Saturday, August 12, 2006

So What Was the Deal with Mr. Tuttle?

Okay, okay, so I got everyone wondering about the bear in the story about Mr. Tuttle. What? Is it unusual to have a circus bear in the back seat of your car all of a sudden? I don’t know, maybe it’s a generational thing. Back in my day, lots of people had bears in their back seats. We even had expressions for it. Like when we paid for something at the local five and dime, we used to say as we counted out the money, “Here’s your three dollars and there’s twenty-eight cents for the bear in the back seat.” Honestly! Your parents never told you about that?

All right, I can see this isn’t going to work with you guys. Tough crowd. So I guess I’ll just have to explain my thinking.

You see, just recently I saw the Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew. To make sure we’re all on the same page here, let me point out that a “shrew” in Shakespeare’s sense is a caustic, scolding woman, someone very difficult to get along with — so get those images of a stout fellow in lion tamer garb subduing a tiny field mouse with whip and chair out of your head . . . it’s not the same thing at all. And, thankfully, there were only “shrews” in Shakespeare’s day — nowadays all woman are consistently congenial and the pleasantest creatures on earth. But for the purposes of explanation, we must imagine that there could have existed at one time a woman who was hard to please.

Anyway, this fellow named Petruchio sets out to marry the shrew Katherina for her money; but, not being satisfied with merely that, he also determines to break her of her “froward” ways and mold her into the kind of wife he wants. His program calls for him to do many lunatic, nonsensical things to completely throw Katherina off her game, and one of the actions he takes is to dress up in a ridiculous costume for their wedding. The whole wedding party can’t believe why he shows up so attired, but, despite their protests, he goes through the wedding in that costume without once explaining how he came to be dressed so, passing the entire thing off as a long and tedious tale.

Well, from that I got the idea of writing a story about a staid, quiet couple whose uneventful lives get a jolt when the husband goes completely out of character and appears in the middle of the night drunk and wearing outlandish clothes. To crown it all, I had him arrive home with a bear in the back seat of his car, leaving to his wife’s (and the readers’) imagination how this humdrum man came to be in this condition. The wife, who loves him, eventually reasons that to demand an explanation of her husband’s outrageous actions might threaten the very underpinnings of their marriage — in other words, if he confesses to one thing, then she would of course have to react in a certain way, and so on and so forth until any hope of recovering the placid life they once enjoyed becomes destroyed. She knows he’s a good man and thinks it wise to forgive him his one indiscretion, this blip on the screen as it were, and keep herself in the dark. I little counted on readers getting hung up about the bear, but now I can see that that was indeed a provocative element in the story.

So what can I say? I am blessed to have intelligent, critical readers who have the patience to read my whimsical little tales and give me the feedback I so desperately need. So thank you one and all . . . I mean it, you guys — you’re the best.

And, by the way, I had a wonderful vacation this past week and will file my report soon.

12 Comments:

Blogger Scott said...

Well I for one really missed having you around for like two weeks. I'm suffering from withdrawal. Great explanation of the story. It makes total sense, and truth be told, it could be reasoned out from what was in the story alone. Your explanation was pure poetry. Welcome back.

7:08 PM  
Blogger SzélsőFa said...

Welcome back.
I might be a bit dumb, but I needed this explanation. I now understand.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

The last comment cracked me up. I love Shakespeare. I had thought when I read it that if she complained or pried, the marriage might be over. I got that totally, but wanted to know Tuttle's exploits.

Hey, I am an impatient woman. I wouldn't read you if I didn't see your talent and didn't enjoy it at the same time. I hope you saw my last comment!

Welcome back! Big welcome back hug to you!

6:35 AM  
Blogger Flood said...

Welcome back!

10:56 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"It makes total sense, and truth be told, it could be reasoned out from what was in the story alone."

I hope so, but now I'm thinking I might tinker with it a bit if I get the chance.

"I might be a bit dumb, but I needed this explanation. I now understand."

Szelso, one thing you are not is dumb, I can tell that from your posts. Thank you very much for being a reader.

"I hope you saw my last comment!"

Yes, I saw that, Beth, and felt very flattered. One thing I don't think gets mentioned enough is your fine ability to write. Your blog is a sheer pleasure to read.


"Welcome back!"

Thank you, Flood. Thank you very much.

1:14 PM  
Blogger LL said...

Another fantastic tale, Mr. S.

I for one needed no explanation. But then again, I'm easy that way...

8:29 PM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

Many thanks, your lordship!

5:58 AM  
Blogger Flash said...

Only you could sit through a wonderful Play and come up with a wonderful story.

And that's my compliment for you and the bear in the back seat.

6:50 AM  
Blogger magnetbabe said...

I didn't really require an explanation about how the bear got there. I do, however, need reassurance that the bear will be alright.

Good story!

8:52 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

Welcome back. You were missed, Schprockie.

I didn't need the explanation, but simply WANTED it.

I always liked Moonlighting's take on The Taming of the Shrew.

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Dreadmouse said...

Drifting off topic, I once saw a production of "Taming of the Shrew" done by an all-female cast, except for Petruchio. By using tone and facial expression alone the cast turned a very misogynistic play into a plea for equality and an end to sexism that was deeply moving. It blew me away.

The production showed me how much a talented director and capable actors can take any writing and make it say whatever they will. I don't think they changed a word in the play, yet they changed everything.

11:03 AM  
Blogger mr. schprock said...

"And that's my compliment for you and the bear in the back seat."

The bear and I appreciate that, Flash.


"I do, however, need reassurance that the bear will be alright."

That bear is a union bear. It gets paid top wages and enjoys full benefits. Don't worry about the bear.

"I always liked Moonlighting's take on The Taming of the Shrew."

I haven't seen it, but no doubt a classically trained actor like Bruce Willis did the Bard proud.


"The production showed me how much a talented director and capable actors can take any writing and make it say whatever they will. I don't think they changed a word in the play, yet they changed everything."

Actually, Katherina makes a long speech at the very end of the play instructing women how to act toward their husbands. If the actress were to say that speech in a sarcastic manner, the meaning could be completely changed. Excellent point, DM.

12:59 PM  

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