All My Life I’ve Looked at Words as Though I Were Seeing Them for the First Time Or, Smart Girls Have More Fun

This is Max from Happy Endings (a show you should be watching).

maxbear

In the winter, Max basically hibernates to the point where he takes on the characteristics of the most frightening mammal in the animal kingdom – a bear.

Yesterday, my sister texted me to tell me that The West Wing is now on Netflix.

That being the case, I’m basically pulling a Max and spending the rest of this winter underneath the covers with the Bartlet Administration (my beard will probably be a little thicker, though…)

I love The West Wing for all sorts of reasons – the walk-and-talks, the fact that the show’s politics align pretty closely to mine, the staggering crush I have on Bradley Whitford/Josh Lyman (yes, I realize he’s 53 and that’s a little weird but watch this and tell me he’s not the coolest guy ever) as well as the rest of the cast who are pitch-perfect, but the primary reason I love this show with a fierce and intractable passion is because I love words and Aaron Sorkin writes some solid fucking oratory.

My own vernacular is wet garbage during a heatwave. Peppered with ‘ums’ and ‘uhhhhs’ and ‘dudes’ and ‘bros’ and just barely cogent asshattery that makes people wonder, “You grew up in England? Where they speak English?”

But Sorkin (and by extension, his characters) speak with the kind of bluster and bombast that no-one uses in real life.

When was the last time you heard someone quote Lincoln’s first inaugural address as trash talk during a basketball game or curse out his creator in Latin?

I’m guessing never because why would you bother with oratory when you can just hiss the word, ‘asshole’ and call it a day, right?

One of my 30 Before 30 Goals was to read Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies and histories (so far, I’ve purchased a cheap copy of the bard’s collected works and I’ve read Hamlet).

I chose this lofty goal because I call myself a writer (which is akin to someone who subsists on a diet of instant noodles referring to themselves as a chef) and I feel as a writer, I’m obligated to be familiar with his works. Actually, I feel as a human being, I’m obligated to be familiar with his major works. Another reason I decided to do this is because I felt reading Shakespeare would give me a better insight into the human condition because let’s face it, he kinda covered the entire spectrum of humanity in his work – jealousy, lust, love, passion, madness, anger, ambition, greed, life and death.

But mostly, I wanted to read all of Shakespeare’s works because I watched CJ Cregg effortlessly quote Julius Caesar and the eloquence of that moment floored me.

I want to be that erudite and well-spoken. I want to be that well-versed in literature and most of all, I wanna be smart because as Aaron Sorkin told his daughter when he won the Oscar for The Social Network – smart girls have more fun and honey, you’re one of them.

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