But soft! What light through yonder window falls on my cuff-links?
At 9.15 this morning I was backing out of my driveway heading to work. At the same time I was struggling one handed to put on my new silver cuff links.
Stupidly I continued to struggle with the cuff links as I drove.
As I pulled out of my street into the streams of mid morning traffic, I had no choice but to change gears with my left knee - for my left hand clutched the steering wheel, while my right arm crossed over and under my left elbow, the forearm twisted inside out so I could see my right hand, cuff link clutched between thumb and forefinger, trying to line up all four holes in the left cuff and pierce them with the ridiculously blunt end of said cuff link.
By the first set of traffic lights, grim faced, I'd pierced only one hole, and was struggling with all the dexterity of a drunken entomologist making a bad attempt to artificially inseminate an angry male bee.
Fortunately at the second set of traffic lights things had changed.
Not only had I managed to get the cuff link stub through another two holes, but even better, I'd managed not to run up the behind of the grey haired lady driving the yellow 1978 Ford Cortina in front of me: a lady who kept jamming on her brakes every time a small bump in the road threatened to rip off her exhaust pipe. (Well I should really avoid the phrase "run up the behind of the grey haired lady" and say, instead "not to run up the behind of the Cortina"- but that's just semantics after all, and you never know, she may have enjoyed it....)
To cut a long story short, by the fourth set of traffic lights I'd managed to finish the job on my left cuff only by pulling over to the side of the road and turning the engine off.
You see, by then I'd had an epiphany - and realised that who so ever invented cuff links must have had either a butler or manservant - or had a job that required no regular and punctual attendance.
But why am I telling you this?
Because! Because, believe it or not, it's a blessing for you that I chose this shirt this morning. But I'll get to that in in a minute.
In the meantime, if you are wondering that I am some kind of cuff link fashionista - well I am not in the least. Incredibly, unlike most modern shirts, the shirt I am wearing today has no fail safe buttons at the cuffs.
In other words I had no choice but to wear the links.
To be utterly truthful, I didn't mind all that much. Over the last few years I have noticed that, whenever I wear cuff links, I am always treated with respect in the shops that matter.
For example, often, if I wear silver cuff links, I am served first in crowded sandwich shops - before all those hapless non cuff link wearing office workers.
Or as an even more important example, let me take (not in the biblical sense) the young girl who works in the newsagent in the next block. Particularly fecund (as DH Lawrence would put it) in that she has several children to several men, on a daily basis, as I stand at the counter, this girl keeps her back turned to me, vigorously chews her pink bubble gum and adjusts the band of her thong underpants (through her dress), until I tap my gold coin on the glass counter to get her attention. (PS to self: must fix this paragraph - she does not have children on a daily basis to several men!)
But when I wear cuff links... quelle difference! This girl actually grunts in greeting as I enter her shop (okay I admit it could be a case of 'wind', or as the French call it, perhaps she is "playing a poor man's piano" at fortissimo.)
Ahh, the glamour of cuff links.
The cuff links, like the shirt, were a blessing today - I knew I needed some story to fill up the black spaces between these images (they are of a dwarf called Eric who is threatening to leave his Caranavista Shakespearean Troupe in a hissy fit..... and they in their turn are entreating him to stay). And before the cuff link episode I had two themes in mind - fortunately neither of them had anything to do with cuff links.
The first theme was to tell you how I think the death penalty should be enforced for people who go to the cinema and eat popcorn while watching the movie - or, in fact, eat any other crunch food that should be classified as an instrument belonging to the percussion section of a large orchestra.
It's a pet hate of mine to be watching (eg) "Mr Pooper and his Penguins", and to be suddenly aurally assailed (from behind usually), in the midst of the movie's most salubrious romantic scene, by the noise of someone's wide open mouth crunching popcorn.
So that was going to be theme numero uno:
But in retrospect, I realised making fun of cinematic popcorn chewers would be unkind - as I understand that many people the world are unable to go for over eighty minutes at a time without food (poor things). Of course it's well known that there is some delightfully esoteric and abdominally erotic subliminal urge evoked by sitting in a dark room full of strangers trying to watch a movie - and we need to feel sorry for those underprivileged cinema goers who give into their cravings.
My second choice of theme was to tell you about Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "In Memoriam".
As you know, it's that big cantankerous poem full of Darwinian interludes and suggestions of homophilia that Queen Victoria adopted as her own after the death of her consort, Prince Albert.
It has such wonderous lines as:
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Of course, in retrospect, I realised that the relationship between cuff links, pop corn and a famous Tennyson poems is so obvious that it needs no elaboration.
So.... rather than belabour such an obvious point, I will leave you instead, with another Shakespearean quote, this one from Romeo and Juliet, in an attempt to create 'resonance'.
Footnote: you will be interested to know that the word 'stay' appears 42 times in this play, in various guises and, is, coincidentally, the Illustration Friday word of the week.
Quelle surprise! :)
Thank you for reading and thankyou for looking. I think this will be my 200th post ..... :)
Oh dear, I almost forgot the 'resonance'!
But soft! What light through yonder window breaks?