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Headless Frank...

advisor to the lovelorn, weary, confused, and the overly self-involved

headless frank

Dear Headless Frank:

My wife accepted our friends’ invitation to a Shakespeare play and I really don’t want to go. I can’t understand the guy, and it’s embarrassing to be the only person in the audience who isn’t laughing at his jokes or crying at the tragic situation on stage. But I just can’t ever figure out what’s going on. I enjoy theater but not Shakespeare. I feel like I’m the only one who doesn’t care for the bard. What’s wrong with me—and why is he such a bard??!
—Reluctant Audience

Dear Reluctant Audience—
Methinks thou dost protest too much!

Thanks for your letter just so I could say "methinks!"

Listen, NOBODY just comes in off the street and knows what Shakespeare is talking about. Half those people laughing uproariously at the bard’s gags are faking it. The other half read the Cliffnotes beforehand.

So get the Cliffnotes, read up and go with the gang. You’ll be surprised (and so will they) when you call them out for crying at the wrong part. Shakespeare audiences are all about crowd mentality. Also, at some point during the play when everyone is pretending to be rapt you should comment in a stage whisper beginning with "Methinks…"

You probably won’t have to worry about another invitation.

As for being a bard, it’s probably a good thing. But it seems to only exist in the context of Shakespeare. Kind of like nard, which only seemed to exist at one moment in the Bible—someone was anointed with nard and you never hear about it again. It’s like they used it up. We don’t even know if it worked!

I sort of think if it had been possible to anoint the bard with nard we would’ve all been able to understand him better. Funny how one little incident can change the course of history. In this case it was the wasteful over application of nard.

If you ever have occasion to question any stage performance, it would be perfectly appropriate to suggest: "Methinks it was the nard."

Signing off: Medulla oblongata.

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