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A Fable about Off-Message

As Man-in-Charge & Speaker for the Evening, his manner was gravitas personified and he asserted his opinions in a lovely resonant voice. In opening, he cleared his throat much like a mellow thunder and got all the possible attention.

"Tonight, my friends, the topic is 'Vitamins'," he crooned from behind an earnest smile. "Eat fresh fruit!" he exhorted. "You want them Digestion-Friendly and Natural. As in the fresh fruit or from-the-garden veggie. Vitamin, the very word itself, is about 'life'. Check that out! 'Manufactured' vitamin is an oxymoron. Truth is that they're roasted or dried or sprayed lifeless. Then they get inside you and become a strain on your vital body processes---"

From back of the room, a young lady interrupted. "---we know all that, darling! You're, like, singing to the choir, telling secrets to the village gossip."

An elderly bald-headed man stood up and announced bitterly. "Look here, kid! Adam Smith put out one single Theory and now look at us! Flat broke! Shameful!"

A recently teenaged fellow with mischievous beard and twinkling manner fired off, "You can't stand the heat. . .!"

Then a robust woman front-row seated pronounced with a hollow voice, "All this is like an ice-cream ad with Alfred Hitchcock intoning 'Eat Responsibly!'"

At which, mysteriously, the audience hooted and hollered with delirious merriment until soon, no one could recall the Speaker's original statement.

Moral: Misdirection can be a tout's nightmare.