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The Ladies of Laugh & Learn … Dangerous

wmthomas-sliderOn the second Sunday of this month, I made the mistake of showing up for a speaking engagement at the Holiday Inn in St. Catharines, Ontario. “Breakfast at 9:00 a.m. then you.”

The Laugh & Learn Conference is presented annually by Lioness Clubs of Ontario, with monies going to great causes like training guide dogs and building homes for deaf and blind adults, all under the umbrella of Lion’s Club International.

Although I saw very little learning going on, essentially these 150 women had checked into a hotel for three days to get away from their husband and kids. And laugh. Oh how they laughed.

Ten minutes into breakfast two things became clear to me. One, these women were completely out of control and tearing apart the seams of society as we know it. And two, I was scared “shirtless” of them.

Before I spoke, the treasurer delivered her report … yeah, I wished. Before I spoke, not one but three Snitch Bitches delivered their reports on the nefarious goings on of the weekend. Yeah, Snitch Bitches, spies in the midst of misbehaving ladies. Several women were scolded and then fined for cheating on their age, lying about their weight and owning up to less glasses of wine than they actually consumed.

Janet Dawson Brock who had made the drive from Kitchener to St. Catharines on Friday was introduced. Janet had checked into the hotel early, sent the doorman off to park her car and waited for the fun to begin. Unfortunately, she had checked into White Oaks, a hotel in Niagara-On-The-Lake and not this Holiday Inn in St. Catharines. The Snitch Bitches fined her, then doubled the fine because she was the group’s founder and doubled the fine again because she was blond. Yes, doing unbelievably stupid things warrants the harshest punishment from the Snitch Bitches and this part of their program is sponsored by the Rob Ford Foundation. Not a bad idea, huh? A Snitch Bitch at Toronto City Hall and Rob Ford would be the sole occupant of the Don Jail from now until Etobicoke freezes over.

So you can imagine when I finally did get to the microphone, I felt like that guy in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, last summer who was wing walking on a restored WWII Tiger Moth when he heard the engine sputter and die.

“Me and 150 women! If memory serves, isn’t that what got Tiger Woods in trouble?!?”

“Me and 150 women in the same room and I’m not even Mormon!”

I did a bit of a recap of the highlights of the conference beginning with the hot topic at my breakfast table known as last night’s “kilt tilt.” Apparently, this fun-loving group of gals arranged for a Scottish piper to ceremoniously bring them into the gala ballroom the morning before. It was all pomp and circumstance until a 70ish Gertie, a charmer from Beamsville, was unable to curb her curiosity. That’s right, while the Scot was busy with his pipes, Gertie lifted his kilt to sneak a peek at the other one. Straight-faced and looking right at me she said: “That kilt would be the only thing that man could be proud of!”

Fearing for my own privacy, I cleared my throat and said: “Now Gertie, you understand I’m wearing pants which are tightly belted.”

As casual as can be, she said: “Oh, that wouldn’t stop me.”

I moved on quickly to cover what I’ll call the “Scotchgard” incident in which last night’s singing entertainer brought a quiet little lady named June from Tillsonburg up on stage. The man began to sing a love song to June. And it went really well until he experienced a bit of a wardrobe malfunction. Apparently, this guy had been heavily “Scotchgarding” his clothes because June’s hands kept sliding from his waist down to what the ladies like to call “impressive buns.” The man kept raising June’s hand but it was a long song and that damn Scotchgard and well … the guy got molested to the hoots and hollers of 149 women who right now, in the same ballroom, could turn on me in a heartbeat.

I won’t even describe to you the scene of Nancy from nearby Grantham trying to place a big balloon over the plug of the entertainer’s air compressor as a room full of women clapped and slammed the tables but … but if the United Nations video showing the correct way to apply a condom fails as badly as Nancy did, we’re in for a severe spike in world population.

Although the Snitch Bitches are a scary lot — imagine the Gestapo in spandex — Head Snitch Bitch Evelyn is downright evil. She made it known that she had made a surreptitious trip to Wainfleet last week and caught me, on video no less, doing some pretty insane things. So naturally, I had to fess up in front of them all, admitting that yes, I had smoked crack cocaine but only once, the day Evelyn was filming me and I could not remember what day that was because I was blind drunk at the time and anyway I was sincerely, sincerely, sincerely sorry. That bought me enough time to run out a side entrance and jam a chair up against the door as I fled.

I drove out of the parking lot, still perspiring profusely but feeling good like I’d just gotten out of prison. I had survived, I thought, safe and mostly sound. Unlike say Janet Brock who I noticed was still tied to a telephone pole across the street in front of Best Buy. Laugh & Learn — a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.

To book William as a speaker, go to www.williamthomas.ca and promise, there will be men in the audience.

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