When I was in high school I followed a custom I’d learned in elementary school: I entered the oratorical contests.  Now in high school we had the Marist Brothers as teachers, and one year Bro. Kieran offered me “Spartacus’ Speech to the Gladiators”.  I memorized it immediately; it inspired rebellion.

That speech taught me that men and women think differently, and vive la difference.  I got up on the stage and did what I had never done before – I spat out the harsh words of a Roman gladiator and slave.  I gloried in the role.  And I didn’t even get an honorable mention.  Now I had won oratorical contests before.  I was no upstart in public speaking.  But I found out later who the judges were, and I accepted the results.

The Brothers had no representatives on the judges’ panel, as I recall.  The good sisters, who had encouraged me in elementary school (The Schools of St. Mary) were the majority of five, and that speech just didn’t appeal to the fair sex.  I was doomed by the good women who’d brought me this far.

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