More missives from young Shakespeare

By Mir
April 29, 2008

Other than some good ol’ boy showing up on my doorstep yesterday to ask if “dat dere truck’s fer sale, I’s seen it jus’ settin’ dere a few times,” it was an extremely ordinary day. (I told my visitor that the truck was not, in fact, for sale. He seemed perplexed, and reiterated that he’s seen it “jus’ settin’ dere” for a while now, and I assured him that we use our little pick-up for special events like trips to Lowe’s and clearing the brush out of the backyard. Then I wondered why I was justifying our truck usage to a stranger, and bid him a good day and closed the door. Chickadee—who had witnessed the entire thing, including him pulling into the driveway in a blue truck—then asked me why that man wants to buy OUR truck when clearly he already HAS a truck.)

So in the absence of any major expenditures with junior geography scouts (it’s possible that Otto and I will now replace “Gorgonzola!” with “Jakarta is a city in Indonesia!” as our favorite interjection), I bring you, instead, more brilliance from my youngest.

You may recall that Monkey’s gifted class did a unit on Shakespeare, and truly I thought I’d seen everything marvelous there was to see, at the end of that unit. But Monkey has this DELIGHTFUL habit of not bringing any work home for months on end, and then depositing a large stack of papers on the corner of my desk one day with a deep thought like, “Um, my desk was too full,” or “The teacher told me to bring this stuff home.” And I’ll confess that when my desk is a mess I often don’t even notice the stack amidst all of the OTHER crap I’ve got stacked up here.

But this weekend, I conquered the desk monster! I cleaned! I sorted! I threw away an entire garbage bag full of who knows what! And I came across another folder of Shakespeare work done by my darling son.

This time, the class was injected directly into A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And we all know that letter-writing is a creative way to learn and expand your skills, not to mention to amuse your mother.

Dear Helena,

My dearest love why don’t you love me you are my heart so if you leave me so will my heart. I would jump off a cliff, through a ring of fire, into a tornado, above shark and aligator infested waters for you. Let me have your heart please. I love you not Hermia. this is no joke. I’m tempted. I’ll chase you till you come to a dead end!

Double love,

(I’m left wondering two things: One, should I be creeped out that Monkey drew hearts all over this page? And two, he’s tempted to WHAT? It’s like a weird little cliffhanger.)

Dear lysander,

I take your challenge we’ll meet at noon. Get Helena to watch your doom. I’ll take you down stabbing you in the heart. I’ll break your heart in half with glee I’ll injoy my victory. Helena will choose me you see. You might as well just flee the game. Maybe you shouldn’t have a name. I’ll give you a new name it’s loserpants.


(Yes, I vaguely remember the part of the play where Lysander starts going by “Loserpants.”)

Dear Helena,

You theif why’d you take lysander? You think your so tall and tough well I know what’s tough you treehead! Here’s some more names! blabbermouth! X-friend! maypole! parasite! cankerblossom! theif! blablablablablablablablablablablahead! trickster! ms. tallytall! You took my lysander! You have 5 seconds to give lysander back. Give him back!!

Your X-friend,

(You have 5 minutes to give back my darling Loserpants, or I’m going to hold my breath until I turn blue.)

There are many things about this school which I do not love, but then so many things which I do. Because, man, that’s some quality literature in the making, right there.


  1. diane

    I especially love the rhyming in the second one – it seems oddly random, yet in a planned way. Monkey has obviously inherited your facility with words. Though I’m unclear on how “mapypole” is an insult?

  2. Flea

    Personally, I love cankerblossom and blablablablablablablablablablablahead. Rude names we just don’t see enough of anymore. Why, I remember, when I was just a wee thing, being called cankerblossom. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.

  3. pam

    I just know were Shakespeare a tad smarter he’d have come with loserhead.

  4. Sheila

    I totally think “Cankerblossom!” should be your new interjection of choice.

  5. Jenny

    “Cankerblossom” rather takes my breath away with its brilliance.

  6. Mir

    People, I hope you realize that “cankerblossom” and “maypole” are straight from the play. Monkey gets to claim credit for “loserhead,” though.

  7. Aimee

    Cankerblossom! That sounds like a real Shakespearean insult. Wait — is it a real Shakespearean insult?

  8. Andrea

    Hi Mir – first time poster, long time reader. Monkey’s letters made me laugh out loud – and being here at work – in a cubicle – laughing at my computer really loud is sometimes thought of as weird…but I love it. Mir, I look forward to your posts every day. You kids are so lucky to have you journaling their lives not just the milestones but this great stuff.

  9. RuthWells

    When I played Hermia, my Lysander WAS a Loserpants. Where was Monkey when I needed him!?

  10. Poppy Buxom

    Hi Mir–Hey, Monkey did well!

    We “did” Midsummer when I was in sixth grade, and to this day, I remember that one of the girls (was it Hermia?) was short, and the other (was it Helena?) was tall. And I dimly remember someone (Helena?) calling the other:

    Thou minimus of hindering knotgrass made! Thou thief! Thou acorn!

    Let me tell you, this kind of thing comes in handy when some pushy little short gal shoves in front of me in line somewhere. And cankerblossom! What a thing to yell at someone who cuts you off in traffic.

    It sounds to me as if Monkey will, like me, be blithely mangling Shakespeare quotations well into middle age.
    Wonderful, wonderful, and again, most wonderful.

  11. jennielynn

    I personally love the renaming of Lysander. Loserpants, indeed. Will would have approved, methinks.

  12. elswhere

    This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard!

  13. Flea

    Mir, I kinda figured they were, especially since it was the English teacher who nicknamed me cankerblossom. Good times.

  14. becky

    I love “loserpants.” That may just be my new insult-of-choice.

  15. Law Student Hot Mama

    Blablablablablablablabla head is the best insult I’ve heard in a while.

  16. Mama Bear

    Personally I’m still floored that Monkey’s doing Shakespeare! Wow, how impressive is that?
    Miss 14 is in an advanced English class that has also done Shakespeare this year. I was impressed when she was able to comprehend it. But Monkey? Just, Wow!

  17. Heidi

    Well, if Monkey is hip on “cankerblossom” being all Shakespearish, he’s clearly more cultered than I am.

  18. Vane

    LOL … hmmm … I’ve learned some interesting english insults today (and now I know why I have never ventured reading Shakespeare’s plays in english …)

  19. Sara

    Monkey’s rhyming couplets and out-of-nowhere “loserpants” insult have made my day.

  20. Sara

    Oh, and I really like the closing “Double love”. It’s to the point without being overly mushy.

  21. Brigitte

    Ah, your son is truly poetic.

    Uh, you don’t use something on your property for a few days and people assume it’s for sale? Now I’d be fearful of odd people eyeing ALL of my outdoor property!

  22. Lori

    I love it when kids do Shakespeare! Nothing freaks people out more than when a young kid starts quoting Shakespearian insults at them, or rattles off long passages of text. Kidling #1 Has had quite a large exposure to the Bard – she got to be the changeling child in a high school production of Midsummer when she was 6 (no lines, thank goodness) and has participated in numerous “camps” through the local Shakespeare theater company in the past 2 years. She has “done” Midsummer, Romeo & Juliet, and the latest – Hamlet. They hit all the major plot points in under 30 minutes – my kind of Hamlet! Kidling #2 went with me to the Hamlet presentation and left quoting the grave-digger. He’s 4. LOL Good times.

  23. arduous

    That’s hilarious. But it’s clear from the letters that Monkey completely understands the plot of Midsummer’s Night’s Dream which is more than you can say for many high schoolers. :)

  24. Deb

    blablablablablablablablablablablahead had me cracking up!! What a great thing to yell at someone. I will have to remember that. And yes, he seems to have a better grasp of the story then most adults. Hope he enjoyed it!

  25. Megan

    When a certain someone comes into my office today and asks for the undoable in a time frame that is unworkable I will quietly murmur “Loserpants” under my breath and, for just one moment, be happy.

  26. Liza

    I think I say this every time you blog about Monkey, but I am a little more in love with him with every new story.

  27. Tammy


  28. Jace

    Ever notice how society focuses on the negative? All this attention to the insults and not one breath of applause for Monkey’s Mother!!


    And, with the energy of a good, dedicated teacher, it’s amazing what children can understand when given the opportunity. They are EXPECTED to slack; they are CAPABLE of excelling.

    And yes, I, too, will be adding ‘Loserpants’ to my vocabulary and may well ‘borrow’ the concept of such a wonderful cliffhanger as “I’m tempted.”

  29. Chuck

    There’s just something about pickups that makes them easy to sell or desirable. Even older pickups. I had people offer to buy mine, unsolicited, a couple of times, and when I finally needed to sell it, I did it within two days. I think pickups are especially popular in the South.

  30. Leandra

    Hey, my husband’s friend just traded his old truck for some tile work at his house. If the new floors get to be too expensive, maybe you could trade.

  31. Shalet

    This is awesome! Note to self: sort through the kid’s papers for perils of wisdom and spectacular insults. Now I’m off to wipe the smoothie from the computer screen. :o)

  32. Astrogirl

    Ahh, how inspiring that there is a school that is exposing the liddies to Shakespeare. Maybe this means that when they get older, they won’t be pathologically fearful of literature, like most kids these days seem to be.

    And yes, 4-year olds do seem to connect with the ghastlier parts of Shakespeare (I think it’s all the melodrama); my own Bunker Monkey likes it when we shout out lines from Shakespeare, and especially seems to enjoy the gorier/more horrible scenes (“Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” with appropriate hand-wringing and swanning ’round the bunker, is most popular of late). Kids just seem to love ol’ Will.

  33. Astrogirl

    Um, yeh, that should be “kiddies”. Sheesh. So much for my literariness.

  34. Daisy

    Can’t wait to hear what Monkey’s iampic pentameter does with Titania’s new love. (Snicker) Loser-head?

  35. mike golch

    I don’t think I can come up with some snappy comments as every one else has.

  36. Veronica

    Cankerblossom? Heheheehe.

  37. Shannon

    First off let me tell you that people regularly used to come to my in-laws house and ask if their vehicles were for sale. We jokingly refer to their driveway as the used car lot. But they did sell an old truck.

    Secondly, I LOLed at Monkey’s letters. That is true genius.
    I want my husband to write this in a love letter to me:
    “I would jump off a cliff, through a ring of fire, into a tornado, above shark and aligator infested waters for you.

  38. LiteralDan

    I think if you had that kid rewrite the bulk of Shakespeare’s works, we just might see an enormous resurgence in his popularity among the younger set.

  39. Zee

    This totally cracked me up… thanks for making me smile at the end of my day. :)

    “Ms. Tallytall.” [giggle]

  40. Jen


    “Loserpants!” “Ms. Tallytall!” “Cankerblossom!”

    THOSE are justifiable interjections to coincide with “Gorgonzola!” & “Jakarta is a city in Indonesia!”

    LOVE it!

  41. Genevieve

    First, I bow to your fabulosity in clearing of the Desk of Doom. And I will try to be inspired by it, as I have one of those myself (more than one, really).

    Second, my love for Monkey’s Shakespearean letters hath no bounds. He totally understands the plot, and he’s interspersed the genuine Shakespearean insults with brilliant inventions of his own. So (a) I have to show these to my son, who has seen Midsummer with me (and read a comic version), and (2) I have to email this to my friend who played Helena when I played Hermia. It is Teh Brilliant. I should’ve called her Ms. Tallytall!

    Monkey might really enjoy Marcia Williams’ picture book cartoony versions of Shakespeare for kids – it shows the actors on stage, saying the most memorable lines, and the audience making goofy comments.

  42. Ladanea

    Best real LOL all day long. Thank you, Monkey! (And I am grabbing a copy of the Marcia Williams book tomorrow. Perfect for our own Shakespeare studies!)

  43. MaryP

    Oh, I have tears running down my face. “Loserpants.”

    But you know? There’s a Shakesperean troupe here in Ottawa called “A Company of Fools”, and if Monkey is looking for a way to earn a little money, I think they’d take him. He’d TOTALLY fit right in.

  44. Linda Sherwood

    About the guy wanting to buy the truck….

    My mom gets crazies like that all the time. One guy wanted to buy her trailer (parked behind the house) and just yesterday she was telling me she received a phone call from a guy saying it was urgent she call him back. When she did, he wanted to buy her van, and he offered her a whopping $200. He said it would be in CASH.

    So not only are people knocking on her door trying to buy things that aren’t for sale, they are insulting when they make an offer too. Who does this?

  45. gwendomama

    HAHAHAHAHAHA can’t stop laughing at cankerblossom!!!

  46. Renee


    We need a modern reworking of Shakespeare just so we can include “loserpants”.

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