October 27, 2009

Shakespeare or The Bible

I like to call people liars and tell them that they sit upon a throne of lies. I say this a lot. I have been known to say it to my scale, for example, when I am displeased by the lying lie of an untrue LIE number it says to me. I have been known to say it to librarians at pot-luck literary luncheons when they ASSURE me that their rum-pecan-cake has NO calories. Sadly, I seem to secretly BELIEVE the librarians, and it has been suggested by Richard Simmons (albeit indirectly) that believing the NO CALORIE cake lie may have some mysterious and unquantifiable and yet DIRECT connection to the later lies of that lying LIAR of a scale-jerk whom I suffer to live in my bathroom.

But back to liars who sit upon thrones of lies...these are words I say to my children when they make round eyes at me and say that their rooms are “clean enough.” I say them to my mother when she tells me these same children have not had “too much candy” on days when I find them SO clearly jacked up on sugar that they are running straight up the walls and across the ceiling, cackling. I say them to my friends and to my husband and to strangers in the Target. I say these words a LOT, and they seem to ring familiar in a lot of ears.

“What is that line from?” people ask when I call them liars on their thrones of lies.
My answer has always been to shrug and say, “It is either Shakespeare or the Bible.”
Because it always is, isn’t it? Even little everyday phrases so banal they hardly seem to warrant the impressive title of LITERARY REFERENCE are actually hijacked right from Shakespeare. Or the Bible.

Ever said, “a drop in the bucket?” You were quoting the Bible.

Ever had a teenage boy? Then NO DOUBT you have been eaten out of house and home, and you were able to say so in that way because of Shakespeare.

The Bible has put you “at your wit’s end,” and allowed you to “rise and shine.” That last one generally requires a coffee assist at my house.

Ever been “in a pickle?” “Knitted your brow?” Told a knock knock joke? Ever sent someone packing, tried to “lie low,” or put your “best foot forward?” So has my friend Bill.

So, the other day Scott and I are gaming with our friends Neal and Wanda, and Neal rolls some sort of AMAZING winning dice roll, BEATING ME which is clearly....unpossible!. So I immediately accuse him of being a big lucked out cheater pants.

And he says, in his mellow, California guy way, “Nah, that’s just good Karma. Clearly the result of clean living.”

I scoff and say, “Clean living! You sir, are a liar, and you sit upon a throne of lies.”

Wanda says, “I have heard that before---- where is that line from?”

I say, “Not sure. Shakespeare or the Bible, no doubt.”

There is a pause, and then Neal says, “Um no, I think that’s Elf.”

There is this long silence and then I say, “What do you mean, Elf?”

And he says, “You are quoting Elf. You know, that Christmas movie, Elf? Will Ferrell says that line to a mall Santa.”

I am affronted. SURELY NOT! Surely it is Shakespeare. OR THE BIBLE. Surely I have not spent the last few years REFERENCING ELF and saying it was either SHAKESPEARE, or worse, THE POET KING DAVID OR, GEE, maybe, THE PROPHET ISAIAH, TWICE A WEEK.
Except, yes, I have.

It’s chilly today.
If you need me, I will be in the den, lighting a cozy fire. Using my MA in English as kindling.

Posted by joshilyn at October 27, 2009 10:52 AM

Well, why not Elf? It's as valid as anything else I suppose. That scene where he is inspecting jack in the boxes and being scared everytime is as funny as anything in Shakespeare. ;)

"Smiling's my favorite!"

Posted by: Jill W. at October 27, 2009 11:29 AM

Well, you can add my BA in English to the fire, because I was with you on that one. But as soon as you mentioned Elf, I recalled the exact scene. Not sure what that says about me...

Posted by: Laura L at October 27, 2009 11:32 AM

but who says Elf didn't steal, er - borrow it from Shakespear or the Bible?

having never seen Elf nor read all of Shakespear or the Bible, I may not be a good reference.

Posted by: elizabeth at October 27, 2009 11:45 AM

Just out of curiosity, I Googled that phrase, and though neither the Bible or Bill showed up, your website came up about three times in the first two pages. Um, at least you don't sit on a throne of lies in regards to your usage of same...

Posted by: ellbee at October 27, 2009 12:06 PM

Okay, so, I have happily co-opted your habit of accusing people of being lying liars who sit upon a throne of lies. Mostly my children, but still.

And on the rare occasion when someone has asked me where that's from, I tell them it's from you. I guess that _I_ am the lying liar now.

From my throne of lies,

Posted by: Mir at October 27, 2009 1:35 PM

Who cares where it's from? You're not hardcore unless you live hardcore. (School of Rock)

Posted by: edj at October 27, 2009 1:42 PM

No! You forgot! You obviously internalized that phrase from watching this lovely song on Youtube.


Posted by: Jill James at October 27, 2009 7:06 PM


We saw that live. Remember?

Posted by: Jill James at October 27, 2009 7:08 PM

*snort* I thought "Elf" as soon as I read the first paragraph, because I love that movie.

Hey, on the bright side, at least you've not been going around telling people they smell like beef and cheese. Although that *might* be Shakespeare.

What? You're not going to tell me that Falstaff doesn't smell like beef and cheese.

Posted by: Aimee at October 28, 2009 11:18 AM


Posted by: Lia at October 29, 2009 12:55 AM

One of my personal favorite insults is to say that someone smells exactly like beef vegetable soup. It's from So I Married an Axe Murderer. Maybe not Shakespeare or the Bible, but charming nonetheless.

Posted by: Allison at October 31, 2009 4:59 PM

Oh that makes me laugh! I'm constantly assuming unknown references are either from the Bible or Shakespeare. It wasn't until I reached 11th grade English that I found out lots of the things my mamma had quoted to me my whole life from the "Bible" were actually from Shakespeare. Hey, I'll take wisdom wherever I can get it -- even Elf!

Posted by: Lori B. at November 1, 2009 11:04 PM