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Student from Cornell University

July 6, 2002

Dear Mr. Zander

Hi! My name is Alyson-I'm 18 years old. I will be a sophomore at Cornell University in the fall. I heard you speak at Cornell this past year, and your "speech" (if you could call it that) thrilled me so much that I had to write to you to thank you.

As I did with many guest speakers on campus this year, I wandered in after class out of curiosity. I was laughing out loud throughout the whole thing, wishing my friends could be there to experience it too. But it wasn't just an enjoyable time-it was more than that. When I got back to my dorm room, I wrote down the lessons you had taught that created the biggest effect on me.

I just wrote down the catch phrases, like "Two ways to sing happy birthday" and "Don't take yourself so goddam seriously!" I hung up the sheet with all the catch phrases on the wall and, quite seriously, I find myself thinking of your speech when I'm in various situations in life! (And I mean, come on, how many speeches do you refer back to in everyday life?!). Especially when I'm in situations that are typically boring or generally unhappy, I think something like, Well, what assumptions am I making about the dentist's waiting room? And I try and do that thinking outside the box to make things happier for everyone. It works! (And you were right when you said "You'll never sing Happy Birthday the same way again.").

I just want you to hear from one more person that your speaking all over the country is a wonderful thing, because it affects people beyond the 2 or 3 hours you speak. I hope you keep it up for a long time. Thank you so much for coming to Cornell, and I hope you come back again soon!

Best wishes,


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