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"William was outstanding. He had everyone in hysterics. He crafted his presentation brilliantly for the audience. He had a tremendous challenge in communicating to an audience that had representation from dozens of countries worldwide and ... William was excellent!" -Deborah Mates -The Lawson Health Research Institute -London, Ont.

"We were delighted to have William Thomas as our closing speaker. His presentation and subject matter kept everyone in fits of laughter. Just what the doctor ordered for the OMC delegates after participating in four full days and nights of conference activities. Bill's many talents as a humorist, author and speaker brought rave reviews from all in attendance. I would be delighted to have him back at future events." -Bill Laughlin -Supervisor, District School Board Of Niagara

"Mr. Thomas: On behalf of the Smithsonian Associates, please accept my warmest thanks for providing our group with a terrific series of lectures last week. You are not only a wonderful speaker, but also blessed with the ability to get everyone involved right from the start. That kind of participation is what we seek in a seminar." Amy Warner -Coordinator, The Smithsonian Associates

"Congratulations to whoever suggested such a great speaker. I was laughing out loud." -Pam Price, Edmonton SPCA Board of Directors "The speaker was excellent." -Gail Lovig of Company's Coming
"William's ability to make people laugh about a wide range of subjects is a testament to his natural flair for finding humour in the simplicities of everyday life." -Jill Didow -The Edmonton SPCA "The speaker was superb." -Cherie Demers, Alberta Ferret Society

William's comment -"The Alberta Ferret Society! We have a lobby group for ferrets in this country?"

Describing WILLIAM THOMAS' recent address to 600 conventioneers of Beta Sigma Phi Sorority, organizer Marlene Dobbie said, " ... waves of laughter permeated at least three floors of the Royal Connaught Hotel in Hamilton." Said William in all modesty, "Its a very old hotel; it was pretty easy to permeate. "

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Can you hear me in the back?
No? It’s just as well."

“I do not object to people looking at their watches when I am speaking. But I strongly object when they start shaking them to make certain they are still going.” The British Lord Birkett.
Been there, seen that, had to talk louder than the lady on her cell phone. Making a living at the microphone is not as easy as it looks.
Last month, the day after a bizarre killing in Toronto, I spoke to a group at a public library and began by asking them to please turn off their cell phones … and their crossbows. At least until I was finished.
A week later I addressed several hundred educators in Waterloo and my host was a very congenial woman by the name of Lois Love. What a great name.
“Lois Love – by day she was a mild mannered administrator of the Waterloo School Board, by night she ran a professional call girl agency in nearby St. Jacobs.” The audience seemed to enjoy that opening. Lois, not so much.
Say what you like, with St. Jacobs being the capital of Amish country, that’s a very tough job.
Somewhat geographically challenged, Lois had given me directions for the drive from Niagara to the Stakes Centre in Waterloo and I had one thing to say to the group when I finally arrived: “Man, Detroit is looking grim at this time of year!
”Lois said she downloaded the directions from “MapQuest” but I think it must have been “Napquest” because every three or four hours I had to pull over and get some rest. A lovely lady, Lois Love, but not someone I’m anxious to take a road trip with, anytime soon.
And then along came Mike. Many of us remember exactly where we were the day John Kennedy was shot. I will never forget November 13th, 2010 the evening I spoke to a hundred farmers and their spouses in nearby Wellandport for the Harvest Gala Dinner and Annual Meeting. Wellandport as some of you may know is famous for having a gas station that not only doubles as a convenience store, but it also rents videos. If it wasn’t for the Home Hardware store, you could put Wellandport on the back of a flatbed truck and move it closer to its biological twin village of Wainfleet. Together they could be a hamlet.
I knew I was in trouble when the Master of Ceremonies for the gala called in sick and he was either unable or unwilling to forward the agenda. Cathy, the woman who booked me as the guest speaker was kneeling beside the poor, unsuspecting, substitute MC, writing out the schedule for the evening as the catering staff were streaming out of the kitchen with plates of food.
When I mentioned a podium would be an excellent idea for myself as well as other presenters, Cathy sent a big guy over to the church where he broke in the back door and returned with a small lectern. (I was careful to wipe my prints off of it when I was finished.)
I sat with a few of the big wigs of provincial agricultural federations and don’t’ get me wrong – salt of the earth people – but I now know way, way too much about fertilization, infestation and crop rotation. (Honest, you can actually reduce field application overlap by using foam markers!)
Finally, after a lot of shop talk and industry acknowledgements, I was introduced as the guest speaker by Mike.
Mike was subbing for the Robert who was pressed into service when the designated MC failed to show up because he’d probably heard me speak before. After Mike, Millie from the kitchen was next in line to perform this service. At the microphone Mike began by holding my introduction at arm’s length because he’d misplaced his reading glasses probably a decade earlier.
“Wayne Tomalson is an author, a columnist, a …” Oh boy.
Mike was getting a lot of laughs as he butchered my introduction line by line. But the piece de resistance or as Mike would say “the pizza with raisins” was when he claimed that I had written the definite book (the word was ‘definitive’) on male behavior titled Gays – Not Real Bright And Damn Proud Of It!.
At this point Mike might as well have finished with a big flourish: “Would you welcome please, the always homophobic Bill “The Gay Basher” Thomas!”
The only way this introduction could have been worse is if they played Send In The Clowns on my way to the microphone and pelted me with cow patties once I got there. Kennedy at least, didn’t know what hit him.
“Thank you Mike. There’s a convoy of combines leaving Wellandport for a protest demonstration at Queen’s Park in Toronto. Please be under it.”
“And just for the record, the book Mike mentioned was actually Guys … Guys Not Real Bright And Damn Proud Of It. Not Gays. Okay?”
“You see, I think guys, guys like me and you, we sometimes do really stupid things
. Not gays. That is to say, maybe gay guys also do dumb things but … “ I was digging myself a hole in Wellandport that will serve as the site of their new water treatment plant.
So yeah, I spent an hour on a Saturday night in Wellandport trying to convince a hall full of farmers that I was straight. And in the end, I swear at least two of those big boys in the back looked very disappointed.
And Mike, I’m speaking at a conference in Niagara Falls next week. Please be in Waterloo.

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