Monday, February 24, 2014

the last book I ever read (Promises to Keep by Joe Biden, excerpt five)

from Promises to Keep: On Life and Politics by Joe Biden:

I once even tried the old Demosthenes trick. Demosthenes, the greatest of all Greek orators, I’d read, had been a stutterer, but he taught himself to speak by putting pebbles in his mouth and practicing elocution. The legend, as I remember it, was that he put these pebbles in his mouth, ran along the beach, and tried to make himself heard above the “roar of the sea.” We didn’t have any beaches or oceans nearby, but I was desperate, so I gave it a try. One of our neighbors in Mayfield was putting a little garden in their backyard, with little paths made of pebbles. So I grabbed about ten of these pebbles and went to the side of our little house, stuck them in my mouth, and tried to throw my voice off our brick wall. For the record, it doesn’t work. I nearly swallowed half the pebbles. So it was back to my room, back to the mirror.

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