Common sense: adjusting contents to audience and situation

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Arranging the speech having your real public in mind    

One Sunday in Northern Minnesota, there was a terrible blizzard blowing. The pastor struggled through deep snow to the little town’s church where he found a congregation of one: a farmer in the front pew solemnly chewing gum.

            “Well, farmer,” he said “it is a terrible morning and there are only two of us. Shall we call it a day and get back to our firesides?”

            “Well,” said the farmer, “dunno. I only know about cattle. If take a load of hay out to the field and only one comes, I still feed him.”

The metaphore continues…


    Stung by this rebuke, the pastor went through the whole Mass choosing the longer scriptural texts, giving a homily of 40 minutes and using the longer Eucharistic prayer.

            Feeling rather pleased with himself, he again addressed his congregation: “Well, farmer, how did I do? Was that all right?”

            There was a pause in the rhythmic chewing. “Well, I dunno,” the farmer said, “I only know about cattle. But if I take a load of hay out to feed them and only one comes, I don’t tip off the whole load.

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