Wait You What? Why? [ A Geeklet Story ]

It feels weird still telling geeklet stories when one of the geeklets is in college, but traditions must be followed! It’s fascinating to look at how the conversations and stories have evolved over the years.

So my daughter’s off to college (second year, actually) and last night she got to hang out with the Shakespeare club. Naturally, I had to speak with her this morning and get the scoop.

“We actually didn’t talk much about Shakespeare,” she told me. “It was a lot more getting to know each other stuff. Oh, but I did learn, the production this year is Hamlet.”

I’m of two minds. “Really?” I start with, “Of all the plays? What are they going to say about Hamlet that hasn’t been said a million times already?” But, reconsidering, “If you want to get immersed in Shakespeare, Hamlet’s going to be one of the best choices. Sometimes they’ll go off and do a Comedy of Errors or a Two Gentlemen of Verona or something, but all you get out of those is the laughs. Something like a Hamlet is where you can really spend all the time getting into the details of how you’re going to tell it, and why.”

We talk briefly about “gender-bent” productions and the difference between “a woman playing Hamlet” and “playing Hamlet as a woman.”

“I’ll send you resources,” I continue. “Sarah Bernhardt famously played Hamlet back in the 1800s. There’s even video.”

The conversation continues, and then she drops a bomb on me. “Last night I was reading Taming of the Shrew, and that ending is just …”

“Hold on,” I say, “Pause. Back up. You were doing what?”

“Reading Taming of the Shrew?”

“Before or after you met with the Shakespeare club? Something came up in conversation?”

“No, before.”

“Why?”

“I wanted to refresh myself on the story.”

I’m momentarily speechless, a rare event in this Shakespeare-related universe. “You’re telling me that, of your own accord, you said hey I think I’ll catch up on my Shakespeare and decided to re-read Shrew?”

“Well, yeah. Not the whole thing, not in one night. Mostly the ending.”

We then talk so long about the ending of that one, the ending of Midsummer, the ending of Merchant, that I eventually have to go to a meeting and put a halt to the conversation.

I think it was probably fourteen years ago? That I was tucking in a cute little curly-headed five-year-old girl who needed a bedtime story and I thought, “What the heck, never too young to learn about Shakespeare.”

Look how far we’ve come. I can’t wait to see what comes next. But I tell you right now, documented for the record, that if any of my kids end up on a stage delivering lines, I’m not sure my heart will be able to take it.

Oh, That Question [ A Geeklet Story ]

School’s over now, so my kids are decompressing by starting to have friends over just to hang out, not to study. Today my daughter’s friend arrived and headed straight for me.

“I had to tell you,” she began excitedly, “For my Latin final, I wrote about the Shakespeare question. And my teacher said it was the best answer he’d ever seen!”

“Great!” I replied, thrown by the leap from Latin to Shakespeare. She’s also probably talking about an AP (Advanced Placement) course so I think that maybe this was one of those situations where they gave the kids multiple prompts and they had to pick one, and one was about Shakespeare. “Exactly which Shakespeare question are we talking about?” I finally asked.

“About authorship, how people think he didn’t write the plays.”

“Oh,” I said, rolling my eyes, “that question. I hope you are on the side of the man from Stratford?”

“Of course,” she replied, “I’m definitely a Stratfordian.”

“Good girl,” I told her. “I don’t think I would have let you into the house otherwise.”

Mutiny! A Geeklet Story

It’s been a while since I got to tell a geeklet story! My son kind of got ripped off for his last year of middle school, where they’d normally have done some Shakespeare in the second half of the year. The start of the pandemic basically threw everything into chaos and that never happened.

But here we are a year later and he let me know this week that they’re studying Shakespeare in his class. The teacher, who had his two older sisters before him, knows our family and already mentioned our special context :). I said, “You realize you’re going to be expected to knock it out of the park, right?” and he kind of sighed and said, “Yeah, I suppose.” He’s not one for showing off how smart he is. He did also say, “I know we’ve got those pictures of when we went to England and saw Shakespeare’s marriage bond, but I didn’t know if I’m allowed to show those.”

What the..? I told him, “Of course you can show those! If you remember, I actually told you guys that while we were taking the pictures, that any kid can come back from vacation with pictures of Aruba or Disney World, but you’re guaranteed to be the only kid coming back with pictures of Shakespeare’s marriage bond.” Of course, the moment has already passed now, they’re done with the “Shakespeare’s bio” stuff and he’ll never get the chance to share that picture, dang it. I would have killed to hear that he told the Anne Whateley story.

Cut to the next day when I ask him about school and he said they’re into reciting stuff out loud. I said, “Which one are you reciting?” and he told me, “Something about a mutiny.” That took me longer than I should admit. Mutiny? I went to ships immediately – Twelfth Night? Tempest? Hamlet? But I knew there was no mutiny in any of those. Then it hit me, duh, the obvious answer. “From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. That’s the prologue to Romeo and Juliet.”

“I figured you’d know,” he said. “Anyway, we were all taking turns reciting, and we got to a section where the teacher said that nobody ever gets this part right on the first try. And it was that mutiny part. It was my turn, so I read it fine, first try, and then her head pops up because she was reading something at her desk and only half-listening to us, and she saw it was me and she said, ‘I should have known you’d get it on the first try.”

“What did you say to that?” I asked.

“I told her, ‘We read this stuff as bedtime stories when I was little.'” That’s my boy!

I look forward to a whole new set of geeklet stories coming soon!

Nailed It : A Geeklet Story

My wife had her nails done today and told me that the color was, “Romeo and Juliet.” Neither of us has any clue what about that color makes it in any way related to Romeo and Juliet, but hey. We work with what we can. And, we get stories like this out of it.

We’re at the dinner table with my daughter, my son having gone off to do homework. My wife flashes her nails and says, “Like my color? Guess what it’s called.”

“How would I have any idea?” my daughter replies.

“Think Shakespeare,” I hint.

“Hamlet!”

“No.”

“Macbeth!”

“No.”

“Othello!”

“No.”

You get the idea 🙂 On it went. “Much Ado About Nothing! Taming of the Shrew! King Lear! Wait, would there be one called King Lear? Ophelia! Desdemona!”

“You’re forgetting an obvious one,” I tell her when there’s a pause. She considers. She has no idea. “Romeo and Juliet,” I whisper.

“Oh yeah, I forgot about that one!” Pause. “How does that color have anything to do with Romeo and Juliet?”

“We have no idea.”

Achievement Unlocked! A Geeklet Story?

Ok, this is a fun one. Is it a geeklet story if the geeklets aren’t actually in it?

Ever since I’ve had Shakespeare Geek merchandise, I’ve jokingly said that “the goal” is to bump into a stranger wearing my merchandise. That’s when I’ll know I’ve made it. You see where this story is going.

My daughter’s off to college. Perusing Facebook one night I see a group for parents of students at that college, and send a request to join. It gets approved, followed by a message. Which I assume is just an automatic “Your request has been accepted” type of thing. Nope!

It says, “Out of curiosity, are you the maker of the To Yeet or Not To Yeet shirt on Amazon?”

“I am!” I reply, “Though I’m sure by now there are a number of knockoffs, but yes, that is definitely one of my designs.” The nature of Amazon is that brain dead “sellers” with no ideas of their own will just steal the originality of others. We deal with it, and we move on. It’s definitely not winning the game if you bump into somebody wearing a knock off of one of your shirts. That’s negative points.

“Yup it’s you!” she replied, posting an image of the shirt. Turns out her daughter’s in the college’s Shakespeare group. I concede that while I’d love that, I know my daughter’s a math/space geek and wouldn’t want her to feel forced to follow in my footsteps.

But, still! Maybe this doesn’t count as me randomly bumping into somebody with my merch. But my daughter might! Now I’ve got this whole vision in my head where this woman’s daughter has one of my shirts, and all the other people in her club are all, “Oh, whoa, where’d you get that? I must have it!” so there’s really dozens of people wandering around my daughter’s college wearing Shakespeare Geek merchandise, and one day she’s going to stroll out onto the quad and be surrounded :). I can’t wait for that phone call!

Hello to new friends!