Right Idea, Wrong King (A Geeklet Story)

I love that my kids are in high school now and I still get to tell Shakespeare geeklet stories.

For some reason the story has come up of when my middle daughter, who is starting her freshman year at private school, went through the interview / application process.  In particular her older sister likes to remind her that when asked what grade she would give the school, she gave a realistic 8 out of 10.

“Obviously,” says my oldest, who is a junior at this school, “You tell them 10 out of 10. That’s what they want to hear.”

“Who are you, King Richard III?” my son asks.

That one gives me pause.  “Love the reference,” I tell him, “But do you want to explain what that has to do with Richard III?”

“Because you just tell them what they want to hear, so you get what you want.  Like the evil daughters.”

“That’s King Lear!” both his sisters reply.

That never gets old.


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Shakespeare Calling (A Geeklet Story)

This weekend my son and I went to the Boston Calling music festival because he’s a big Eminem fan.  His sisters will be going to see Taylor Swift this summer, and we already dragged him to that once, it didn’t seem fair to doom him to a life of shows like that just because he’s outnumbered.

Anyway, here’s where the Shakespeare comes in.  We’re walking from the hotel to the festival…

Geeklet:  “I told my friend at school that I’m going to see Eminem and he said, ‘Are you going to eat M&Ms?'”

Me:  “I once played Othello *at* Othello.”

Geeklet:  “What?”

Me: “Never mind.”

Later in the evening when we’re trying literally not to get lost in a crowd. Somehow the conversation turns to how you never know, just bumping into somebody or stepping on their shoe might set them off.

A few hours after that, it’s dark, it’s a standing room only crush of people, and he steps on my toe.

Me:  “Yo homes, you just step on my toe?  I will murder you.”

Geeklet: “No you wouldn’t.”

Me: “I can do it, too. We’re in the same hotel room. Smother you in your sleep with a pillow.”

Geeklet:  “Othello.”

Me: “…wait, what? Seriously?”

Geeklet: “Wait what what?”

Me: “That’s the one that ends where the guy smothers his wife with a pillow.  Didn’t know you remembered that.”

Geeklet: “I didn’t, I just picked the one that rhymed with pillow.”


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Shakespeare Math Lessons [ A Geeklet Story ]

Who says there’s no room for liberal arts in STEM education?

My family of course knows that today is Shakespeare Day.  It actually causes some funny moments, like when my wife had to write out a check for some school function and said, “What’s today’s date?”

Children:  “Seriously, Mommy?  Daddy is standing *right there*.”

Or this impromptu math lesson with my middle child:

SG: “So, how old would Shakespeare have been today?”

E: “Well he died in 1616.  So, 400 years would be 2016, and it’s 2018. Four hundred and eighteen!”

SG: “You want to check that math?”

E: “…2016…plus 2….yeah, 418.” *beat* “WAIT! NO!  402!”

SG: “Right!”

E: *beam*

SG: “Also wrong!”

E: “???”

I then explained to her that she was calculating how long he’d been dead, but I asked how old he would be.  Eventually we figured it out.

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The Great Shakespeare Egg Hunt

With Easter approaching, what do you say we go hunting for eggs in Shakespeare’s work?  I’m not going to list them all here (since it’s easy to hunt them down with a search engine where’s the fun in that?) but I’ll hit the most famous ones.  Add more in the comments!

“Give me an egg, nuncle, and I’ll give thee two crowns.”

Why, after I have cut the egg i’ th’ middle and eat up the
meat, the two crowns of the egg.

When I first tried to read King Lear I couldn’t understand Fool at all.  After many readings and watchings, I think the scenes with Lear, Fool and Kent are my favorite (even if I don’t always understand what he’s saying). He’s one of the few people (perhaps the only one?) who can say to the king, “Hey genius, how smart was it to split your kingdom down the middle and then give away both parts?”


Take away these chalices. Go brew me a pottle of
sack finely.


With eggs, sir?


Simple of itself; I’ll no pullet-sperm in my brewage.

Ok Falstaff, eww.  How am I supposed to look at my kids’ Easter eggs the same way ever again?  (Courtesy Merry Wives of Windsor, for those that don’t remember this charming lesson in animal husbandry showing up in the Henry plays.)  I actually googled this to see if I was missing something and saw it turn up in a list entitled “Why Aren’t These Shakespeare Quotes Famous Too?”



What, you egg!
[Stabbing him]
Young fry of treachery!

Students love this quote, I regularly see it posted when people reading Macbeth for the first time stumble across it. There are web pages and apps and even books dedicated to Shakespearean Insults, but calling somebody an egg just has a special sort of “What did he just call me?” flare to it.

My favorite part is the second line, where he calls him a young fry of treachery.  You know why, don’t you?

Because now he’s a fried egg.


On that note, I’m out of here before anybody gets the pitchforks.  What other egg references have you found?


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How To Get A Complete Stranger Fired With Shakespeare

Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

I’ve often spoken of how, once people meet and get to know me, Shakespeare is in their lives forever.  Months or years later, regardless of how often I might see them, I’ve now got that connection. So I’ll get Facebook messages or texts with links to something Shakespeare and a note, “Saw this and thought of you!”

So there’s this friend of mine who I worked with for five years, who actually went off to pursue his dream project and started a school (you don’t hear that too often).  He texts me yesterday to let me know that one of his humanities professors has a Shakespeare book (well, chapters in a collection) coming out.

Given the guy’s name I went googling.  I saw his bio for the school, but I also saw an Amazon author page.  Click.  Blah blah blah, thirty year veteran of stage and screen, award winning script writer … seems like this could be the guy.

He’s also got a couple dozen ebooks, the first of which is described as “an erotic fantasy, two souls in one body.”

Well that’s different, I think. But hey, it’s not my business.  What people do on their own time doesn’t bother me. I figure they did their due diligence, they know what their employees are up to, they made the same call.

“I think I found his author page on Amazon,” I text my friend.  “Little surprised to see the erotic fantasy pop up, I have to say.”

“HOLY SH*T!” comes the response.

Apparently not 🙂

“Maybe I have the wrong guy,” I reply.  “Australian fellow?”

My friend confirms, with great relief, that I’ve got the wrong guy.   But for a minute there I thought Shakespeare was about to get some dude fired who I never even met!


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