Tough day yesterday all around.
I have a habit at my day job of wandering around and juggling when I need to get up from the desk. So I did so, wandering over to a coworker’s desk as I often do.
“I’ve seen that trick,” she says. “I feel like you should sing or something while you do that, step up the difficulty.”
“Why would you want to hear me sing? You’ve not wronged me in any way, I wouldn’t want to subject you to that,” I reply.
“Then quote Shakespeare or something.”
I’d like to think that I missed no beats before replying, “When it disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes, I all alone beweep my outcast state. And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries and look upon myself and curse my fate…,” all while still juggling.
“What does bootless mean?” she asks.
“I can’t believe I picked up on the one word you don’t know the definition for. I’m disappointed.”
And with that, my Shakespeare cred took quite the hit and I looked stupid.
But, damnit, isn’t it missing the point to pick out an individual word and say “Quick! define this out of context!” I’m not even sure what the right answer is to that. Bootless cries means what, exactly – “my cries that have nothing behind them”? “My cries that go unheard”? She wasn’t asking for a translation of the text I’d just spoken, she zeroes in on one word. Besides, isn’t that what the “deaf heaven” part is for? (The best translation that I’ve found says that I could have said “useless.” Bootless cries are useless cries, because heaven’s not listening.)
Between losing that cred with my coworkers, and learning that I won’t get to teach the kids, it wasn’t a great day I tell ya.