|Sir Laurence Olivier as Hamlet|
I am often accused of being a pessimist. I am not, really. I prefer to think of myself as a realist. Like my buddy Tommy Hobbes (we go way back, Tommy and I), I tend tend to believe that life is "nasty, brutish, and short". I also agree with his assessment that
"The condition of man is a condition of war of everyone against everyone; in which case everyone is governed by his own reason; and there is nothing he can make use of , that may not be a help unto him, in preserving his life against his enemies." Leviathan
I know. Kind of pessimistic. I also think that life is also quite full of beauty and wonder, and that sometimes people rise up to help each other in the most extraordinary ways, so he and I aren't soul mates or anything.
Now, one man I DO feel is my true twin (or at least the twin of my deepest, darkest, most pessimistic self) is my dear Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. When I am so low as to think there can be no bottom to the abyss, I turn to him and realize, well, yeah, it can get a lot worse. A LOT. And it makes me feel oh so much better.
We all have our gurus or saints, talismans and charms, mentors and gods. When I am truly bereft, I pray to THE GOD OF ABRAHAM ISAAC AND JACOB (That makes Him sound kind of official, doesn't it?). But there are other times I don't want to bother The Man Upstairs. And there are times I not only don't want to bother Him, but hope He is looking the other way, as well. In those circumstances, I turn to The Great Dane to extract me from life's dilemmas. I have also coined a mantra in his honor: What Would Hamlet Do (Or Not Do)? (A big thanks to Suze over at Analog Breakfast for the "Or Not Do" part. That was kind of genius.)
When I am faced with a bag of Oreos at 1 am, and the house is quiet and there is no threat of little ones mewling "MOM!! YOU SAID NO SWEETS UNLESS IT'S AFTER WE'VE EATEN REAL FOOD!!" (They totally don't get that the rules are different for grownups, duh) I think: What Would Hamlet Do (Or Not Do)? He would stuff his freaking Danish face, is what. Waiting up late nights for Daddy's ghost to show up takes ENERGY. And who wants to chew on a mutton chop that late? Indigestion!
Some other scenarios where WWHD (OND)? could come in handy:
1. Drivers that cut you off in the fast lane, only to step on the brakes immediately thereafter: This is easy. Hamlet would revenge. 'Cause that's he rolls! (Of course, he'd give a soliloquy first, and by that time, the driver may have changed lanes yet again...)
2. Should I go the movies this weekend? Again, so easy! Of COURSE! Hamlet shows there is nothing like a nice bit of entertainment. For extra points, if you want to break up with someone/propose/have them admit a terrible secret, take them to a film that has your preferred result in mind. Bingo! If it worked to out Claudius as a conniving incestuous murderer, well, it can work for you, too!
3. Should I show my true feelings? Well, here we are split. Sometimes, Hamlet's pretty good at playing his cards close to the vest ("But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue") and other times, he's kind of a rat bastard (erm, what's up, Ophelia?). The takeaway here is to regard the situation, and act appropriately.
I only hope when it comes time for flights of angels to sing me to my rest, I get enough time to say all that I have to say in a long-winded speech where I can spout stuff like "I die" and "I am dead" a thousand times, in case nobody gets the hint. Goblets of wine and swords that have been tainted with poison would be a bonus. Then I'll know I picked the best mentor I could have. (Well, if that happens, I guess Thomas Hobbes would have been right about the state of humanity after all. Awkward.)