Ay, To The Proof

A Geezer’s Notebook, By Jim Foster

You may be surprised to learn that the Edward de Vere Society claims it was their Eddy, not William Shakespeare, who wrote all those Elizabethan plays and sonnets. Their theory was first proposed by one J. Thomas Looney in 1920. (Whether Looney was his name or his diagnosis is unclear.

Every few years, some clown writes a book explaining why Bill couldn’t possibly have written his plays – his quill was at the cleaners, his psychiatrist wouldn’t let him fool around with anything with a point on it, or worse, that Bill never existed at all. This time they say it couldn’t have been the Bard who did all that writing because Shakespeare didn’t go to the right school. No one graduating from the Stratford on Avon Collegiate and Vocational School in 1579 would be capable of reading the sign on the men’s room door, let alone writing a book. (I’ve heard the same about Barrie Collegiate but I would rather not get into that at the moment.)

This might be pretty convincing evidence to some literary scholars but certainly not to all of us. They claim Edward de Vere was an aristocrat, the 17th Earl of Something or Other. Ed would have known all the political bigwigs of the day. As an apprenticed bumpkin, Shakespeare couldn’t possibly have been aware of the plots and secrets going on at Court. And let’s face it, if I was going to blab a secret, the first person I would tell would be a 17th Earl.

Fortunately for the staff of the Stratford Shakespearian Festival, I stumbled across irrifoota, erafuteble, pretty good proof that William did write all his plays. Last week, I happened to stop by a garage sale and there in a cardboard box along with a plaster bust of Elvis and some Melmac dishes was Bill’s report card from 1569.

Progress Report for W. Shakespeare

Teacher O. Cromwell Sr.

Ciphering – Will seems to have a good grasp on the principles of higher mathematics and although he is only 15 can count up to 20 most days – 21 without his pants on.

Spelling – Will is a gude speler – neerly as gude as me is.

Penpersonship – Will could use a little more practise with the goose quill. Sometimes it appears that he may be dictating his lessons while the actual writing is being done by the goose.

History – Will appears to have an obsession with historical personalities – particularly Cleopatra. I have had to scold him on many occasions for drawing pictures of her on the margin of his slate. He also seems to have an unhealthy interest in her asp.

Social Development – Will has taken quite a shine to the young Capulet girl who sits across the aisle from him. She is quite smitten by the Montague boy and totally ignores your Bill. He made several rude suggestions in a note he passed to her during class. Fortunately she couldn’t understand any of it, which doesn’t surprise me since she speaks only Italian. After he whispered something he read on the side of a Primo Tomato Sauce can, her brother Vito took him outside and beat him senseless with a loaf of crusty bread.

Teacher’s Comments – Although Will is only 15, I recommend he be moved on to Grade Two. If for no other reason than he is the oldest boy in the class and has become a bad influence on the younger children. Twice I had to cane him for using rude language in front of the female students. It is bad enough that every second word that comes out of his mouth is “gazooks” but when he started that “Hey nonny nonny” crap I had to suspend him.

His writing style is much improved although as I mentioned previously, his hand-writing is abysmal. If it doesn’t improve in the next semester, we may have to insist he switch to pre-med.

* I am afraid your son, Bill, has reached puberty and is starting to act like a typical teenager. I heard him tell the Marlowe boy that he has been having mid-summer night dreams and all of them starred the Lear sisters. It’s just a suggestion of course, but our boy, Oliver Jr., is going through the same phase and every night we make him sleep with the door open and wear oven mitts.

P.S. I hate to mention it again, but Will still hasn’t brought in the money from last fall’s chocolate bar campaign.

It seems obvious to me that William Shakespeare is the author of all his plays and sonnets. With evidence like this how could anyone doubt it?

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