“What are you doing, William?” asked Mommy as I tried to pick up a copy of Romeo and Juliet. I had heard a spate of criticism lately about this book by my namesake, William Shakespeare, from some of my colleagues in day care. They, too, complained that every time they tried to read some of his works, adults took the books away.
Adults – they make me so mad sometimes. They think we don’t understand them, that we are dumb because we are little, just because they can’t make out the words of our secret language. They don’t know about our drama club and book discussion group at the day care.
I reached again for the book by Shakespeare and mom slapped my hand, telling me I should not be holding books. I screamed out one of my favorite insults by Shakespeare, “These words are razors to my wounded heart.”
She did not understand. Alas, I could not yet speak the language of the adults. That came later, Frank said. Frank is three, a year older than me.
Instead, mom, as she calls herself although her real name is Joanne, bought me a book called Jack and Jill.
I was sick of the book but thought maybe I could interest myself with a deconstructionist analysis of the story and what the bucket and water they carry represents.
As we drove home, I worked on my essay analyzing the use of blood in Shakespeare’s plays. Mom thought I was just doodling on the new book and made me stop.
As Shakespeare said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
Adults, they are just so ignorant sometimes.
At home, Frank and I went into our room and pulled out a cake made out of play-doh.
I put a candle on top, one I’d swiped from a birthday party the week before for Grandma. She’s 87, and I correctly figured nobody would actually count all the candles.
Our cake was to mark the birth and death of Shakespeare. We took turns stating our favorite Shakespeare lines.
I said, “If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”
Frank said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”
Frank added, “And you, William, did a superior job with all your parts.”
We timed it perfectly with Frank finishing his line right as mom knocked on our door to see what we were up to.
“Happy birthday, William,” we said, and then blew out the candle.