Monday, July 30, 2018


Best TableTopic on 'My Terrible Itch'

Harrovians July 30 2018, I won the ribbon for best table topic.

I was hoping to be picked but had been ignored for the first two topics. However, I was glad not to be picked when I heard the topic.

President Jesus Parada was also the Table Topics master for the evening.

Question: Describe the time you had a terrible itch.

That's a difficult topic, I thought. First my mind was blank. Sneezing, tickling, that's not an itch. Mosquito bites? Allergies? Pimples and crabs and head lice? I don't want to be embarrassed or disgusting.

As I heard the question and walked to the lectern on stage, I thought: Chicken Pox.

When I go to the lectern, I thought of a label on the back of a dress scratching. I said:

The worst itch I had was the label of a dress scratching the back of my neck, when I was sitting in a meeting. I wriggled around. (I demonstrated wriggling).

I looked like I was doing yoga or practising a dance movement, or an aqua class. (More wriggling of both shoulders and frowning.) I couldn't reach it!

When I stood up, it didn't go away. It just got worse!.

I was still hunching one shoulder, and wriggling about like a was trying to salsa and had forgotten the moves. It looked like I was a loony. I edged towards the door to get away from people. People must have been wondering if I was about to have a fit or run out of the room.

When I got home, I found the dress label was the problem. I couldn't understand why the label was so scratchy - until I went onto a website about using my sewing machine to make a dress label. The instruction suggested cutting a ribbon, embroidering your name, then sealing the frayed edge of the ribbon with a glue gun, which heated up and sealed the glue.

No wonder I itched!
It was rough and sharp, and scratching me. (Wriggle and frown.)

 The label didn't have a soft edge, sewn with thread.

I cut off the label.

I used to wonder why people cut labels off clothes? I remembered we used to have an au pair girl from Yugoslavia who cut labels off clothes. She said that when the country was Communist she was not allowed to bring back clothes from the West, so she concealed their origin by cutting off the label. She never suffered from the itching of scratchy labels!

The dress I'm wearing now doesn't have a scratchy label. It doesn't have any label - because it's a reversible dress. If you want to avoid the itch of a scratchy label, either cut it off, or wear a reversible dress. Remember my terrible itchy moment. (Wriggle shoulders.)

Two hecklers from the audience. Indra calls: "What's a reversible dress?"

A reversible dress is what I'm wearing now. (I lift up my skirt to show the different pattern on the lining / underside.)

(Indra from the audience) "Are you going too take it off and show us?"

I did take it off when I was giving a talk to a Women's Institute about travelling light with reversible dresses. But no point taking it off for you, because it doesn't have a label!

Besides I'm out of time. Anyway, next time you look at a label, think of my terrible itch.

I looked at the meeting agenda and saw nobody listed as the table topics evaluator. So I wrote notes on the other speakers.
After the other speech evaluators, somebody, probably Indra, queried, do we have a topics evaluator?

Somebody said no.
I called out, I can do it, or we call all do it.
Seema, the most senior person in the room, Division PR director, decided, 'Yes, we'll all do it'.

The Toastmaster of the evening agreed, "Yes, we'll all do it."
He beckoned to me, "Come up, Angela.:

Somebody said, "I thought we were all doing it."
He replied, "Yes, and Angela can organize it."

When it came to evaluating myself, I asked what was good about my answer.
Indra said, "You were able to answer a challenging subject. You told a personal story."

I was also able to demonstrate the itch by amusingly dancing around and making faces.
Copyright Angela Lansbury

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