Richard III, the Bard
Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth’d his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady’s chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
My intellectual mentors were two of the most unlikely characters you can imagine. They were both immigrants to Peace River Country from Europe. They were both well read and primarily self-taught learned men, who knew the classics and were prepared to argue politics, religion, or literature with any man walking the earth.
Todd or Tadeusz Podbereski, a huge Pole who stood six foot six and weighed well over 300 pounds, was a devout Catholic who brooded over Homer’s Illiad and could recite several of Shakespeare’s plays and most of the bible from memory. He could never resist the opportunity to assume the role of Falstaff, Shakespeare’s irreverent, gluttonous, bawdy, profane, drunken, mooching, lying monk: he would abandon his thick Polish accent and employ the overly theatrical method of a Shakespearian actor, in country stores and humble cabins, he’d quote passages that pertained to the daily discourse of almost any situation. Even the most stoic and unromantic watched in silent awe as Todd applied his thespian skills to illustrate an obscure point of conversation.
His protagonist was a former steeple chase jockey from Ireland, Paul Larkin. He had become embittered with the Catholic Church and considered himself a Protestant. He read Melville’s Moby Dick every year at Christmas; he argued the novel characterized all man’s weaknesses and passions. He considered Twain and Hemingway great authors who summed up man’s feeble yet noble existence with two simple but great novels, Huckleberry Finn and For Whom The Bell Tolls. He recited the poetry of Robert Service and often told the stories of Jack London to family groups around a wood stove on cold winter evenings. In those days, a good story teller held an audience like today’s kids watching Star Wars.
Neither man was married and they were both horsemen. Todd drove a vegetable and supply wagon through the back country. If you didn’t have money, Todd would trade for different goods and he had a keen eye for a profit. Nearly everyone conducted business with him, for the entertainment was worth the extra price you paid. If you needed nails or a special tool, the moccasin telegraph usually made it through to Todd and the item would mysteriously be on the wagon, the next time he came through.
Paul was a horse trader and specialized in taking spirited horses that had been spoiled and turning them into good using horses. He made an excellent living and had the best eye for a horse in the whole Peace River Country.
Paul was also known for having the most picturesque and inspiring outhouse on the Peace River. His homestead was on hill, a couple hundred feet above the river. The outhouse was in the shade of a few Poplars and was a three sided building that faced the river, built of rough cut lumber over a trench made with a backhoe it was about twelve feet long and four feet wide. It was an unusual shape for an out house, but the view made it a topic of conversation and nearly everyone who came to visit made an effort to use the famous out house with the spectacular view. Paul kept the outhouse neat and tidy, the structure included a supply of well worn classics for reading on a small bookshelf along the West wall. A Lodge Pole pine rail served as the seat, it was the only seat I had ever seen constructed out of a single rail, at least in a permanent outhouse, the rail was six inches at one end and four and a half at the other end. Lodge pole naturally has a fine scale bark, but this rail had worn exceptionally smooth from countless butts over the years. There was a bucket of ash with a small scoop; the ash was sprinkled lightly over every latest deposit, and for some reason, a chemical reaction reduces the odiferous methane fumes that normally arise from these humble buildings of necessity.
These two men of literature would get together at least once a month at Paul’s place when Todd came by with his team and freighting wagon. I started attending these literary meetings when I was 13: my father had decided it was time for me to be exposed to men of letters. Paul and I both wore moccasins with rubber overshoes. This was standard footwear for horsemen who rode in our area. It was always easier to slip off the overshoes and walk through a house in moccasins than to wear boots and strip them off to walk around in stretched out socks. Paul always made a fuss over Todd’s size 13 gumboots, he called them Ukrainian Marxist Cowboy Boots. Of course Todd would emphasize that his name was that of an aristocratic Pole and not Ukrainian. Of course, the boundaries of the Ukraine had been a political football for centuries and this was merely an opening gambit of a battle of wits that found me in awe at these two intellectual giants.
My muddled concepts of punctuation developed from these conversations and one of the most memorable discussions was of Jesus and some of his final words on the cross: “Verily, I say unto thee, This day thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” This is the Protestant version, it denies the concept of Perdition and whisks the crucified thief straight to Glory with Jesus.
The Catholic Church opted for a different punctuation that indirectly alluded to Purgatory: “Verily, I say unto thee this day, Thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”
It is true, the difference is slight, but it is more than enough for a doctrinal difference; it’s true, wars have been fought over such doctrinal differences, wars that included the slaughter of innocents. If a reader is objective and takes into consideration the fact that the Ancient Hebrew Language, the Aramaic Language, and Early Greek Language (the most likely languages that Jesus may have spoken) all lacked punctuation; it might not have been so advantageous to wage war over such insignificant facts that have no basis; unfortunately, ignorance of a subject is hardly grounds not to have an opinion.
Actually, not until the 15th Century and the advent of printing, did Aldus Manutius the Elder (1450- 1515) and his grandson Aldus Manutius the Younger come up with the unique idea of the modern comma, the full stop or period, italics, and the semi colon. Aldus the Younger declared in 1566 that the function of punctuation was to define syntax. He could have been burned at the stake as a heretic; except, this new concept was extremely useful in written expression.
Thus the stage was set for Shakespeare, perhaps the most prolific of all writers, he was given the opportunity to express himself accurately and to create his magic, only a couple of decades later.
Todd often did a recitation from memory with appropriate gestures while striking poses in front of the wood stove, it was from the first act of Macbeth that has a wounded soldier recounting the details of the recent battle to Duncan who listens with empathy and concern for the man and his pain. Upon hearing the man’s account, Todd now playing Duncan with exaggerated enthusiasm calls out, “Go get him, surgeons!” as if he were a coach ordering football players to tackle the wounded soldier. Paul and I would nearly fall out of our chairs with laughter. He then would do the scene correctly with the correct syntax, “Go, get him surgeons!” Thus my introduction to punctuation was more colorful than usual.
With punctuation, Shakespeare was able to write his work with accurate syntax or expression, it was the first time in history such a unique concept was advanced and the Bard was the man who could work the system to full glory like no one before or after. Shakespeare is said to have invented close to 10,000 words and maintained a vocabulary of 40,000 words; yet, the average college graduate only has a vocabulary of 5,000 words. Fortunately, Shakespeare did not need to invent punctuation, thanks entirely to Aldus the Younger.
Now, most of the arguments were in good spirits; but Todd was a committed Communist and Paul hated Communists. I had no doubts as to the extent of Todd’s Leftist leanings because of seeing several copies of The Daily Worker beneath the seat of his wagon. In those days, just touching the papers seemed evil.
During one of our sessions, Todd excused himself to visit his immediate family at the outhouse; in hushed tones, Paul told me that Todd was a Marxist and that he had left a copy of The Communist Manifesto in the outhouse to pollute the minds of everyone who stopped to leave a deposit. He looked me in the eye and alluded to the fact that it had made excellent fuel for the woodstove.
I was a teenager, the prospect of a Communist in a Socialist Province like British Columbia wasn’t a great shock; although, to my knowledge I had never met a devout Communist or at least someone who professed to being a Communist. The line that defined a Communist from a Socialist was vague and dubious, but we all knew that a Socialist was okay, like having a retarded family member, but a Communist was like the worst kind of deviant. Now Todd didn’t admit to being a Communist, but he didn’t deny it either. This fact wore on Paul, he disapproved of Todd’s willingness to extract a sharp profit while being a dedicated Marxist, he felt it was taking advantage of entrepreneurial spirit and free enterprise. A fact Paul explained, that was inconsistent with Marxist values. Still, I think things could have been worked out in time; except, for the Communist Manifesto appearing in the outhouse. Some lapses of etiquette require an appropriate response.
All of this was confusing to a lad trying to learn literature and the fundamentals of religion. Yet there were certain issues that were obvious, even in The Peace River Country. Most Socialists were either extremely wealthy or they were such committed Marxists that nothing else in life mattered. These two groups operated in tandem as allies to accomplish the goals of their agendas. I thought it ironic how the idle rich seemed to resent the fact that a previous relative had made a fortune by using the free market to provide a service or goods and these latest children or grandchildren were more than willing to correct any perceived wrongs their relatives had committed accumulating their wealth; although, they drew the line at contributing their wealth to the betterment of society, their main goal seemed to be to prevent others from becoming wealthy. Yet in a way, this was strictly a selfish maneuver, since they considered themselves to be old money and heavily invested in the social structure of wealth; where as new money people lack the social graces and Marxist philosophy; therefore, they were hardly equipped to contend with the responsibilities of wealth.
In time, I could see the enmity building between Paul and Todd, over the issue of politics. Paul confided to me that Todd was using his outhouse in an unorthodox manner; apparently, he was standing on the Lodge Pole rail, in his Ukrainian Marxist Cowboy Boots, and leaving large deposits of mud on the rail, he explained that family type people were complaining about the unsightly appearance of mud on the rail. He asked me my opinion of the situation. I told him I thought it was a rude type of behavior and that perhaps he didn’t know that you were supposed to sit on the rail, not stand on it. Paul looked at me as if I were simple minded and in his thick Irish accent told me that he had explained the proper outhouse etiquette several times to Todd; but he considered his fat ass too good to sit where normal people sit, probably because of being a Communist. He told Paul, he’d rather stand where normal people sit. I’m not exactly sure if Todd said this exactly and I wasn’t going to ask Paul to verify these sentiments; understandably, tensions were heating up.
This seemed like a subject that was too deep and had too much turmoil for a teenager, so I let the pot boil rather than say more about the muddy rail dilemma to either one of my elders.
On the next occasion of our intellectual discussion, I arrived as Todd was sauntering over to the Peace River Outhouse; Paul was agitated and nervous. He held my jacket with both hands. “Skookum, there is going to be trouble.”
I looked at him as if to ask what the Hell was going on, when we heard a loud crack like a 30-06 rifle going off followed by a loud scream. At first I thought Paul had arranged a gun trap in the outhouse to shoot poor Todd when he stood on the rail.
Paul looked at me and said with a somber expression, “You had better go help Todd, laddie; I think he will be needing help.” He turned and walked slowly into the house: I ran over to see what had happened to Todd, fearing the worst.
At first I didn’t see him, but after walking closer I saw that the rail and Todd were in the eight foot deep trench and Todd was standing there with the muck about halfway up his thighs. He was using curse words I’d never heard of, in several different foreign languages; at first I thought the rail had broken; but Todd explained that the rail had been sawed halfway through.
I tried to help him out by hand but the suction of the ooze combined with Todd’s weight was too much; I told him to stay put and I would get a ladder. He replied sarcastically, “And where the Hell do you think I might be wandering off to?”
I brought the ladder over from the barn and stuck it down into the trench and Paul walked up to the trench, with an old shot gun, and said, “I’ve had enough of you Pollock Communists standing on my out house rail in your muddy Ukrainian Marxist Cowboy Boots, when you come up out of there, hitch up your team and drive away and don’t ever think of coming back to use my out house.” Being naive, I wondered if perhaps all Communists stood up to make a deposit.
Todd was more concerned with extricating himself from Paul’s outhouse than he was concerned with repeating the incident. With a mighty pull, Todd brought one leg out of the mire and unto a rung of the ladder and then brought the other leg up to the same level. Soon it was obvious that his Marxist Cowboy Boots were at the bottom, for Todd’s once white socks were without his muddy Marxist Cowboy Boots.
Todd climbed out of the out house hole with as much dignity as he could muster and with a dramatic flourish, he stepped on the toe of one soiled and outstretched sock and pulled it off and then repeated the process with the other sock. With disdain he used his foot to brush them into the trench. He stood to his full height and walked barefoot with pomp and circumstance to his wagon, he then drove his team away from Paul’s for the last time.
Unfortunately, this sad episode ended my formal study of classical literature.
It was a tragic event, one that I think is playing out once again on the American Political Stage. Barrack Obama has hidden his Marxist history quite well; however, his muddy Marxist Cowboy boots are leaving their mud and filth in a bizarre manner in places that have never been exposed to the Marxist Creed. Despite the fact that Obama is a bit of a light weight, he is standing on the rail of public scrutiny in his Marxist Cowboy boots with his arse exposed to the world. The rail is about to break, the only reason it hasn’t is his lack of substance and his lighter than air persona. The baggage is accumulating and the time is near, soon the crack will be heard and Obama will be standing knee deep in the filth.
Obama’s oily charm is similar in essence to that of Shakespeare’s Richard III: he may have had a hump for a back, a ‘withered stub’ for an arm, ‘a foul lump of deformity for a body’, a misshapen male member, and one testicle; but Shakespeare’s Machiavellian scoundrel has such an undeniable charm that an audience can’t help but come under his fascinating spell; even though they know him to be a murderer and an unscrupulous rogue; who will stop at nothing as he leaves a bloody trail of intrigue on the way to the throne.
Here in the opening lines of Richard III, an evil Richard or perhaps Obama draws us into a guilt by association complicity as he reveals his evil plans and evokes feelings of sympathy from the audience by laying out everything that is repulsive about his nature. Thus Richard like Obama addresses the audience directly and recites one of the most famous of Shakespeare’s soliloquies.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks…
I that am rudely stamped and want love’s majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph,
I that am curtailed of this fair proportion…
Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time
Into this breathing world scarce made up-
And that so lamely and unfashionable
Of course, Obama used race and his pathetic childhood as his physical deformity; and thus employed these characteristics to gather sympathy from his audience. He then used his charm to tell the American people how he was going to lead them into a Socialist Perdition and that they could be complicit in the demise of the United States as we know it and they followed this modern day Richard III willingly through the doors of Hell.
Now that Americans have glimpsed into this Marxist Hell of Obama’s, that he is so anxious to create: are they willing to watch him fall by sawing the rail even more or are they content to watch him soil the rail of freedom with his muddy Marxist Cowboy Boots.
The year 2010 will give us the opportunity to leave the Marxist on the rail with his trousers around his knees. If we hold the course, Obama like Todd will fall into the trench of obscurity in 2012. The American people were swayed by the charm and sweet speeches of a Marxist: but in the end, a Marxist only wants your freedom and your money, despite his charming manner and winning ways.
Rick Perry’s cowboy boots are a matter of contention among the MSM. I suppose the concept of Western boots to estrogen charged men can be frightening and even erotic, but if you were raised in moccasins and only wore your boots to go to town or to church, boots aren’t really that big of an issue. This updated article from the past should help alleviate some nervousness among Liberals who are overly concerned about those boots.