Sunday, February 10, 2013

How I Learned About Feminism

A unsettling fact of the 21st Century is that women are present in the workplace.

Another unfortunate addition to the "megacube" Zack Paddington and I share is the plucky wench, Peppercorn Diego. When I first glimpsed her, I thought she was a fair-faced teenaged boy. For an instant, I was slightly taken by him until I realized the wretched truth about who s/he really was!

Peppercorn Diego sits behind me. She is as gangly and flat chested as any boy. She keeps her hair short, and she wears a button down shirt and tie to the office every day.

At least Peppercorn has the decency to NOT sport a mustache like this lady!

At the Globe Theater, it is common practice for men to play the roles of women because women cannot fully understand or relate their own experiences to an audience in any compelling way. Luckily, they have men to interpret and explain for them just how to feel and to share these feelings on their behalf. Here in the workplace of the 21st Century, it can get confusing. The men look like women; the women look like men. How was I supposed to know any better?

In fact, I wrote this famous sonnet (No. 20) for Peppercorn Diego before I fully understood the situation:

A woman's face with nature's own hand painted,
Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion;
A woman's gentle heart, but not acquainted
With shifting change, as is false women's fashion:
An eye more bright than theirs, less false in rolling,
Gilding the object whereupon it gazeth;
A man in hue, all 'hues' in his controlling,
Much steals men's eyes and women's souls amazeth.
And for a woman wert thou first created;
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,
And by addition me of thee defeated,
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.
But since she prick'd thee out for women's pleasure,
Mine be thy love and thy love's use their treasure.

Who knew I would waste my best words in the light pursuit of a woman? Thank goodness I was able to go back in time and add this to my "Sonnet Sequence." Now it is of some use! Over the years, many a college professor has explicated this poem to his pupils, who, titillated by its implications, have asked: Could this be about a man? Well, sort of.

The grief I feel having learned the truth about Peppercorn's sex is something like what Apollo must have felt when Hycinthos died in his arms.

But, Shakespeare, you say, Dear Readers, is cross-dressing not the basis for drama and comedy in at least half or more of your intelligent, highly-creative and well-crafted plays? How could you make such a "Much Ado About Nothing?"

If you must ask, I must answer. You are a poor, sweet, overly kind audience. Women, also known as the fairer (weaker and less artful) sex, are much appreciated by yours truly, a member of the stronger (likely better) sex: men. I like women, and I have spent much time in their company. They make wonderful food, and they really know how to swaddle babies. They have a purpose.
When I realized Peppercorn Diego was a woman, I asked right off if she was pretending to be a man to get close to one?  Zack Paddington raised his eyebrow in surprise, and Peppercorn Diego stomped her diminutive foot --I assume it is diminutive. She was wearing a pair of men's Oxfords, so one cannot be sure. She then asked me if I was "right in the head?" 

Who can tell the true size of one's feet in a shoe such as this?

Of course, in my experience -- and by my experience, I mean in my plays that I wrote -- women often dress as men for this purpose. Was she an adherent of Sappho? I wondered, perhaps out loud, for Peppercorn Diego let out a cute little cry.
File:Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene.jpg
Even Sappho had the decency to wear a proper lady's dress.

"You are a pig! Have you never heard of feminism?" She exclaimed. Her cheeks were all rosy red, and I couldn't really hear what she was saying because her anger was making her so adorable.

I shook my head, because I actually had not ever heard of feminism. 

Later that evening, I used Wikipedia to learn all about it. Zack Paddington appeared so genuinely upset at my ignorance, and I don't want to fall out of his good graces. It's so important for me to be sensitive to his feelings. If he cares about even the most insignificant things in history, then so do I! You go girl!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Office Tyrant

File:English muffins wheat rye.jpg
The word "muffin" originates from the old Gaelic "moofin," which means to rhyme with food in one's mouth.

This morning I made acquaintance with a jocular old fellow when I most disgracefully shoved him out of the way in order to procure an "English" muffin from the breads cabinet at my local overcrowded cooperative bakery.

When I attempted to apologize, he said to me, "Slow down, Sonny! There are enough muffins for everyone!"

But are there? Are there, Dear Readers, enough muffins for everyone? I have seen the best of humanity and the worst of humanity, and I am not fully convinced there are enough muffins to go around.

Take for instance, one Jameson P. Moffet, the artless fat-fingered pig-nut my dear brother in arms Zack Paddington and I are expected to greet with poise and respect each day of the modern (if this is an apt word to describe the twinkling teen years of the twenty-first century) work-week. If I did not want so badly to distance myself from him, I might compare Mr. Moffet to that skank, Sir Francis Bacon, of who I am not in anyway affiliated and am most definitely not.

Jameson P. Moffet, how so do I loathe thee, red headed and rotund workplace colleague! There are many reasons to despise Scotland, but you could stand firm as the only one if needed in a pinch.

File:Scotch terrier (PSF).png
The only good thing that has come from Scotland

Jameson P. Moffet is a fellow publicist here at ppPress. Well, should I say a Junior Publicist? He was hired shortly after our surprise smash hit title, Cats And The Things They Do hit the book stands, in order to handle the overflow of press inquiries. He is useless, of course, and I must handle these inquiries myself more often than not because he is quite engaged in the task of some Oriental art called Sudoku.

Have you got your copy?

At the beginning of his tenure, Mr. Moffet's work station was ungraciously placed twixt myself and my dear, dear mentor, Mr. Zack Paddington, and now when I wish to stare at the cherubic face of my beloved associate, I must first look at the bespectacled  lard-enlumped and stubbly visage of that wretched patchouli soaked Scotsman.

It is intolerable.

And most intolerable? You ask, Dear Readers? I heard you calling quietly out over the internet, so I will tell you now: Jameson P. Moffet is a muffin hoarder, a thief, an eater of things that do not belong to him. Evidenced by the crumbs of crumpets which spew forth like cinders from a coal stove on a cold day; they travel from the wretched dark maw of his mouth when he opens it to speak, and it is always unhinged and open to speak, uttering forth utterances of no consequence, ums and ahs and know it all tales and misinformations represented as fact at which Zack Paddington and I, your faithful writer, must smile and nod lest we offend the offensive.

representative cubicle

Today, I knocked a frail old grandfather over to procure my delightful breakfast, and before I had a chance to eat the object of my shame, the Moffet-man swooped in and spirited it away.

A sad day indeed.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Men, tights and the 21st Century

Dear Reader,

This past weekend, yours truly had planned to imbibe with a certain SWM who claimed to “look good in tights.” We first became aware of one another on a lovely website known as Craigslist. I found a nice bookshelf there, as well as some festive hats for my feline companion, Dr. Faustus.

Mr. Tights and I had a short electronic epistolary exchange, including pics, and agreed to meet. At the risk of exposing his identity, I would say that he looked much like a certain Charles V, pictured below:

Now, I’m quite certain that Mr. Tights had some sort of awful accident because when I arrived at our rendezvous spot, he was no where to be found. Instead, I encountered a gaggle of giggling and thoroughly uninteresting sallow skinned teenage girls. I guess it's true what they say in every century: Men are jerks. And, teens love bad fiction and action movies.

If only more men were like my cubical companion, Zack Paddington the apple cheeked youth, though years below me in age is my mentor, my colleague, my guide to the 21st century and the modern world of publishing. So thoroughly practical and consistent, I know he would never stand me up for a chance meeting, if he were ever into such a chance. Unfortunately, he seems a eunuch or rather quite thoroughly engaged to his work.

Sigh, Dear Reader, it is of no use for me to think of it. I have vowed to withhold my rakish tendencies in his presence so that I may learn as much as possible while I dwell in this time.

I must be off, as Faustus and I have a date with Netflix. If I cannot have a real to life man in tights at least I can have Sir Kevin Costner, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

Best regards = XOXOXO

Sir William Shakespeare

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Buy Low! Sell High!

Along with my genius for the written word, I am also well known for my business acumen. I believe that if you, Dear Readers, do not yet own or have immediate access to a Shetland Pony, this would be the most opportune time to make the necessary connections and bring yourself into the possession of one of these stunning creatures.

File:Shetland pony (PSF).png
The Magnificent Shetland Pony

Truly, if I were not so dedicated to the cause of promoting my authors, forwarding the name of my publishing house (Purity Pets Press), and helping man and woman kind, I would retire immediately to a small ranch in the great state of Texas, buy a gun, and employ myself solely with the art of breeding Shetland Ponies.

File:Shetland ponies ca 1900.jpg
I slept with both those ladies just last week.

Take it from me; I have been to the future, and I know. This revival of the art of "the good childhood photograph" will, with certainty, equal the fabled Dotcom boom (and bust) era of decades past, albeit on a smaller scale. The economic impact of Shetland/Child photography start-ups will last from several days to a month and will be felt by a number of people.

File:Quentin Roosevelt Child 1902.jpg
Shetland/Child Photography, beloved in the Early 20th Century will see a revival this year.

You, Dear Readers, take my advice and buy a pony today!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Future of Literature; Literature into the Future?

Throughout the ages, any number of people have written to and about me. And, now that I'm firmly settled into the 21st century (for the time being), it's high time I got back to them.
Dear Mr. Shakespeare,

Don't mind my asking, but how did you come by the year 2007? This all seems a bit "Santa Claus-ish" at best.

Ben, Madison, WI

Dear Ben,

I'm glad you asked. Many people doubt my future/past existence. To this very day there are naysayers and rapscallions who would claim I am that dreadful wreck of a human being, Sir Francis Bacon. And now you, Ben? I suffer from a crippling disappointment just knowing that you could dare hold doubt in my existence.

From the eloquence of your letter, I've drawn the conclusion that you are both a smart and beautiful boy. You must have the intellect to understand there are many cosmic wonders that defy explanation, but that does not mean they do not occur! Take, for instance, the "Paul Lynde Halloween Special of 1976" . It may seem a bit "Santa Claus-ish," as you put it. The line-up may appear unbelievable. Yet, it did, in fact, happen! Not only was all of America able to attend this spectacle via the magic of television, I was actually there in the live studio audience, thanks to my time machine!

Let me tell you, young Ben, Florence Hendersen can sing and miracles can happen!

In regards to my current adventure: it began a couple of months ago. I had just finished my play Romeo and Juliet -- perhaps you've heard of it? -- and I was feeling a bit down. I went Internet shopping to cheer myself up. I was looking for a new pair of shoes on -- Gosh. I just love Zappos -- and browsing the men-seeking-men circa 2004 section of Craigslist when it struck me. I would build a time machine (or rather, Sir Francis Bacon would) and move to the year 2007.

Of course, in the future, which is now, I would need some form of employment. So, again, I turned to Craigslist and procured a position with a small organic Pet Health and Lifestyle publishing company in the East Bay. It affords me a small stipend by which I pay for a room in a lovely inn (in this century I believe it's called a hotel). I spend my spare time reading, writing criticism, learning more about my favorite Hollywood stars, getting drunk and watching Project Runway.

What is it that you do, Ben?


William Shakespeare

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Shakespeare's Kitten

This past week in the future present has been a bit trying, Dear Reader. It is difficult to readjust to the “daily grind” as my “cube-mate” and mentor, Zack Paddington, so charmingly phrases our shared condition (when one encounters neologisms as clever as that, one begins to wonder how his body of work survived for so long). 

File:Old Time Machine.jpg
The inner gears of a time machine (not mine).

I question, at times, why and how I was seduced into this life of time travel. I remind myself, in the past there is no Craiglist, no Nintendo Wii, and no broadcast television so self-indulgent that it borders on being classified as pornography. There is no Ke$ha (not even a half relation, I assure you), no microwave oven, and no Nick Hornby.

There are, however, similarities. Past to present to future and back, the human race has held onto a number of commonalities: a fascination with beauty, art, violence, politics, sex, death, philosophy, and above all, cat ownership.

At Zack Padington's urging-- he instructed me to acquire a companion animal in order to become more familiar with pet ownership and so forth -- I have allowed a cat to share my quarters. I have named him Dr. Faustus, and will, of course, tell you more of our adventures in a future post.

Dr. Faustus

To that end, I now share my time machine with a cat.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 11, 1863

March 11, 1863

To My Esteemed Visitor,

I cannot refrain from using the spare moments of free time I have been granted to pen a few lines to you. I am certain that you are quite invested in my personal well-being, and I thank you, in advance for acknowledging my existence by reading this missive in its entirety.

To be quite honest, I wasn’t certain if I would actually be able to access the “world wide web” from the confines of the time machine I created with my bare hands, a refrigerator box and but a shaky knowledge of the space time continuum to guide me. Not only have I managed to go back and forward in time, I was surprised to learn that satellites existed before they were invented. Perhaps the future put them there? You tell me, friend, because I would like to know!

History is AMAZING! Have you heard about the dinosaurs? If you haven’t yet, you should look them up on Wikipedia. I’ve been lucky enough to see so many events in person! Fellow blogger, Perez Hilton might even call me a “spywitness.” He’s such a clever man and a snappy dresser, too. Being in history is just like watching fascinating programs about history on The History Channel, except you have an increased chance of coming down with a hideous bout of the plague when you are actually there.

I’ve been having so much fun here in the past that I have neglected to update my blog for several months hence. I had considered, for a moment, the possibility of going back in time from the future to do so, but I believe having some reason to feel guilty would be of great assist in the writing of my next play. It’s called Macbeth. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Moments like these bring such dissonance to my soul. I’ve withheld myself from you, dear reader, for so long. Believe me when I tell you, it has caused me much greater pain than you could ever understand. Maybe it approaches the pain you feel having been cast out of the sunlight, and by sunlight, I am referring to myself: Mr. William Shakespeare.

Upon my return to 2012, I will once again take up my post as a minor publicist for that small organic pet food and children’s book publishing company in which I find myself employed. For me, months have passed. To the co-workers who toil in the cubicles that surround me, it has been only a long weekend. I told them I was going to Reno to throw my lot at the tables. I want a new Toyota Prius and don’t much feel like saving. My comrades are wholly unaware of the many actual adventures I have been on. They know only that I will return, with a hangover and empty pockets. But, you, dear dear dear reader, now know the truth.

Well, that’s about it for now. It looks like I have to go assist in a battlefield amputation. I will update more regularly in the future.

With Warm Regards,