is another difference between streaking and speaking – speakers don’t need to be able to run fast. Very rarely would a speaker need to make an escape. But in streaking evading capture is of prime importance.

Streaking can have extreme risks. Thankfully, the streaker made it over the fence’s two top strands of barbed wire without getting caught on a barb. In public speaking it’s rare to injure oneself – I’ve seen an experienced presenter fall off the stage, and not be hurt in the slightest.

As the streaker raced for a forested hill, his lily white butt glowing in the dark, the announcer commented on how the guy was going to be stiff after going over that fence. Quite likely he was experiencing a certain rush. Moments later the streaker reappeared to join the person holding his clothes. It didn’t end there.

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OMG, I lost my sock and now they can see my foot!

Like all speakers, and especially comedians, the streaker had gained confidence from all the laughs and cheers he got, which made him, well, even more cocky. The racetrack being a place for taking wild risks, the streaker was a good fit with the program, and apparently he didn’t want to miss the highlight of the Travel Trailer Night of Destruction. He attempted to re-enter the grounds, and was apprehended at the gate. According to the announcer, the streaker would be turned over to “the authorities…whichever authorities were deemed appropriate.”

If I could make a suggestion to the streaker, it would be this: Why not try your hand at public speaking? It can give you that same adrenaline rush, but without the risk of being charged with indecent exposure.

Linda Schaab devotes her time to a wide range of creative projects, plus enjoying the many splendors of a locale known as “Canada’s Napa Valley”. She lives in Kelowna, BC.

©2016, all rights reserved
published with the permission of the author

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