Thank you. Thank you so much. And whoever put that highlight reel together, that was amazing. I’d almost forgotten about that time I made it rain 40 days and 40 nights. What can I say? I was younger then and willing to try anything.
I’m honored to be here tonight, and before I go any further I’d like to congratulate my fellow first-ballot inductees: sports; what you plan to do over the weekend; what you actually did over the weekend; something you read on Facebook; and Craig, the guy at work no one likes. I am truly humbled to be part of this inaugural group.
It’s ancient history now, but when I was starting out there wasn’t much small talk in the world. For one thing, there weren’t any people around to do the talking, and once they did show up they mostly grunted. But eventually they started using words, and that’s when I discovered what a love-hate relationship people have with me. I’ve been called good, bad, stormy, strange — you name it. It comes with the territory. But unless you live underground, I come with every territory, so trust me, I’ve heard them all.
In all seriousness, I’d like to think that my induction into the Hall of Fame speaks to the quality of my work. If you’ll allow me to spin my own windmill for a moment, I love that it’s not just my new material people like to talk about. When they say things like, “This summer sure is mild compared to last summer” or “Remember when we had a white Christmas?” or “We lost everything in Hurricane Katrina,” that lets me know I’m creating memorable work. I’m sure most people would settle for a double rainbow, but it’s not as easy as it looks. Even a single rainbow means I’ll be working through my lunch hour that day.
But I am proud of those rainbows, along with all the other elements that demonstrate my long-standing commitment to diversity. Not just black clouds or El NiÁ±o and La NiÁ±a, but outside-the-box initiatives like sandstorms, dry heat, humidity that makes you feel like your brain is sweating, and those days when you bring an umbrella to work because it’s supposed to rain but then it doesn’t — but the next time it’s supposed to rain and you forget your umbrella? The way I see it, there’s always going to be at least a 70 percent chance of somebody, somewhere, throwing a Category 5 temper tantrum about diversity, so you might as well go all the way.
Maybe I’m just full of hot air, but the reason I’m diverse is so you can be diverse and talk about me with all kinds of people. You can even talk about me with Craig for a few seconds before he changes the subject to how great Craig is, reminding you once again why no one likes Craig.
I’m kidding, of course. Actually, I’m not, or else Craig wouldn’t be here tonight, but my point is that no one’s perfect. We all make mistakes, and I’m no different. God takes a lot of heat for my mood swings, but please don’t get angry at Him the next time a tornado rips through your trailer park — your beef is with me. But if you live on the west coast, or in Asia, or any place where earthquakes and tsunamis are likely, then yeah, that’s Him. Mudslides, on the other hand, are kind of a 50-50 split. And global warming is your own fault, but without it I might have had to wait another year or two to be inducted here, so I’m not complaining.
I think what it comes down to, ultimately, is you can be having a terrible day, a terrible week, the worst year of your life — whatever the case may be. But if I can get a nice breeze going, maybe shift a few clouds around, then here comes the sun — literally — and all of a sudden you’re feeling a lot better about life. It may only be for a moment, and you may already be on antidepressants, but I’m proud to be part of those moments, just as I’m proud to be the subject of your small talk. Nevertheless, I urge you to dig deeper in your interactions with your fellow man, even if politics, religion, and the war on terror don’t have a snowball’s chance of ever becoming Small Talk Hall of Famers.
There’s a song that goes, “What a diff’rence a day makes / Twenty-four little hours / Brought the sun and the flowers / Where there used to be rain.” Well, tomorrow a freak thunderstorm could cause a tree to come crashing through your bedroom window and kill you in your sleep, so by all means make the most of the time you have. Every single day is a gift.
I know I’m being sentimental, but I promised myself I wouldn’t cry — because if I do, you’ll wish you’d brought an umbrella. And since none of you did, guess what?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, life is unpredictable, and no matter what the Weather Channel says, so am I. Thank you again for this honor, and enjoy the rest of the evening.