What is, my lord?

At a dinner, I mentioned that I work as a Shakespeare Consultant. A man, much older than I, got excited at this mention because he teaches Shakespeare. It was clear, very quickly, from his questions and responses that he expected me to not be up to much. Once he heard my actual credentials, he became less interested in hearing about my experience and more interested in proclaiming his own credentials.

He picked up the thread only to let it go, it seemed to me, because he preferred to explain things and he understood that he might be out of his depth explaining things to me. Which was a good move. And he left the women at the table to pick up the thread he’d pulled on and investigate it further. And in a funny turn of events, I found myself explaining a few things to my dinner companions, despite my general antipathy toward explaining and teaching in a social setting.
This was mostly due to some other explaining that was being attempted by one of the other guests. And the explanations were so ridiculous that I just had to pull out a few knowledge cards just to refute them.

And that’s when I realize – oh, right. I know a lot of things. And while I don’t often have occasion to pull those things out, I actually have a pretty full deck of facts and experience.

Maybe no one expected a tutorial on the printing of quartos, using sugar packets as a visual aid, at dinner but that’s what they got. What that has to do with “what is,” I’m not entirely sure. But what is, my lord, is what is, what went through my mind as I thought about what is.

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