Tuesday, September 13, 2011

How not to introduce someone

About 35 years ago I attended my first Roanoke Bar Association Law Day Luncheon. The speaker for this occasion was William B. Spong, Jr. , then Dean of the Marshall-Wythe School of Law at the College of William and Mary, Virginia. Dean Spong had served as US Senator from Virginia for one term and was truly an honest politician. Everyone at the luncheon knew who he was.

Being so well known poses a problem for the person who gets the honor to introduce them without boring the audience.  That honor fell to B. Purnell Eggleston, a senior and distinguished member of the bar. He handled it in what would now be considered politically incorrect.

"Members of the Bar and distinguished guests, our speaker really doesn't need an introduction.  In fact, he recently spoke at a function in Richmond and the lady making the introduction -- a lady from the high society of Richmond matrons -- was gushing at the opportunity.  She said in her genteel Southern Matronly drawl, 'Ladies and gentlemen, our speaker has served in the Virginia House of Delegates, the Virginia Senate, the United States Senate -- why, he's done so many things his Who's Who is Nine inches long!' "

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