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This is a most interesting paper,David. You have a rare sympathyfor both Osric and Arthur Carlson--intriguingly placed in the middleof your paper on W.H. Auden.Auden undoubtedly read Shakespeare(though that quote you employ on page 7,'Viley Shakey is drooping mambotastica,'should not be attributed to Auden,or any poor poet, for that matter).And maybe Auden had a take on Hamletthat stretched to its scene-stealing fop,but it is most likely he did not,as you suggest on page 12,'sympathize deeply with the quaint argotof Les Nessman.' W.H. Audensadly died in 1973,a full five glorious years beforeWKRP in Cincinnati aired.How would he have known Les from Jennifer?Johnny Fever from John Caravella?Besides the obvious anachronism(and I'm not sure you're not just being droll)there was a liveliness to your writing,even if it wasn't, as you say, 'academical.'in fact, many of the things you say strike meas original. One of the few timesyou actually came to class you saidTimon of Athens was an unreadable playabout 'a fucktard who has a hissy fitwhen he realizes he can't buy friendship.'Though preposterously obscene, I thoughtyours was the best reading I heard in class.So, again, I was roused reading your takesand I wasn't taking the mid-paper napthat is standard in my grading regimen.Maybe it's best not to impeach myselfreminding you the Spanish Civil War wasn'tfought over 'Iberian Stamp Taxing,'and Medieval Denmark was not notedfor 'its painful shoes made from cockles.'I won't harp on typos or grammatical slips,on your penchant for calling the Moderns'the prophets of ."that's a pretty big if ."'because you remind me of a young me.Just last month, I was high on Vicodin(I mean, I was calling the TV Mommy;I mean, I was hugging my shoes like children;I mean, the disembodied head of ALFwas floating in my kitchen saying, 'I love youas much as I love the fancy mustards.'),judging stories in a local contest--all these homey tales of curious catsand unhappy couples in their apartments .ÀæI wasn't grossed out by the bad writing,but, in my fog, appalled with myself,I thought, Who am I to judge anything?Was I any less naive when I set upmy shelves in my little office at BufordBusiness College? I was a lucky puck.My colleagues told me my hiring was a flukebut I smiled like a fleet banjo player.In their eyes I was just a bald barber,funny around a comb, loved about town.As good as any nine-fingered butcher,laughed at, a palpable Herb Tarlek,mixing plaid with plaid in a swell of jeans.Like Osric, I'm here to remind Hamletthe king's wagered 'six Barbary horses,'like Arthur Carlson, to stammer assurancethat the station-format change to 'all rock,'Mother, is completely out of my hands.So, David, I dream of the same thing you doand you know who I mean: she sits up frontand laughs when I bring up my theatre days:the humiliations of auditions,learning life lessons while in full dress.But I'd never ask her to Mexico;she'd assuredly miss her great home state--the one with all the granite quarries,the one where she pines for young men like youwho'll treat her poorly and be on their way.So, don't wake up the dean, little Arthur;I bet you Uncle Ben had to listento endless stories about cooking rice,probably sometimes wondered, 'How comenobody ever asks me about potatoes?'Is it any different out there for you?Isn't your favourite episode predictable?The one where live turkeys are droppedfrom a helicopter? I bet anything:my collection of ceramic ibises,my copy of Stevens' Harmoniumannotated by a young Jim Varney,my autographed picture of Susan Hawk.A gleeless cog, I can't give you an Awhen you say Auden, to 'pay for a wig,sold tremens-inducing diet pills to kids.'These comments may not lead to graduate school,but, David, you will always have a friend.

© McGimpsey David