At a reunion of retired executives, each of the guests was invited to give a two-minute after-dinner talk on his experiences since retirement. Since some of the former executives were inclined to be rather long-winded, the toastmaster was instructed to rap his gavel when the two minutes had expired. The first speaker was called and, true to his old form, was still on his feet talking well beyond the time limit. The toastmaster, a kindly old man, couldn’t bring himself to rap his gavel. On and on the speaker continued, boringly, until the other guests began to murmur and to signal the old man to rap the gavel. Responding to the pressure, he wound up and brought the gavel down…

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