Shakespeare was getting his ear pierced. He was feeling OK about it. Sometimes there were blood spots in the boiled eggs that Shakespeare ate for breakfast and Shakespeare would pick them out grimacing.
Shakespeare thought about chickens, how he thought about wheat and horses and blood spots in boiled eggs, as though they were something that had been around forever but wheat came from the Mesopotamians and horses from the Mongolian steppe and chickens were descended from fierce wild fowl once kidnapped from the jungle and only blood spots in boiled eggs had been around forever.
Which ear would you like pierced, Mr Shakespeare, asked the barber. Shakespeare said he wasn’t sure. That it didn’t matter. If Shakespeare had heard a modem dialling, he wouldn’t have known what it was.
Shakespeare wouldn’t have believed you if you had told him about x-rays or dishwashers or dinosaur bones. Sometimes Shakespeare watched sleet sprinkle on the Thames and he thought about how humiliating it would be to have to live underwater and he imagined breathing through gaps in his sides and reserving his mouth for food and drink and he reflected on how hateful and oppressive that would be.
Shakespeare’s ear stung a little. He tried not to show it. He said, oh, have you done it, is that it, I didn’t feel a thing and blood trickled down from his ear and onto his collar. If Shakespeare had invented getting up early to go to work, everybody would’ve hated him. There would be a film about how he invented getting up early to go to work and in the film everybody would hate him. I’m a lot smarter than Shakespeare and I’m more handsome and I could beat him in a fight too.
If I ever met Shakespeare I would hold his shoulders and step on his toes and I would tell him all these things. I would tell him now if it was possible.