The Stages of a Human Life: 408 Years Ago vs. Today
But every aging classic needs to be occasionally updated for the sake of remaining relevant, and dammit, what's the modern equivalent to Shakespeare if not me, Cracked.com's Michael Swaim? Verily, I doth be. So lets see how we stack up:
The Lines:Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchelAnd shining morning face, creeping like snailUnwillingly to school. The Analysis:Again, youre right on for the first line or so; kids whine as much as they ever did. In fact, whining seems to be on the rise (or parenting on the wane), as nearly a quarter of todays U.S. children have seen a health care provider because of behavior problems. The overwhelming majority of diagnoses? ADD and Hyperactivity. So creeping probably isnt the best descriptor anymore. Lets replace it with jabbering. On the plus side, cars are way more affordable now than in your time. Also, they exist. And with fleets of buses ready to serve, the only kids who still walk to school are the ones who live across the street. Maybe its that lack of walking thats led to the current upswing in childhood obesity. Hopefully the trend will correct itself as all buses fill up with fat kids and the rest are forced to march alongside. But until then,
The Lines:And then the justiceIn fair round belly, with good capon lin'd,With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,Full of wise saws, and modern instances,And so he plays his part.The Analysis:Again with the beards. So, after they finished their tour in the army, they all became judges? Elizabethan England must have been in dire need of blacksmiths. First off, in our time, tours of duty dont necessarily end. Secondly, when you get out, your career path is far from assured. Of the top twenty lines of work sought by veterans, seven are in the realm of corrections officer aka cop, guard, jailer et al, and most of the rest involve repairing or maintaining the same type of computer equipment they repaired or maintained while in the military. They also face a 15 percent unemployment rate, according to the
The Lines:Last scene of all,That ends this strange eventful history,Is second childishness and mere oblivion,Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.The Analysis:Youd think death would stay pretty static over the years. But youd be wrong, Mr. Shakespeare, and a damnable imbecile on top of it. It's almost like, realizing that the rest of your poem was rose-colored hogwash, you overcorrected by ending on a goths description of the afterlife. Hint: depressing doesnt equal art, which is a lesson you could have applied to that sob-fest
When not writing for Cracked, Michael is apostrophizing dead literary figures as head writer and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!