The applause abated, my butterflies were flying in formation, and I was ready to go. Looking and feeling professional in my tailored navy blue suit with matching low-heeled pumps, I launched into my three-hour interactive program with one hundred of the brightest students in our state.

After opening with an engaging introduction of our activities and absorbing their looks of anticipation, I stepped away from the podium and momentarily experienced a twinge of fear. Something was slipping. Pushing the fear from my mind, I walked with purpose to the first table and actively enlisted their cooperation with the first stimulating activity.

I could feel their enthusiasm. Everything was going great. This was going to be my best program yet. And then it happened again. Something slipped. My mind was diverted for a second as I accustomed myself to the uncomfortable sensation. Quickly gathering my wits, I approached the second table to assign the second segment of the program. It was going great!

The interactive activities were in full swing. Excitement permeated my being, and once again, something slipped - this time lower than before and now irretrievable. I was still able to bound around the room, keeping the electricity in the air, the excitement flowing.

An hour had passed; only two to go, but I knew my time was numbered. I didn't have two hours left. Something was going to happen and happen in the immediate future.

I was across the room from the podium, stirring the flames and expounding my theories. The kids were alive, but I knew my end was near. Slipping, slipping, slipping. My panty hose was now even with my knees. The podium was miles across the room. How could I reach this safety point and still maintain my dignity? My mind raced, my voice rose, my panty hose slipped.

With head held high, I pressed my hands into the pockets of my skirt and surreptitiously pushed downward, attempting to lengthen the skirt to keep pace with the slippage. With my knees pressed tightly together, I gracefully pigeon footed my way back toward the safety of my rescuer, the podium. One step at a time, slowly, slowly, slowly I walked, knowing appending danger awaited. One unclenching of the knees and it was all over--ruination, embarrassment, laughter that would haunt me for all of my days. Would I make it? Inch by inch I traversed the patterned rug before me. The faces watched, the voices spoke, the program continued, and I walked, one tiny step at a time.

Seeing safety within reach, I extended my arm and clutched onto my salvation. All I had to do was pivot myself around behind my wall of safety. With knees locked, I attempted to slowly place my left foot around the corner of this wooden emancipator. It didn't work. My knees unlocked and the unthinkable happened--slippage below my knees. With rapid gracefulness, I swung my body behind the podium, reached down with aplomb and resettled my hose above my knees. I was safe, as long as I didn’t move, and we proceeded without anyone being the wiser. Most speakers stay behind the podium for their entire talks. Why should I be any different?