Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shakespeare and The Verve

I love old school language. I'm talking Shakespeare and Dickens etc. These people spoke directly, no ah's, um's, it was lyrical and majestic. I just love it because it was full, not thin, it sounds so impressive. And they communicated directly. We never say what we mean. I loved Shakespeare when I studied it in school and I understood it; everybody else hated it. Mayhaps that was the beginnings of my isolation from functioning members of society.
When Bob Cratchit shows up for work a couple of minutes late on December 26 after making quite merry with his family on Christmas day, Scrooge booms out "CRATCHIT! YOU ARE LATE!" Bob Cratchit is trembling in his boots, afraid he is about to lose his job and his response is "I am indeed behind my time." Isn't that great? No excuses, no lies, no anger, pure honesty.
And it all worked out so well for poor Bob; Scrooge was a new man, more generous, less critical. Wouldn't it be great if all bosses could evolve like that? Never happen in corporate america; evolving is anathema (look it up) to the submission required in our corporate culture.
What would you do in that situation? You know exactly what you would do. You walk in 5 minutes late for work after a major holiday and your boss yells at you that you are LATE. You immediately launch into a shamelessly lame fiction, a tangled web of lies and imagination, designed to get you off the hook.
" I was brushing my teeth when one of my gold teeth popped out onto the floor. The cat got a hold of it and ran up to the attic. The tooth cost me $1,500 so I couldn't just let it go. I crawled up into the attic, squirmed my way through dust and dirt 6 inches deep, cornered the cat and lassoed it with dental floss. Grabbed the tooth as it fell from his mouth and was crawling backwards through the dust and dirt when the ceiling gave way and I fell through into my bedroom and on top of my sleeping wife. I followed the ambulance to the hospital, where it was determined that my wife had three broken ribs and an even deeper disdain for my stupidity. Given all that, it is amazing that I am only five minutes late." Your boss would roll his eyes, tell you to get to work and, after you leave, make a note in your permanent file to the effect that he believes he has gathered sufficient evidence to have you committed to the NH Home for Morons, Psychopaths, and Mental Defectives.
Shakespeare (from As You Like It); "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages." This is roughly equivalent ( in my mind) to one topic that I am always raving about; the fact that we are all phoneys, that we are afraid to be ourselves, that life forces us to play different parts; father, son, husband, employee, drunkard, bondage queen. The "one man in his time..." chunk reminds me of The Verve - "I'm a million different people from one day to the next." I always loved that lyric because I am that and you are too; I feel and act differently from day to day, while those around me look sadly on in bewilderment. Do you know The Stones sued The Verve because the song sampled, without permission, an obscure orchestral version of "The Last Time"? The Verve had to sign away most of the royalties from the song in order to release it. IT WAS THEIR ONLY HIT. Love The Stones, hate the greed.
Anyway I love The Verve line, but I think Shakespeare said it better.
Imagine if I could communicate as efficiently and as beautifully as some of these old tymey guys did? You wouldn't have to wade through 15,376 of my words to finally figure out just what the hell I am talking about.
We'll never get back to those times because we tend to take the easy way out; we speak in cliches and phrases approved by society to be used over and over again by everyone until you want to scream. At least I want to scream. If I hear one more person say "not so much" I will club them with a Dunkin Donuts bagel stick. For a while there everybody was saying "Git R Done." I lost 18 pounds vomiting every time I heard it. I am compiling a list of these phrases which will be the subject of a future rant.
But I digress.
I dig language, I love words, song lyrics, poetry it is who I am. Unfortunately I must now prepare myself for work. Time to sling booze to people who are completely comfortable offering a 3% tip. So, if I may, "Good night, good night; parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say goodnight 'till it be morrow."
Ciao, baby.

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