A blog of general comment by one of L.A.'s best known commentator/essayists. Humor, drama, pathos, satire and, well, everything else.
I am having a little difficulty convincing my wife that now that I am the Bard of Los Angeles, as officially designated by the Huntington Library, I am due certain perks and privileges that non-Bards do not, and should not, receive.
That does not include possessing the right to have someone beheaded or imprisoned in a tower and I do not expect to be honored with a concubine of any sort or free drinks at Abuelitas but I do feel that a Bard should not have to take out the garbage or feed the dog every night.
Those of you who keep abreast of small events accorded to eager little people such as myself know that the Huntington has collected my life’s work and has it currently on display under the imposing title of “Al Martinez Bard of Los Angeles.”
Because the Huntington is an institution of prestige and knows a Bard when it sees one, I have accepted the title with all of its glorious manifestations. I do not wear tights and a ruffled collar, but I do shave more frequently, wear socks with my sneakers most of the time and limit my martini intake to one at a time and not lick them up like a dingo at a watering hole.
On the other hand, I see no reason why a Bard must continue doing menial chores around his Bardom, such as the aforementioned garbage chore or feeding the Bard Dog. I have suggested to the Bardette, which is to say my wife Cinelli, that it ill befits one who bears the Shakespearian title to be found engaging in tasks that demean it.
I doubt, for instance, that Will ever did anything but throw everything into the street outside his home, which was a common practice in the 16th century. Since there was no PETA back then, dogs were not offered special care and were forced to rummage for their food in the garbage that Shakespeare and the Missus tossed into the street.
“Are you suggesting,” the Bardette asked, “that we throw our garbage into the street in front of the house and let the dog eat whatever he can find in it that is edible?”
“Sort of,” I said in the deep baritone I had acquired since becoming a Bard.
“And you would sit at a table with a quill and scroll writing sonnets while I, your wench, did the housework, cooked, shopped, dusted, swept and polished and fed you wine and a whole suckling pig the remains of which would be thrown into the street for the Bard Dog to eat?”
“Well, since you put it that way,” I said, “the Bard could probably help out a little. Perhaps thee could just throw the dog food on the floor and let the Bard Dog consume it and lick the floor clean at the same time.”
“Good idea,” she said, “and we can throw your dinner on the floor in another part of the house which you can lick clean as you dine.”
You can guess how the rest of it went. The Bardette continued to bury me in truths and satire until my position weakened, my voice lost its deep, commanding baritone and I began squeaking like a parakeet.
I have since reassessed my position as the Bard of Los Angeles and will continue dutifully feeding the Bard dog in a spirit of reconciliation with the lovely Bardette. We have also agreed to share the garbage chores on an every-other-day basis.
The rest of the time I can sit on my big Bard ass and rewrite Hamlet. Not a bad life for a Bard.
Al Martinez is a Pulitzer Prize winning essayist, former columnist for the Los Angeles Times, author of a dozen books, an Emmy-nominated creator of prime time television shows, a travel writer, humorist and general hell-raiser. Try him. He's addictive.
Joanne Cinelli Martinez is composed of artist, poet, gourmet chef, interior decorator, photographer, volunteer, and all around intelligent person; also the life long partner and care taker of the simple but happy little man who runs the blog. She views him with suspicion and uncertainty. It is a cautionary love story.