Am I the Only Loser Who Hasn’t Given a TEDx Talk?


It’s high time that I let out a rant here. Why does Mr. Groovy get to have all the fun? If he can use our website as his ranting platform, so can I. He says Robert Kiyosaki and Tony Robbins bug him? I’ll tell you who bug me—TEDx Talk presenters! There, I said it. Do you know there are THOUSANDS of them around the world with MILLIONS of views? Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is a presenter! Am I the only loser who hasn’t given a TEDx Talk?

Let me first clarify—TEDx Talks are local independently organized events, while TED Talks are the ones given at the annual TED Conference. Big difference. The price of a ticket to a TEDx Talk runs $75 to $100.

But let’s suppose you’re itching to see a real-deal TED Talk at the next annual conference. First, you must apply to attend TED2017 and get accepted before you may purchase a ticket. The next conference runs from April 24th to April 28th 2017 in Vancouver. Do you have $17,000 to fork over? Well don’t worry about it because you can’t even buy a ticket—it’s sold out! Can you please tell me who is paying the price of a car to go to a conference? Aside from the wealthy, elitists and tech giants? Do any regular folk go to this thing?

OK, let’s get back to the TEDx Talks, you know—the ones us “sorry people” may go to. There are thousands of TEDx Talks  to choose from with topics that range from intellectually stimulating to downright stupid. Can you guess from which end of the spectrum I’ve found my favorite TEDx Talk? Here it is:

How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk

I sincerely attempted to be open-minded when I watched this video. I wanted to enjoy it and learn something. But right from the get-go the speaker said he had absolutely nothing—“nada, zip, zilch, zippo” to talk about and he was absolutely right. At least he had the good sense to make his presentation six minutes, not the standard twelve minutes. The entire thrust was about how to posture and sound brilliant giving a TEDx Talk—even if you have nothing to say.

Okay, I get it. It was a light-hearted parody presented to cap off a busy day of lectures at a TEDx New York gathering. But the video was just not funny. And the worst part was—when the camera panned the audience, people were laughing. They looked like idiots! They reminded me of the folks in the audience at Saturday Night Live who stare at the camera, smiling with their unspoken beggar’s dialogue—“Look at me. See where I am? I’m so cool. Don’t you wish you were here?” Give me a break.

But, I suppose I might be viewing the subject through gloom-colored glasses. Maybe I’m just a plain old pessimist. After all, I’m not very nice. Just look at how far I’ve [not] come from when I began my positivity challenge. So I decided to be more open-minded about TEDx and explored some other titles. And this is what I found:

The ten item wardrobe. (Penny can tell me how to put this together in five minutes, if I were the fashionable type. I don’t need to spend $75 to find out.)

Why city flags may be the worst designed thing you’ve never noticed. (If I’ve never noticed them, why the hell do I care?)

Social engineering – how to scam your way into anything. (Clearly not for someone like me who already flunked at becoming a better person.)

The agony of trying to unsubscribe.  (Yes, AGONY. Have you ever agonized over this? I’ve never heard of this, aside from one hysterical subscriber Ramit Sethi talked about in an episode of James Altucher’s podcast.)

This is what happens when you reply to spam email(Given by the same speaker as the one above. Maybe the organizers had a two-for-one special?)

What do you think when you look at me? (Do you really want to know? I don’t want to know this!)

After I came up with this list, a light-bulb went off in my head. Why can’t I give a TEDx Talk? If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s pretending to be just as brilliant as anyone else. Can’t I parlay talking about mundane topics into a retirement hobby? After all, Seinfeld was a TV show about nothing and it ran for 180 episodes. Am I not capable of talking about nothing for twelve minutes? I think I am.

Here, then, are some of my ideas for a TEDx Talk:

Feed a cat without it puking.

Spend $13,000 on a useless Master’s degree and you, too, can find a spouse.

Mrs. Groovy demonstrates how to dye your own hair for $5.95.

Hiking urban parks and trails without stepping in dog sh*t.

Basic acting and singing skills from a professional who never made it to Broadway.

Teach yourself how not to get car sick.

Learn how to deep fry pickles, green tomatoes, okra, hush puppies and mozzarella sticks.

The trick to programming a light timer in 5 minutes. (Eye glasses, flashlight, and toothpick optional.)

How not to capture a flock of lost ducklings in the dead of night. (Hint: chase them down a street toting a cardboard box yelling “Wait! Wait for me!”)

So what do you think? Would you pay $75 to see any of my TEDx Talks?

Are there any topics you feel qualified to teach in twelve minutes?


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  1. Hahaha! I laughed way too hard at your rant, and especially at your list of proposed TEDx Talk ideas. The ones that really got me were feed a cat and hiking. To quote a Seinfeld character…”That’s gold!”

  2. Late to the party here, Mrs. Groovy, but I’d also vote for the fried pickles (thanks for the link in the comments). Quite clearly TED doesn’t know what they are missing out on!

    Also, I had no idea about the cost of the real TED conference. Quite frankly, it is one of those concepts that my brain just can’t seem to grasp. Pretty sure that’s a higher echelon I’ll never be admitted to.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Glad you joined the party, late or on time, Mrs. ETT. Thanks for coming.

      Same here. There’s an echelon I won’t be admitted to either. Truthfully, even if I won mega-millions I still wouldn’t attend a conference that cost $17K.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Some of the talks, especially from the main TED are worth looking at. Don’t let me totally dissuade you. Thanks for stopping by, Erith.

  3. Lila

    Nah. I’ll join you in loserdom because I’ve never given a ted x speech. Lol Mrs. G you crack me up. The ted x talks suck.

    Although the useless masters degree has me curious. Hehe. Btw I didn’t know you had to apply to attend. What is this college or something?

    For 17k I could buy myself a Toyota Camry and get repeated use out of it.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      LOL, let’s start a loserdom club, Lila.

      Yeah, Mr. Groovy and I met when we were both finishing our useless master’s degrees. I might need to write about the night we met. We witnessed the biggest bar brawl we’ve ever seen.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Gary, you and Amanda hit on my favorite! Thanks for your vote of confidence.

      Claudia could I pull that off as a side hustle? They don’t even pay TED or TEDx speakers so I’d definitely need to start up my own business. Thanks for the virtual idea, Claudia. I like it!

  4. You should definitely make your TED talk (I vote for the fried pickles) but don’t expect any of us FI cheapos to pay… You know we have already calculated the cost of that ticket over the next 30 years! 😉 Please do post it here though – no one in Chicago makes a decent fried pickle!!!

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I couldn’t find my recipe (haven’t made this stuff in a while since Mr. G has mostly gone healthy) but this is a good ol’ southern recipe from the Neelys you can try. BUT I embellish on one step. Most deep fry recipes will say to let the food rest for 30 minutes after it’s coated and before you fry. That’s not in this recipe. But I take that further. I put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Refrigerating helps the batter set and makes it easier to fry.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      That one is my favorite, too, Amanda. It actually happened. And idiot that I was, I let Mr. Groovy egg me on to run down the street by myself while he trailed me. His excuse was that he couldn’t find parking.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Hey ATL, please see my reply to Vicki.

      Another thing she might try is one of those medical wrist bands. My mother-in-law got one for me before a family trip. I can’t say it helps but I’ve heard it works for some.

      FYI when Mr. Groovy and I first started dating I could barely stand being in his car but over time, the problem can be licked.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Exactly! Free is right up my alley. I also have an aversion to what I perceive to be the intelligentsia attitude surrounding these talks. Mr. Groovy and I both have graduate degrees but we’re not snobs. We think of ourselves as poor working slobs. Thanks for your comment.

  5. That city flags one is actually pretty good if you’re into sorta the weird invisible things in our world. That one was a Roman Mars presentation I think, from 99% invisible.

    I’m sort of one of those guys who likes to know a little bit about everything, so learning about the weird things in our world is actually up my alley.

    If you haven’t listened to 99% invisible, I say totally give it a shot because it’s actually a pretty good podcast and the guy has such a soothing voice.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I can see the appeal in the weird invisible world, even though I have enough on my plate with the weird visible world!

      Seriously, thanks for letting me know, FP. I’ll check that one out.

      • Mrs. Groovy

        Here are some tips, Vicki.

        Always sit in the front passenger seat when you’re not driving.

        Face front and look out the front window at all times. Motion sickness has to do with a disharmony among visual and other senses. Facing front minimizes the disharmony. No reading. No turning around to talk to someone in the back seat.

        No liquids or food before getting in the car.

        If the car is housed in a smelly garage (i.e. underground apartment building or public indoor lot) have someone drive it around with the windows down to air it out first.

        If all else fails, take the OTC drug Bonine, or Bonamine about a half hour before travel. Or Dramamine “less drowsy” not the original formula. The active ingredient should be Meclizine HCI 25mg. I sometimes find it generic in Walmart but I usually buy Bonine and keep one of the small sheets containing the tablets in my purse.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Thanks, Emily. I’ll definitely keep a lecture on “poo” in urban trails/parks in mind. Maybe Mr. Groovy and I can speak on it as an aside to leading a Financial Peace group. Ya think they’d go for it?

  6. I enjoy TED radio on NPR but you are absolutely right TED seems to have become another channel, side by side with your Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and bing bing presence. I pity the fools with public speaking anxiety.

    That said if you’re giving one near milwaukee I’ll come listen.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I enjoy some of the motivational speakers, especially if I’ve read their books. Then it reinforces the material.

      If I perform in Milwaukee I’ll certainly invite you. Thanks for commenting, Maarten.

    • Mrs. Groovy

      I say we get someone to film you laughing at me dying my hair and we’ll call it “The Idiot in the Audience” and make it a documentary. Have you ever watched any of “The Idiot Abroad”? It’s hysterical. Check out season 1 episodes 2 and 3.

      Don’t worry about my one-woman show being sold out. There’s always a comp ticket held for you, Fritz.

  7. Mmm. Deep-fried pickles! Sign me up. Coins, not spears though, for a better batter-to-pickle ratio.

    It is silly to pay so much to see a sarcastic TED talk when comedy clubs usually charge much less, but I’m grateful that all the talks are available for free online, and that I have a program that lets me watch them in double-speed, which makes everything more entertaining 🙂

    • Mrs. Groovy

      Hah! I totally agree about coins (I think we call them chips down here) not spears.

      Double speed. Wish I could try that but I don’t think I can manage that via our Chromecast device.

      Thanks for stopping by, Julie.