Tag Archives: van down by the river

Top Ten Worst Places To Live

11 Jun

June 11, 2016


In-law’s basement
Death Row (the cellblock, not the record label)
Trapped in a coal mine
Near Justin Bieber
Above a crack house
Van down by the river
Mafia safe house


Motivationally Speaking

14 Nov

from February 5, 2008

I had the extreme displeasure of bringing one of my classes to be yelled at by a motivational speaker. What is a motivational speaker? I don’t know. I thought I knew.

Way back, long ago, many of you may not believe this, but there was a time in antiquity when Saturday Night Live was funny. Some of your parents may have spoken of this time in hushed tones befitting myths and legends, but take it from me- that show was once funny. Really, I’m being serious.

Anyway, there was a man named Chris Farley. Large, rotund in fact, he had the girth of three men and did the drugs of five. In fact, many is the time, it is said, that he would do drugs only available for sick elephants and imported from the Philippines. But I digress. Farley also did a hilarious character, motivational speaker Matt Foley. Here I quote liberally from Wikipedia for the sake of my sheer laziness:

Matt Foley was a motivational speaker character performed by Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live although he had performed the character in other comedy groups before being a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Essentially, Foley was the very antithesis of a good motivational speaker: abrasive, clumsy, and down on his luck. Foley appeared in eight Saturday Night Live sketches, and the sketch usually started with Foley being brought into a specific situation by someone to speak to a group. In addition to appearing disheveled, overweight, and unstylish, he would yell, disparage, display cynicism, and give a clearly negative motivational message. Foley’s trademark line was warning his audience that, like him, they could end up being “…35 years old, thrice divorced, and living in a van down by the river!” When members of his audience claimed any kind of accomplishment he would respond with a drippingly sarcastic “Well, la-dee-freakin-da!” or something similar. The sketch would often include Foley giving wildly exaggerated gestures and falling (or jumping) onto a piece of furniture, destroying it, or injuring himself in the process. At the end, he would usually be quickly herded out of his speaking location, where the people left behind would huddle together and comment on him, usually bemused and fearful. Though his speeches always backfired, the end results would usually be successful, in that the recipients did not want to be associated with Foley.

 SAMPLE MATT FOLEY MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH: Once, there was a boy who liked to throw things. He started out throwing eggs. Then, he threw the big game. Then, he threw back a shot of whiskey. Then he threw up. Then he got thrown out of the house, and then he moved into a van down by the river!

 SAMPLE MATT FOLEY MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH TWO: You kids are probably saying to yourself, “Now, I’m gonna go out, and I’m gonna get the world by the tail and wrap it around pull it down and put it in my pocket!” Well, I’m here to tell you that you’re probably gonna find out, as you go out there, that you’re not gonna amount to JACK SQUAT!” You’re gonna end up eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river!

 SAMPLE MATT FOLEY MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH THREE: You’re gonna be doin’ a lot of doobie rollin’ when you’re living in a van down by the river!

 So I had some high expectations for this motivational speaker.

She didn’t meet them.

This speaker spoke ALL IN CAPS. EVEN WHEN SHE WAS NOT YELLING SHE SOMEHOW MANAGED TO TALK LIKE THIS. Often, she managed to underline her speech, LIKE THIS, and often SEEMED TO USE AN INORDINATE NUMBER OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!!!!!! In fact, she motivationally spoke in a manner that makes it very easy for me to write.

Unlike Matt Foley, she didn’t fall over or pass out or die of an OD, she just yelled and abused the kids about things they didn’t know and probably shouldn’t be expected to know, like “how many accounting classes do you need to graduate from Briaircliffe College?” Really, she asked and expected an answer. BTW- her name was “Ms. Mona” and I guranteee that is a fake name.

I’m not really sure what she was there to motivate them to do, but here are my impressions copied directly out of my notepad, written as it happened in convenient (lazy) bullet point format. Reporters in world War Two did the same thing when filing  their reports, but they were seldom as funny. What was wrong with those guys?

* “Ms. Mona” cannot be her real name. I bet she appears as “Ms. Moaner” at batchelor parties. I bet she does an act with a donkey that has to be seen to be believed.

* “Ms. Mona” (Ha!) is still angry that she has only a 3.946 GPA. Or as she said “I HAVE A 3.946 GPA AT BRIARCLIFFE COLLEGE AND I’M STILL NOT OVER THOSE TWO A MINUS’ THREE YEARS AGO!!!!!”

* I can be a motivational speaker. I can yell and bullshit too.

* Whoever paid her for this got ripped off. She intimidated the kids, yelled about stuff they don’t need to know, and badgered them to the point of insensibility. (Mine.)

* She screamed at about the same speed, volume, and wavelength as a star going supernova emits RF. I believe the SETI Project picked her up. (Google that, kids. It is real sciencey-type stuff.) For me, the high point had to be when the bust of Lincoln sitting on a shelf behind her actually got up and committed suicide by tying a window-shade cord around its neck and jumping off the shelf. Only quick action by the Shakespeare bust saved Honest Abe’s life.

Now, in the name of fairness, and you know I am all about the fairness, I did learn two very important things from “Ms. (bullshit) Mona”- Number one- if you are not a morning person do not take morning classes. Number Two- If you take night classes expect to meet a lot of old people.

That’s about it. She yelled at the kids and demanded to know why they waited to see their advisor until 2012 when the graduation requirements changed in 2010. Yes she did.

She told them a lot about what classes an accounting major needs to graduate from Briarcliffe College, and when asked if they offer courses in Psychology, she said “No, Briarclifffe isn’t for you” and made the kids fill out info cards so Briarcliffe could send them lots and lots of ads and come-ons, I mean college info.

She was loud and abrasive. She didn’t tell them one single thing. When I asked the kids what they learned I  heard such gems as “I don’t want to take five classes in one day” and “where is Briarcliffe College?”

They also learned that Briarcliffe offers a direct shuttle from Atlantic Avenue to Briarcliffe and back. Wow.

I managed to fill nine pages of her crap in my notepad, so it was not a total waste of time. Oh Hell, I take it back, those were 45 minutes I will never get back and I truly believe that I aged about six months sitting there. It really was a total wate of time. The only thing sadder than the speech was the fact that the students walked out thinking they had learned something. They all liked her because “she was loud and funny.” What a freakin’ racket Ms. Moaner has. SHE GOT PAID FOR THIS!!! What is wrong with me that I’m not yelling all the way to the bank? And why do I insist on giving you this blog for free???????

MATT FOLEY TRIVIA: In the first Matt Foley sketch, most of the actors had to restrain themselves from laughing. David Spade spent most of the sketch with his hand over his mouth to keep from bursting into laughter.


I kept my hand over my mouth to keep from telling her to go jump in a lake.


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