I am having difficulty convincing my wife that now that I am the Bard of L.A., as officially designated by the Huntington Library, I am due certain privileges that non-Bards do not receive.
That does not include possessing the right to have someone beheaded or imprisoned in a tower, and I do not expect to be honored with a concubine, but I do feel that a Bard should not have to take out the garbage or feed the dog every night.
Those of you who keep abreast of small honors bestowed upon eager little people such as myself know that the Huntington has collected my life’s work and put it on display under the imposing title of “Al Martinez: Bard of Los Angeles.”
Because the Huntington knows a Bard when it sees one, I have accepted the title with all of its glorious manifestations. I do not wear tights and a ruffled collar, but I do shave more frequently, wear socks with my sneakers most of the time, limit my martini intake to one and do not lick up the spills like a dingo dog at a watering hole.
On the other hand, I see no reason why a Bard must continue doing menial chores—such as the aforementioned garbage chore or feeding the Bard Dog—around his Bardom,. I have suggested to the Bardette, which is to say my wife Cinelli, that it ill befits one who bears the Shakespearian title to be found engaging in tasks that demean it.
I doubt, for instance, that Will ever did anything but throw stuff into the street outside his home, which was a common practice in the 16th century. Dogs were forced to rummage through the garbage for their dinner .
“Are you suggesting,” the Bardette asked, “that we throw our garbage into the street in front of the house and let the dog eat whatever he can find that is edible?”
“Sort of,” I said in the deep baritone I had acquired since becoming a Bard.
“And,” she continued, “you would sit at a table with a quill and scroll writing sonnets while I, your wench, did the housework, cooked, dusted, swept and served you wine and a whole suckling pig for dinner, the remains of which would be thrown into the street for the Bard Dog to eat?”
“Well, since you put it that way,” I said, “the Bard could probably help out a little. Perhaps thee could just throw the dog food on thou floor and let the Bard Dog lick the floor clean at the same time.”
“Good idea,” she said, “and we can throw thou dinner on the floor in another part of the house which thou can lick clean as thou dines.”
I have since reassessed my position of dominance and will continue feeding the Bard dog in a spirit of reconciliation with the Bardette, meanwhile abandoning the deep baritone of command for the more docile squeak of a parakeet. But the rest of the time I can sit on my big Bard behind and rewrite Hamlet. Not a bad life for a Bard.