Gaston, Shakespeare, and Something Interesting to Ponder






A friend told me an interesting story that might satisfy readers until I post my theory of slowness.


My friend was standing in the hallway of his university building waiting for his class to finish filling out their end-of-semester course evaluations. The hall was long, dimly lit, and empty. Empty except for one male student directly across from my friend. The student was well muscled and dressed in typical gear: black t-shirt, long black basketball-type shorts that came to his calves, and black sneakers with no socks. His head was shaved like a tennis ball. He was fit, and his get-up reinforced this. Also, he wanted others to know about his taste in fashion. The classroom door next to the student was wide open and my friend, Gaston, could hear the class talking. On closer inspection Gaston noticed three things. First, the student was wearing a t-shirt that said: “The surgeon general says it is OK to smoke the competition.” Second, the student was holding a sheaf of papers and reading along with the class inside. Third, it sounded like the class was putting on a play, vaguely Shakespearian, but not exactly so. Too many references to cars assaulted Gaston’s ears, he said. Then Gaston notice the clincher: the student had a two-foot long sword sticking out of his shorts. Cardboard. And suddenly, he leapt into the classroom. The student, not Gaston. Gaston told me that he heard some unintelligible shouts. Then the student walked back into the hall and stopped right next to the door. The student then mouthed the words of the players inside the room. With his free hand, the student made dramatic motions indicating the force of the speeches going on inside. Finally, Gaston told me that he could take it no longer, he had to ask. So, Gaston approached the armed student and asked him what he was doing.


            “We are putting on a play that we wrote.”

            “What play is that?” asked Gaston.

            “We rewrote and updated Shakespeare’s As You Like It.”



And with that information, Gaston returned to his own post on the other side of the hall, greatly relieved and yet also curious about the result. Did the teacher like it? How did it end? And Gaston was also quite impressed by the student’s full immersion into the project. As Gaston turned to leave me to grade papers and muse upon his story, he said to me as if a question: “that was for me the greatest moment of the semester, no?”

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