Why I Defend Megan Fox to the Death

In February I visited my parents in San Diego, a city that apparently price matches with Disney World. Day one I treated myself to a mocha without looking at the menu…NINE DOLLARS!

For a mocha!

By day two, I wisened up and made the slightly longer walk to Dunkin Donuts.

Our first Sunday there was Super Bowl weekend. Now that I’m on the West Coast, I no longer have to hustle to bed as the game ends; I have hours and hours to pour over postgame thought pieces, interviews and articles. There I was, doing that, when one headline stopped me in my tracks*

*Figure of speech. I was very much stopped already, on the couch​


You should know this about me:
I stand up for Megan Fox with the loyalty of a knight shielding thine king.

You might be (you probably are) wondering why.
Is she a relative?
A friend from growing up?
Did I enjoy Jennifer’s Body?

Nope. Nope. Nope.

It’s just that we have the same kind of thumbs.

[They’re really special thumbs]

Officially called brachydactly type D, these thumbs are also known as murderer’s thumbs.

That’s right: murderer’s thumbs.

Thumbs of a murderer.

I guess in the 19th-century, a few famous palm readers declared that the terrible qualities of these thumbs have given people like myself and Megan Fox “passion and determination strong enough to take human life.”

(Maybe that’s why she’s in all these horror films?)

I’ve met a handful of fellow brachydactlyists in my day. There aren’t many of us. Whenever I meet one, we react with the joy of two people who just learned they’re not so alone in the world.

me with fellow #weirdthumb Caleb Wojcik

It’s funny the little things that can bond us to a person.

Now, the point of this isn’t so much about myself or Megan Fox or how neither of us has ever won a thumb-wrestling match. The point is: when we feel connected to a person, we have their back.

That’s why one of the items on my Speech Checklist is: through story, anecdote or example, give the audience a glimpse into your personality.

Said differently: give the audience a reason they could be friends with you. Even if they never actually meet you.

Tell them about your quirks. Work a favorite movie into your speech. Talk about how frustrating it is to you when ___ happens*.

​*But for the love of all that’s good, don’t talk about traffic. Choose something semi-unique. Everyone talks about traffic​

While it’s not the top priority on your Great Speech Checklist, it’s critical your personality – or said differently, your humanity – appears somewhere.

Every time you do that, it gives your audience the chance to connect with you.

The great speakers know this.

• John Mark Comer loves to talk about Star Wars and Chemex coffee in his sermons.

• Pat Flynn loves Back to the Future enough to make it the theme of a keynote.

• Amy Porterfield mentions how she unironically loves Don’t Stop Believing

• In the most popular TED talk ever, Sir Ken Robinson has a story from his son’s Nativity Play. Can’t you see someone running into him at the airport, exchanging stories about naive childhood optimism?

Last year I worked with Chelsea Peitz on a speech that left her audience – mostly dudes – in tears. When she finished, there was a long line to speak to her.

What did she talk about that could move an audience of men to tears? Adopting a dog.

We always focus on the logical elements in a speech – your points, supporting points, anything tactical. Necessary. But don’t shortchange what happens when a presenter shares a small piece of themselves with their audience.

Do that and you just might have strangers defending your honor in internet fights.

I got you, Megan.


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Metaphorically speaking, a lot of us do the same when we start a speech: we make it all about ourselves. We read our resume to the audience.

Y’all. We don’t need to do that. At best that comes off as braggy; more likely it comes off as insecure. 

Don't be that guy.

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These are stories, hacks, speech critiques and recommendations. I spend an inordinate amount of time writing these.


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