Bob Franken




I don’t know how they did it, but the British PR people managed to find an 81-year-old guy named William Shakespeare to be the second person to receive the Covid vaccine. Not only that, but he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, as was the original Bard of Avon back in 1564. If Donald Trump had anywhere near the high quality of message people in this campaign, he would not been so “Brute-lized” in the American election by the Biden of Scranton-upon-Wilmington. He was born a few years later.
And the jolly old England punsters would not have been the only ones whose “wits begin to turn” at twists of the Bard’s language, where in the Colonies there is only talk of some of Trump’s attorneys being “dis-bard” or some way to “kill all the lawyers.”
As good an idea as many people think that is, it’s not necessary. It’ll be enough if they convince the “countrymen (and women) to lend me your arms to get the shots.”
They have provided every stiff-upper-lipped comedian with an opportunity to participate in the “Taming of the Flu,” as one put it shamelessly. Another tweeted, “Is this a needle I see before me?” — an obvious reference to “Vacbeth.” And yes, there are anti-vaxers in the U.K. who insist the campaign is “much ado about nothing.”
To keep up, the Americans have to seek out someone named — oh, I don’t know — Robert Frost to take the road “frequently traveled” to his CVS or Walgreens, although it might be “miles to go before I keep my appointment.”
Or perhaps they will have to find a guy from Baltimore named Edgar Allen Poe to find it in his tell-tale heart to accept our leader’s fiction that he has won the election as truth: “Quoth the media, ‘Nevermore.'” Come to think of it, maybe they can use any player on the NFL’s Ravens.
But it’s probably better to go back across the pond for William Shakespeare to characterize our situation here. Our own King Leer is going mad, or was he mad to begin with? He is desperately using everyone available to concoct a legal strategy. To wit: “Double, double toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble” (oh wait, that’s another Shakespeare epic).
No matter. It’s hard to imagine that Donald Trump ever read a line of Shakespeare’s works, although his daddy might have paid someone to get a good grade on some English Lit assignment.

He’s more a fan of Tweetsphere, where his own quotes will live through the centuries. Who can ever forget:
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came?”
Or when, early in his presidency, he tweeted: “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
Speaking of the electoral college, it did him in the second time around, inspiring hundreds of Twitter outbursts about Joe Biden taking the election.
“He only won in the eyes of the FAKE NEWS MEDIA. I concede NOTHING! We have a long way to go. This was a RIGGED ELECTION!”
Still, with the thousands upon thousands of tweets that defined his presidency, there is widespread agreement that the most astounding one of all was actually an incomplete sentence:
“Despite the negative press covfefe.” “Covfefe.” It still defies understanding. And the president wasn’t helping when a few hours later, after much head scratching, he tweeted:
“Who can figure out the true meaning of ‘covfefe’ ??? Enjoy!”
As extensive as Trump’s body of work may be, he doesn’t compare to the artistry of Shakespeare, who’s line “the winter of our discontent” would appropriately describe Trump’s time in office. At some point he might actually squirm if he realizes “the evil that men do lives after them.”

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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