Today was William Shakespeare’s birthday, and there were festivities throughout the cultural landscape. You might have had some thespians traipsing through your downtown spouting iambic pentameter while wearing baggy shirts and tight hose, all nonny and such. But here in Chicago, Da Mare (give Chuckie his due) went everyone one better: He made today in Chicago Talk Like Shakespeare Day. While many of you may have thought Chicagoans possess mellifluous speaking voices anyway–full, resonant, with nary an “A” held too long or nasally–the proclamation should put to rest any lingering doubts that The City That Works is also The City That Iambs, and the average cop on the street sounds like Sir Ralph Richardson.
But those cadences don’t satisfy me. I had the idea last week, after watching “The Ten Commandments”, that we need to talk more like Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner did in that movie. You know, full of metaphors, ominous portents, and ageless prophecies.
For example, when a waitress asks you if you’d like coffee, you’d respond, “It would take a river of coffee to rouse me from contemplation of your beauty.”
If a cop pulls you over and asks you if you knew how fast you were going, you’d answer, “Fast or slow, someday we must face our maker with the deeds of our existence.”
If your friends ask you out for a beer, you’d say, “I respect jollity and comradeship. The night is long that contains no laughter.”
Try it yourself, but I think it would be good to wait until next Passover/Easter season, or else no one’s going to get the joke. Unless you already shave your head but leave that goofy ponytail on the side, “like a true prince of Egypt.”