Palindromes and a backwards meeting

What is a backwards meeting? Well! The meeting starts with the President closing the meeting and wishing everyone farewell and the meeting concludes 2 hours later with the President welcoming all present. The entire programme of the meeting is reversed. Does this have any benefit? For one thing, one becomes acutely aware of the order of events. Evaluations take on a new meaning. The evaluations are given before the speeches and the evaluation were superbly general, allowing the speakers to easily adapt their presentation to suit. And the evening is a lot of fun as everyone stumbles over programme order or tries to reverse what has become habit.

The theme for the evening was palindromes (and in case you need to look this up – these are words that can be written forwards as well as in reverse and still have the same spelling, such as the unused word of the evening: redder).

After the concluding formalities, the grammarian for the evening provided a report on splendid use of idiom and word pictures that the impromptu and prepared speakers had to try to fit into their speeches. “Capering around corners on two wheels” was attributed to Rod Taylor who would later speak about his motoring experiences as a young man. I wonder how Ruth Taylor, our grammarian, so accurately guessed at Rod’s speech content.

The evaluations of the prepared speeches followed, but by this time the speakers had confided the title of their speeches to the evaluators. Keith Bowen evaluated Ruth’s “A remedy for stress” and John Russell evaluated Rod’s “A marvelous motoring experience.”

Other than the fact that the timekeepers report preceded the Table Topics, this section of the programme proceeded as usual. Each topic was a palindrome.

  • Rod explained that a terret (one of the metal rings on a harness through which the reins pass) is a small squirrel-like creature that has never been seen although it has been photographed.
  • Ruth explained how her daughter had heard a pathologist on CSI exclaim that it was the strangest murdrum ever reported and was not far off the mark for it is the killing of a man in a secret manner.
  • Keith detartrated his muffins from the residues of baking agent instead of removing the potassium salts from his grape juice in the making of wine.
  • John-Peter took a walkabout Down Under with aibohphobia (the fear of palindromes) describing it as the fear of native Australians who have gone walkabout.

Snacks were enjoyed and thereafter the recess was called. Finally the prepared speeches were heard. Ruth presented a Competent Communicator project 4 speech which requires the use of body language. She took us all on an 8-day holiday and re-enacted the packing of luggage, the arrival, de-stressing and her speech culminated in her 80 year old mother climbing a mountain at dawn. Her gestures amply augmented her wonderful tale that was a remedy for stress.

Rod, in his speech in fulfillment of a project 5 Competent Communicator, took us back forty years and had us roaring around the English Lake District in an Alfa Spider and competing in hill climbs.

In back to front order we eventually toasted the benefits of being backward, such as countries with a low carbon footprint, societies that are close to nature, people with a high propensity for love and prosperity of Japan based on reverse-engineering. After the loyal toast everyone was welcomed by the President and we all went home!