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Chapter Six. The Best of References > Everybody talks about the weather

Everybody talks about the weather

Reference to weather can be effective, but even the best weather forecasters sometimes fail to take their umbrella and end up with a soaking. When a top-level executive of a major industrial corporation scheduled a speech at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, he (or his speech writer) anticipated springlike weather for the event and wrote the speech opening accordingly. What actually happened was that the speaker encountered a rare April snowstorm. Here is how he handled the opening:

I barely made it here from New York, flying through a blinding April snowstorm. Many of you barely made it across town, but I'm delighted you are here. You won't believe the opening paragraph of the speech I wrote for you last week. It certainly proves that the best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray. Listen:

"It's great to be in Chicago. While I love Michigan Avenue in December, with all the white lights on, I must admit it feels a lot better in April."

The trauma of this unseasonable weather has an accidental relevance to the subject of my remarks. Snowstorm or not, I'm particularly pleased to be here at the Business School of this distinguished University, close to the cradle of monetarism—a subject on which, you'll be relieved to hear, I have no pronouncements.


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