Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Deep in the Droghte of Marche...

... which, in Houston, apparently consists of 75-degree days that make me want to play hooky and go run through a sprinkler somewhere while "Zephirus eek[s] with his swete breeth / Inspire[s] hath in every holt and heeth / The tendre croppes".  But I digress.

I woke up this morning feeling completely nostalgic for my days studying literature.  Something about copy-editing a 50-page engineering mechanical integrity document makes me look back fondly on the days when I read Shakespeare and Chaucer and genuinely believed that the knowledge I was gaining would be useful some day.

Not that reading Chaucer was all that enjoyable--it generally made me want to tear my hair out, and I was told by one professor that my Middle English accent was lacking in authenticity (which made me want to ask her for a recording of Edward III to support her argument, but I held off for obvious reasons).  And the Chaucer was actually easier than some other Medieval texts (cough--Pearl manuscript--cough) which had additional letters that made additional noises that made me additionally crazy.

No, it wasn't always easy or enjoyable, but it was so satisfying to know that I was one of a pretty limited number of people in the country who could laugh at the jokes in the Wife of Bath's tale. Unfortunately, these days I think I'd be lucky to even get past the first 18-line sentence of the Prologue, let alone read with any kind of comprehension.  Four years after graduating with a Bacherlor's in literature, I'm much more likely to use the skills I got from Ms. Stave's 8th grade grammar class than I am anything I, my parents, and the state of California paid tens of thousands of dollars for me to learn.

Oh, well.  At least I can giggle at the introduction of Chaucer in A Knight's Tale at 15:00.  "Chaucer. Geoffrey Chaucer, a writer? [...] You probably read my book, The Book of the Duchess? ... Fine, well, it was allegorical."

As the kids say these days, "lol."

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