(text of a mini-keynote speech by David Leonhardt, The Happy Guy, which brought down house in Gatineau, Quebec, April 21, 2002)
Has anybody here ever been stuck in traffic for a frustratingly long time? Put up your hand if you have.
Oooh! Donít you just hate that? And some people donít mind showing us how much they hate it. We call it road rage.
Has anybody ever waited in a ticket lineup or a checkout lineup for a frustratingly long time? Let me see those hands.
Believe it or not, some people donít like that either. We call it lineup rage.
Has anybody ever been stuck waiting in a doctorís office for a frustratingly long time? Let me see those hands.
And then you see somebody suddenly jump up and tear his hair out and scream, ďLet me out. Iíve been here three hours. Three days. Three months!Ē Well, I really should appologize. I didnít mean to scare your kids. I was just demonstrating waiting room rage.
Let me tell you a story about Lwungwa River Valley Ė thatís in Africa, you know. The dry season there gets very dry. My throat is getting dry just thinking about it. The Lwangwa River stops rushing. It slows to a trickle. Finally, it stops flowing. And all that are left are pools of water, here and there.
One by one, animals head to higher ground. To forest cover. To other water holes. Anywhere they can find food or drink. Just like we will all do late. Did I say all animals? Not all. Not hippos.
The hippos stay in their river at it slows to a stream. They stay in stream as it turns into pools. They stay in pools as they shrink into puddles. As puddles shrink, hippos get more crowded. As hippos get more crowded, they get surly. Cranky. Grumpy. They gnash their teeth. They poke at each other. They pick fights. Itís river rage!
Has anyone ever come face to face with a raging hippopotamus? Donít be shy. Go ahead, put up your hands. Sure, when weíre young Ė Iím sure you all remember this as I do Ė weíre taught that theyíre slow, cute, and cuddly. They might even be pink or purple and do those dances in tutus like in Fabntasia. But in real world they have teeth size of your head. They can run faster than anyone in this room. And they weight upwards of 5,000 pounds. I mean, they are BIG! If youíre ever at a cocktail party and a hippopotamus starts, you know, flirting with you, whatever you do, do not let him sit on your lap.