UP THE CREEK
April 1, 2006
And since you know you cannot see yourself, so well as by reflection,
I, your glass, will modestly discover to yourself, that of yourself
which you yet know not of.
- William Shakespeare
UTC: Mr. Shakespeare, I would like to have a conversation with you. Where should we start?
WS: Conversation should be pleasant without scurrility, witty without affectation, free without indecency, learned without conceitedness, novel without falsehood. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently. For in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness.
UTC: I probably don’t have those virtues.
WS: Assume a virtue, if you have it not. Virtue and genuine graces in themselves speak what no words can utter.
UTC: Perhaps you could tell me how our talk ought to proceed.
WS: I am not bound to please thee with my answers. I must be cruel only to be kind; thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
UTC: Uh, okay. Should we talk about trivial or important things?
WS: Small to greater matters must give way. Be great in act, as you have been in thought.
UTC: But I haven’t been so great in thought.
WS: Be not afraid of greatness: some men are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.
UTC: So we should glory in greatness?
WS: Oh, that way madness lies; let me shun that. Glory is like a circle in the water, which never ceaseth to enlarge itself, till by broad spreading it disperses to naught.
UTC: Speaking of water, we have raised our prices, and I’d like to explain...
WS: I pray thee cease thy counsel, which falls into mine ears as profitless as water in a sieve. You cram these words into mine ears against the stomach of my sense. For they are yet ear-kissing arguments.
UTC: Yeah, some of our customers feel that way, too.
WS: Their understanding begins to swell and the approaching tide will shortly fill the reasonable shores that now lie foul and muddy.
UTC: Not sure what that means, but I admire your confidence. Didn’t you ever suffer doubt?
WS: In my salad days, when I was green in judgment. Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. See first that the design is wise and just: that ascertained, pursue it resolutely; do not for one repulse forego the purpose that you resolved to effect.
UTC: Easy for you to say. What’s your take on April Fool’s Day?
WS: Lord, what fools these mortals be! When we are born, we cry, that we are come to this great stage of fools.
UTC: This interview will be published in Up The Creek, our newsletter. What do you think of that?
WS: A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.
UTC: You don’t seem to like me much as a writer.
WS: That is the short and long of it. They say, best men are moulded out of faults, and, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad. Hereafter, in a better world than this, I shall desire more love and knowledge of you. I wish you well and so I take my leave; I pray you know me when we meet again.
UTC: Parting is such sweet sorrow....
WS: Watch it, junior.
The last line is not a valid Shakespeare quotation, as far as I know dh