Will Shakespeare’s dad, John Shakespeare, had quite a career. Beginning as an illiterate farmhand, he became skilled at the foul-smelling craft of tanning hides as well as a successful glover, then moved through the Board of Aldermen to ultimately become the mayor of the town of Stratford.
Question: who’s this “John” person they’re talking about?
“Come in, sit down. This shouldn’t take too long.”
“I appreciate the chance to talk with you about this, sir.”
“Sorry I don’t have good news. True, there is an opening on the Board of Aldermen, but your friend just isn’t qualified.”
“I don't want to distract you but I hoped I could tell you his remarkable life story…”
“Wait a minute. You’re going to tell me a life story? My stomach is wiggling about and grumbling; it’s time for my lunch.”
“This will take just a few moments. In one of your speeches you mentioned that Aldermen of our borough should represent everyone, not just the upper classes.”
“But that didn’t mean we should scrape the bottom of the barrel. Your man – what’s his name again?
“Right. Well, I don't mean to sound venomous but your man, from the information I’ve been given, is an illiterate farm worker.”
“Was, sir, was. That’s why his story is so inspiring. Because of his incredible ambition and natural abilities, he has opened a number of successful businesses. Someone like this is just what the Board of Aldermen needs.”
“You say businesses, but he has no place of business; he works out of his home. We sent someone there to check. He reported back that the incredible stink drove him out of the place.”
“Well, it is true that type of work, whitening leather, does create rather strong, er, redolence, but when John makes his specialty, beautiful white leather gloves, it all seems worthwhile. As you know, the gentry love white leather gloves and will pay a lot for them, so it’s a successful craft.”
“Are you aware that the substance used in the whitening of leather is – urine?”
“Yes, I know. So in his house I’m afraid there’s always a certain…”
“Well, I’d call it a certain pungency. But all that will of course be gone when he joins the Board of Aldermen. A true rags to riches story; he will become a civic leader; his son. by the way, has a great future as a writer. John will be an inspiration to so many in our town. His belief in our eternal values will always stay with him.”
“Wonder if that redolence will stay with him too?”
(The answer will be posted Saturday)