Frankly, Shakespeare, I don’t give a damn

Posted on April 23, 2010


If Shakespeare had a blog today, you just know he'd have an avatar like this.

April 23 is Shakespeare’s birthday.


We know he was baptised on April 26, and the tradition at the time was to baptise babies three days after their birth. Doing the necessary mathematics (which are too complicated to go into here), that means Shakespeare was born on April 23.

It’s also the date Frank Lee MeiDere was born — although several centuries later, of course.

I already had two blogs at the time. One was the online continuation of  my long-running (but on-again, off-again) column about advertising I started for a local Toronto paper in 1994 (this was shortly after leaving J. Walter Thompson). The other was on editing and writing — its original incarnation having been a resource site for Ontario journalists.

But there were times I just wanted to say something ornery and cantankerous.  Unfortunately, living in the overwrought politically-correct climate of the education system, I couldn’t make such comments in my own name.

So I created Frank Lee MeiDere.

During the past year I’ve had 6,080 visitors for 59 posts (this is my 60th). That’s an average of 16.6575342 visits a day.

Oh yeah, I’m that popular.

Still, Shakespeare wasn’t all that well-received when he started, either. Robert Greene, a contemporary dramatist and humour writer, said:

…there is an upstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tiger’s heart wrapped in a Player’s hide, supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blank verse as the best of you: and being an absolute Johannes factotum, is in his own conceit the only Shake-scene in a country.

Most scholars consider this to be a derogatory comment on Shakespeare. Others aren’t sure because it’s pretty garbled and written kind of funny.

In any event, like Shakespeare, I’ve had my own share of detractors. One reader commented:

[I]t’s like during each introduction he’s taking a slow, deliberate, annoying-ass cruuuuuuunch from a fresh apple right behind my fucking ear, and my neck trembles and locks in aggravation and I want to swing around and drive the whole royal gala up his nose with the heel of my palm.

Ha! As though I’d ever eat a royal gala apple.

Or a fuji apple.

Or an apple, for that matter.

Well, maybe a candy apple. But at least they have flavour.

My point, however, is that this blog hasn’t exactly earned wide readership or critical acclaim.

But that’s all right. Really. Doesn’t bother me. I can be quite happy living in obscurity.

In fact, we moved there just a few months ago.

I started this blog (originally called I Probably Don’t Like You) while living in Toronto (my home since 1972 — more or less), but we recently had to move into the “city” of St. Catharines. My father-in-law, who can no longer live on his own, now lives with us, and my commute to work has changed from half an hour each way to almost three hours each way.

So that’s different.

This is purely for illustrative purposes. I even chose a photo in which she is looking somewhat plain -- in a totally gorgeous and heart-stopping fashion.

I also used to have a running gag concerning my crush on Avril Lavigne (“Avril” is French for “April” — not that there’s any relevance in that), but I put a moratorium on it a little while ago. Despite the fact that there was a very complimentary (although completely private) connection to my own wife,  I thought it was getting a bit tacky.

Then there’s the fact that I’m also living in a house. For someone who has only lived in apartments since 1968, this is a rather major change.

To start with, there’s a yard.

Now apartments are civilised affairs completely lacking in all forms of nature — with the exception of whatever plant life the apartment dwellers may choose to bring into their environment and watch die. Houses, on the other hand, are surrounded by nature, all of which requires constant upkeep, since nature apparently has no ability to survive without human intervention. This is even attested to in Genesis 2:5 which states there was no plant life before Adam was created because “there was not a man to till the ground.”

Stupid nature.

Anyhow, I hope to be around for another year. MikeWJ over at Too Many Mornings just celebrated his first year “blogoversary” a little over a week ago, as did Kam I Am at Typewriters and Fools, and they plan on sticking around, so I figure I may as well too. It’s easier for a small boat to putter along in the wake of the bigger ones.

So to all of my 16.6575342 readers, I say thank you.

And did you know that Johannes factotum is Latin for “Jack of all trades”?

Cool, huh?

PS: Avril’s birthday is September 27. If you’re thinking of getting her something, she seems to like pink.