The Snuggie Speech

While many have read the original blog post, “Not the Snuggie!” – I have been asked by several to post the transcript of the speech that I gave at the semi-finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking on August 18. Of course, reading it is no match to viewing it – but here you go:

Be Careful What You Wish For, or You  May Just Get a Snuggie

What got more press than the pet rock and received more hullabaloo than the hula hoop? That blanket with sleeves, The Snuggie!

Ladies and gentlemen – Say what you will about the Snuggie, you must admit, it has become part of the very fabric of our modern society. You can get a Snuggie in virtually any country, any color, in leopard or daisy print, they’ve even started marketing the Snuggie for Two …and the Snuggie for dogs. Dogs!

I believe that the Snuggie phenomenon says a lot about how we live our lives. Think about it, how often have you set your sights so low that you got exactly what you asked for, but so much less than what you really wanted? We waste our time in wishing – when we should be getting off of the couch and investing that time in each other. We’re not even careful wish for; we’re ending up with daisy, double and doggy Snuggies!

Never was that more clear to me than two years ago.

That was the Christmas that my landlord gave me a Snuggie in lieu of turning on the building’s heat. (I admit, the bar was a little low on that one). That was also the Christmas just before my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer.

I could have wished for a better apartment. I could have wished the doctors were wrong. I could have wished for more time – but I chose instead to invest my time with my mother, rather than waste it wishing.

I took that Snuggie to the big family gathering – the one with uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins, twice-removeds – the whole horde.

Mom was so excited to be hosting that year that she went completely berserk with her decorating. I mean, as far as the eye could see there were red poinsettias, green garland, and white, holiday spice-scented candles merrily flickering in their frosted glass, snowflake-shaped holders.

Because we are such a large group, our tradition includes what we call a “Dirty Santa” gift exchange. Some of you may have played this at an office party, where you each bring one wrapped gift and you all draw numbers. You then go in order, each person getting the choice to either open a new gift, or steal one that’s already been opened. It gets quite competitive. The year Grandma died, one of her vases actually caused a family brawl.

This year, the gift of great concern turned out to be …the Snuggie. Mom clutched her number and bounced up and down in her seat when she saw it. As soon as it was her turn, she popped up and wrestled out of her own brother’s hands, then it to her chest with a triumphant look on her face.

Unfortunately, Cousin Sheri stole the Snuggie. Disheartened, mom went to the pile and opened a new gift, a collection of soup fixings with giant mugs. “Oh, this is good, I guess” she said with only the slightest hint of disappointment in her voice.

Aunt Shirley stole the soup. Mom returned again to the pile, this time grinning as she unveiled imported wine and a large jar of pistachio nuts. “This is actually better than a Snuggie,” she gushed as she pulled out the tissue paper, and carefully laid it on the coffee table…

…the coffee table that contained several white holiday spice candles merrily flickering in their frosted glass, snowflake-shaped holders…

Mom was so engrossed in her great gift that she was completely oblivious to the rising flames wafting towards the curtains. Cousin Sheri sprang into action, and, to a cacophonous chorus of, “NOT THE SNUGGIE!!” she beat out the flames.

Did you know that Snuggies are flame retardant? Oh, yes. They will not burn. No…Snuggies melt.

As we gaped in horror at the blackened gelatinous mess, cousin Rebeca stole the wine and nuts.

Do be careful with the gifts you’re given, or you may end up with a melted Snuggie and no pistachios!

Later, mom confided in me that even with all the gifts going around that day, the one she held most precious was the time we spent together. Still, she said, “I really wished I could have had that Snuggie.”

Last Christmas, nearly every member of the family EACH brought mom a Snuggie.

Be careful what you wish for or you may end up the Smithsonian of Snuggies.

This last year, I put my business on hold so that I could invest that time taking care of my mother. With no income and depleted resources, I admit that it’s been a struggle – but I regret nothing.

It was only a few weeks ago that I held my mother’s hand under a pile of those Snuggies as she took her final breath. I would give anything to see her burn the house down this Christmas. But, I will always cherish the time that we had.

My friends, please, don’t waste your precious time in wishing – invest it, in each other.

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