Here is an interesting essay shared by one of my instructors, describing the scene in which the world famous grand writer, Shakespeare, tries to talk a freshman in university into majoring in English, but in turns to be conversely changed by the freshman effortless unintentional attempt.
My Kingdom for an English Course
By TEDDY WAYNE
Published: November 9, 2013
His university had 394 English majors last year, down from 501 when he arrived in 1984, but Professor Edmundson said he does not fret about the future. “In the end, we can’t lose,” he said. “We have William Shakespeare.”
— The New York Times, Oct. 31
Shakespeare approaches a freshman at an academic orientation session.
SHAKESPEARE What ho, callow youth! Sampling the succulent menu of this university? What royal repast wilt thou engorge thy brains on, O glutton for wisdom?
FRESHMAN I’m just, uh, looking through the coursebook. Are you a professor here?
SHAKESPEARE Verily, the tome of seminars! I have heard, from the eaves, that the sections moniker’d “Business,” “Statistics” and “Computer Science” are erroneous and not to be trusted. Let me excise those befouled pages…
FRESHMAN That’s O.K. Seriously, do you work at the school? Or are you an alum from, like, the ’80s?
SHAKESPEARE Perchance the 1580s! Ha, I am very like the court jester! Thou shouldst have seen the expression on thy face when thou thought I was a reanimated 450-year-old man whose peerless eloquence will surely sway the new cohort of students to memorialize his lit’ry feats!
FRESHMAN So…you’re an adviser or something?
SHAKESPEARE Aye, indeed, a Polonius to thee, the king of course selection! Now, this plot of cerebral land seems worthy of conquering: “English.” What is that I heard noted bard Katherine Perry, of Hollywood-upon-the-Hills, declaim — that “Elizabethan Dramaturgy” is attracting all the charismatic children these days? Let us enroll you anon!
FRESHMAN I’m really interested in a major that will help get me a job at Google or Facebook or Twitter.
SHAKESPEARE But, unenlightened ephebe, why “Google” something when thou canst simply travel half a fortnight to a city’s library and consult an elegantly bound codex of knowledge? What is the need for “Facebook” when thy fellow-man attends all around thee in isolation, yearning for connection? And what, pray tell, is the point of “Twitter”? Seriously, I don’t “get” it. I meanest, I see what people use it for; I simply do not comprehend the urge to share publicly thy basest observations about celebrated thespians during ceremonies of awards and the quality of thy antemeridian coffee … what art thou doing now with the rapid motion of thy thumb hither and thither?
FRESHMAN I’m checking Tinder. Here, look.
SHAKESPEARE Zounds! An emporium of nubile helpmeets awaiting thy Spartan missives, each ending, for some reason, with a semicolon followed by a closed parenthesis! A cornucopia of feminine pulchritude in trompe l’oeil, painted by the fair maidens themselves in the mirror! How doth one join these revels?
FRESHMAN They’re giving away free smartphones if you sign up for the new social-media major.
SHAKESPEARE Let us not tarry! No more shall we pine away in our oubliettes with unrequited affections for star-crossed lovers! No more lonesome nights, when a warm touch is all a body — neglected by his wife who doth not support his playwriting vocation and thinkest he shouldst squander his talents on sloganeering — craves! No more unread sonnets composed in honor of those who “only like thee as a comrade and not like that”!
FRESHMAN You know, there’s also an app called Grindr — see?
After removing his ruff, cloak, robe, doublet and detachable sleeves, Shakespeare takes a photo of his bare torso. Exeunt.
Teddy Wayne is the author of the novels “The Love Song of Jonny Valentine” and “Kapitoil.”