Thursday, March 29, 2018

[Part One: Tuesday 03/17] Bawdy Shakespeare

The middle-aged female African-American safety officer had no idea who Roger’s site supervisor was but after she complimented him on his beard she did some research and discovered that his site supervisor had retired. (Good for her.) After he clumsily clocked in, he was advised to have a seat until the new site supervisor arrived. 

The last time Roger had a job where he had to punch in and out, he consistently forgot to punch out, which caused a paperwork nightmare to repair. Before he continued reading “The Poet's Craft Book” section of The Complete Rhyming Dictionary, he set the alarm on his tablet for 3:20 as a reminder to punch out. Otherwise, out of euphoria, he would have (most likely) sauntered by the time clock.

As some of his new co-workers passed the waiting area, no one appeared to peer into his eyes to gauge his innocence or guilt or question why he was there. Heck, Roger didn't even know exactly why he was there. 

He was home using a sick day to homeopathically medicate his severe seasonal allergies when he was informed over the phone by the principal, “I'm sorry to tell you but you’ve been accused by a student.” “Really? Accused of what?” She apologized for not being able to tell him the accusation or identify the accuser, but she politely emailed a photo of his reassignment letter from the Office of Personnel Investigation.

His new site supervisor was younger than he had expected. Mid-thirties? She had stunning blue eyes but was about six months pregnant. She repeatedly gave him a warm welcome, which contrasted with the head psychologist, who (initially) gave him a cold, sarcastic, and forced greeting. The head psychologist suggested that he take a tour of the office. 

Despite a dislocated knee, a new knee brace, and an old cane, a cordial middle-aged lady was assigned to be Roger’s tour guide. Like many New Yorkers of color, Roger couldn’t pinpoint her ethnicity. Even he had been confused by natives of being Saudi Arabian, Sudani, Dominican and Indian. Once, he was scolded on the subway in half Hindi and half English by an elderly man who reminded Roger that even though he lived in America, “You will always be Indian!”

The first stop on the tour was to be formally introduced to the security guard. “She doesn't have a gun, but she's pack'in.” The last stop was the lunchroom where the tour guide inquired about Roger’s marital status. Despite his answer, she briefed Roger that he should expect to have a plethora of female companions for lunch.

Seemingly, the previous occupant of Roger’s cubicle had suddenly quit only days before his arrival. What he could glean from her abandoned belongings was that she was a proud Upper East Side parent of an Ivy Leaguer. (William Penn would proud.) And talk about a coincidence.

Before Roger could settle into his first cubicle in almost twelve years, the security guard hovered over him. “What’s your name?” And as if she needed his name to make this determination, she exclaimed, “Oh, you’re a man. We need more men around here! Everyone is asking me who you are.”

After briefly bantering with the security guard, to appear busy, Roger worked on “The Cheating Newlywed” but as he was editing, The Psychologist shockingly asked him to accompany her on some classroom observations. Roger did not say, “I just got here! And I’m pretty sure that it’s illegal for me to be around students.” However, after making a pit stop at a cafe for some café and after she complimented him on his Warby Parkers, Roger found himself in a school for autistic students near the Flat Iron building where he observed and noted the student’s humbling behavior.

Upon their return to the office, Roger typed the notes from two of his four observations until his alarm reminded him that it was time to punch out.

After leaving the office, Roger picked up a copy of Eric Partridge’s Shakespeare’s Bawdy from Strand. On the Uptown 4, Roger read about Shakespeare's use of double-entendre in his narrative poem "Venus and Adonis". For example, here are verses 229-240:

‘Fondling,’ she saith, ‘since I have hemm’d thee here\Within the circuit of this ivory pale,\I’ll be a park, and thou shalt be his deer;\Feed where thou wilt, on mountain or in dale:\Graze on his lips, and if those hills be dry,\Stray lower, where the pleasant fountains lie.

‘Within this limit is relief enough,\Sweet bottom-grass and high delightful plain,\Round rising hillocks, brakes obscure and rough,\To shelter thee from tempest and from rain:\Then be his deer, since I am such a park;\No dog shall rouse thee, though a thousand bark.’

According to Partridge the definitions of the bold (pun intended) words are:

park - the female body regarded as a domain where a lover may freely roam
deer - figuratively used of man and woman in reference to sexual activities. Possibly influenced by the homophone, (one's) dear or darling.
mountain - pleasant eminences: breasts, buttocks, and thighs
dale - valley between breastsfountain - breasts
bottom-grass - the hair growing in and about the crutch [i.e., pubic hair]
plain - belly
hillock - buttocks
brakes - pubic hair

(Roger’s didn’t recall that Adonis was born of an incestuous relationship between Myrrha and Cinyras - her father. Shockingly, Myrrha, a young nubile girl (i.e, a nymphet), initiated the affair.)

That evening Roger sent some English translations from Pierre Louÿs’ Woman and Puppet via Tumblr to a French student, he read the introduction to Pniniad that a City College of New York coed borrowed from the campus library, and he helped said student with an oceanography lab report, before he got into a conversation with his brother who was visiting from France about Putin, French nationalists, and, in a bit of foreshadowing, about family betrayal.

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