I am a Shakespeare magnet. It doesn’t take long for friends, coworkers and family to learn that I am the Shakespeare guy, which in turn means that they become more receptive to Shakespeare things, and want to share them with me. I love this. Because I know that my presence in this person’s life means that they are now more aware of Shakespeare, and that their lives are thus more likely to be made better because of it.
I was surprised the other day when my brother in law texted me about a Shakespeare documentary he’d seen. In the 15 years I’ve been married to his sister the only conversations we’ve ever really had are the Red Sox, Elvis, who is hosting Thanksgiving this year, and who did the other use to refinance the mortgage and were they any good?
It’s always fun to see what others “learn” about Shakespeare on the fly. Often it’s incomplete, or insubstantiated, or just plain wrong. Since this conversation was over text I have the actual transcript for this one:
B-I-L: I watched a special last night on Shakespeare’s grave. There is a theory that his skull was stolen from his gave. Common in those days. And he died from drinking contaminated water. Quick death within 30 days. Interesting show! Also explained was his grave stone is shorter than others next to him.
Me: Nobody knows how he died, some people say it was syphilis, or a tumor. It’s all theories.
No idea about the short gravestone thing. I know about the curse.
B-I-L: Hopefully you can watch special. Very interesting!
Me: Did they mention his pal Marlowe? He’s an interesting story — got stabbed in the eye during a bar fight over the tab. It’s generally agreed that he was better than Shakespeare, and if he hadn’t died so young, Shakespeare would never have gotten his big break.
B-I-L: I believe that is who he was drinking with when Shakespeare caught fever.
🙂 Well, no. Probably not him.
[ Now I’m wondering whether my “Marlowe was better than Shakespeare” comment, which I’ve decided to leave in unedited, is going to get me in trouble… 🙂 ]