of the perks of being an English teacher is spouting Shakespearean quotes in a
haphazard manner making me sound smarter than I actually am. You know, drop in
a couple of “doths,” “fortnights,” and “cummerbunds,” into the conversation and
suddenly, your audience goes from wondering if you tied your shoes by yourself
to thinking you’re a sophisticate conversationalist who could make Dorothy Parker
squirm with your bon mots. This little trick is basically how I keep myself from
Occasionally, nonsensical rambling meets actual purpose.
For instance, the past couple of weeks I’ve been spewing a little Othello all
over the place. When Iago, a bad guy I like way too much, is peer pressuring Othello
into thinking his wife is messing around on him and making him look bad in front
of is boys, he blasts him with “He who steals my purse, steals nothing. Twas mine,
tis his, twill be another. But he who steals my name steals everything…..something,
something, something….iambic pentameter…cummerbund.”
Ironically, even though
I use them as intellectual cover, my Shakespearean quotes always degenerate into
a random series of terms I read in the preface of a textbook study guide and a
prom pamphlet from Al’s Formal Wear. I always count on that the folks I’m talking
to pay as little attention as I do.
I bring up my secret to social interaction
because there is someone out there pretending to be me. Yes, you read that correctly.
Someone is trying to pass himself as me.
If you’ll excuse me, I’d like
to take a moment to be serious. I know this space is supposed to be for a little
forced humor and distraction, but this is a real problem, an important cause that
needs to be addressed. People are a being victimized, lives ruined, and……iambic
pentameter…pudding, pudding, pudding….knapsack.
Dang!!! I was so close
to legitimacy. Maybe even my own talk show on FOX news. Sigh.
some good-for-nothing, a jerk whose mother makes the “beast with two backs” (again,
I have no idea what that means, but that insult makes folks real angry in Othello),
so and so got a hold of my checkbook and went to town.
I was watching
the World Series when the wife burst in and demanded to know what I had spent
667$ on at the Home Depot. There was a pause, and then I had to admit, like Jimmy
Carter’s famous Playboy interview, that I had sinned in my mind and heart and
had wanted to buy a tiller for the yard. But like that ineffectual president,
I had not followed through with my coveting and doth not know of which the fair
wife had spoketh.
“Cool it with the Shakespeare, goof boy. Someone has
your checkbook and is writing all kinds of checks.”
This gets complicated.
One of the main reasons I got married, besides the marriage of two souls, the
light in yonder window, doth doth, pudding pudding, iambic whatchamacallit stuff,
is that I wanted to lessen the paperwork.
I hate writing checks. I rarely
write checks. Even though they are an integral part of economy, I can’t get past
the whole idea that a check is just a promise for cash later on . “Look, here’s
a piece of paper with my name on it – now give me some coffee filters and hamburger
buns. You’ll have your money later and we’ll all be friends. Really!” I have an
irrational need for the teenager at the Brookshire checkout line to believe my
check is good. It just makes everyone uncomfortable.
To avert this, the
wife pays all the bills, bless her, and I get an allowance in cash to burn on
countless daily regional newspapers, unnecessary higher grade gas, and off brand
beer. It works for us.
So remember, if someone gives you a check with
my name on it and you don’t wonder if he has 1) blunt head trauma 2) a strange
fixation with archaic Shakespearean pronouns 3) not the stench of poor writing
rather than the stench of gutless theft, don’t take the check.