Weird Holiday of the Week

Shakespeare’s Birthdeath Day:

Shakespeare died on April 23, supposedly after getting “porter in Macbeth” drunk with his good mates, Ben Jonson and Michael Drayton. No one knows exactly when Shakespeare was born, but he was christened on April 26. As it stands to reason that lil’ Willy was christened three days after birth, it’s possible to celebrate Shakespeare’s birth and death on the same day.

Strangely enough, the same thing happens to a character in Julius Caesar. “This is my birth-day,” Cassius tells Messala, “as this very day Cassius was born.” He then goes on to recount how he’s pretty sure that he’ll end up deadmeat in the upcoming battle and he’s right. (Nobody celebrates Cassius’ Birthdeath Day because nobody likes a schemer!)

So what’s a good way to celebrate Shakespeare’s Birthdeath Day?

Here are ten suggestions:

1. Poach some deer from your wealthy neighbor’s estate

“Oh, these are YOUR deer, Sir Thomas Lucy?… [Nervous laughter]… My bad!”

2. Spit on a Jewish moneylender

[Hock, THUU]… “Take THAT, Ben Bernanke!”

3. If you’re a man, find your closest male friend and tell him how much you reallyreally REALLY love him and then pledge your undying devotion to him

(There’s a good chance that Shakespeare himself played Antonio (aka “RuPaul the Pirate”) in Twelfth Night)

4. If you’re a woman, dress up like a man and impersonate a lawyer

“Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?”… Off to a real bang-up start, Portia… ur, I mean… learn’d scholar Balthazar!

5. If you’re a man,  drive yourself totally insane with sexual jealousy

(Shakespeare is still the foremost expert on cuckoldry, both real and imagined)

6. If you’re a woman and you & your sister are both in love with the same guy, consider poisoning her

(I’m still waiting for one of the Kardashians to do this. I can totally see Season 8 of Keeping Up with the Kardashians ending with Kanye turning to the camera and saying with amazement, “Yet Yeezy was beloved…”)

7. If you’re a man, fall in love with your own self-image so much that you conveniently forget to consummate your marriage

(It’s called “the beast with TWO backs” for a reason, Othello!”)

8. Fall in love with a thirteen year old

(That’s ALWAYS a good idea, right?)

9. Go to a funeral and mock the corpse

(Hamlet, thou art a dick!)

10. Find a bear and convince him to chase you

(The greatest WTF moment in all of Shakespeare!)

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3 Responses to Weird Holiday of the Week

  1. Reblogged this on The Dad Poet and commented:
    There are lots of wonderful blog posts and articles today about Shakespeare’s birthday. You’ll find all the details, guts and entrails of it from the Academy of American Poets. And it’s delightful to be reminded about all the cliche’s that were once original, phrases he put into our every-day language.

    You may not know that this is actually the anniversary of the Bard’s death, and that nobody is certain of his exact birth date. We only know that he was Christened on the 26th, so it’s likely that he was born three days before. Still, how exciting and creepy and totally appropriate that the Master would be remembered 400 years later in a birth-death combination holiday.

    Thanks for this entertaining post, Scott, especially for the riotous suggestions about how to celebrate the day!

  2. I wish I’d have known about your list. I’d have stood in the ladies room washing my hands over and over and over, muttering “Out, damned spot.”

    Someone responded to the Folger Theatre’s FB birthday message pointing out it was his death day, too, as if the Folger were to be chastised for not wishing him a happy death day.

    Great list!

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