|Oh, Mr. Burns!
||[Jan. 31st, 2012|08:09 pm]
Right, so I got tapped to do the Lassie's reply again for Burns Night. On the one hand, an audience full of non-performers, so the bar is pretty low, as I proved last year. Although now that they've heard it once, I had to write a whole new one, AND I could no longer rely on the shock factor alone. (Because apparently, saying "penis" at a dinner party was a first for this crowd.) |
Now, a fair part of my brain was occupied with "bend at the knees, not the waist, bend at the knees, not at the waist" as I had my wee kilt on, and it is definitely the shortest skirt I own. And normally not that big of a deal, except that this was the first time I wore tights with it, so I had absolutely NO feedback as to where the end of the skirt was. No, worse, SO no feedback that every once in a while my whole brain would freeze up with "Wait. Did I forget to put the kilt ON? Tell me I'm not just wearing tights...."
But that's what whisky's for -- making you so not give a wee sleekit beastie's patoot.
So, I think this speech went even better than last year's, although I don't think it was better...just that instead of sitting there shocked, the attendees (most of whom I've maybe met twice now) actually participated and added their own riffs. (And once again, improv classes come in handy.)
Well, here we are again, gathered to celebrate the life and works of Robert Burns. And I’m called upon again as well. I can’t imagine why. The fact that I spend nearly half my weekends strapping myself into a corset, talking in a funny accent and making not quite family-friendly jokes? Maybe.
Or is it that the rest of you lassies were modest enough to refuse. Or thought, oh, you know, hmm, let’s see, I could spend Friday night having another glass of wine and chilling with the latest Netflix, or I could stay up late googling obscure Robert Burns references and writing a speech. Oh, hey, pass me that bottle of wine, right, that’s what YOU said. What can I say, Tim knows me…and knows how to tap my inner geek. Besides, it was a lovely excuse to crack open the Lagavulin and well, spend Friday night googling obscure Robert Burns references.
Now, thanks to Wikipedia and the failure of SOPA to get any legs underneath it, we know that Rabbie loved women.
Auld Nature swears, the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes,
Her prentice han' she tried on man,
An' then she made the lasses
Now before we lassies get too full of ourselves, we must remember, as Rabbie certainly did, that we are not always a picnic to live with. Why, looking at the fine gentlemen assembled here this evening, I suspect that more than once each of you strapping lads has come home, perhaps just a wee bit late, and found just as Rabbie did, this waiting for you:
Where sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
I suspect he may have seen a fair lot of that, as, well, let’s face it, he was a very, very busy Scotsman, as far as the lassies went.
After all, his first known love affair with his mother’s servant, Elizabeth and before the child of that union was born, he had embarked on a relationship with Jean, who immediately became pregnant with twins, and whom he later married and with whom he had nine children.
And while still married to her, he may or may not have married Mary Campbell and tried to convince her to go to Jamaica with him: “Will ye go to the Indies, my Mary, And leave auld Scotia's shore” And then, a relationship with Nancy McLehose, then sired another bairn with Jenny Clow, Nancy’s servant…and then back to Jean. And those are just what we've got documented. And that was before Facebook.
Now, let’s remember, I’m single now, so here I am doing this research, fueled by fine whiskey, late at night, and well, a lassie gets to thinking…
Clearly there’s something a wee bit special going on underneath that kilt, eh, lassies? I mean, beyond easy access.
A contemporary described him thusly “the eye alone, I think, indicated the poetical character and temperament. It was large, and of a dark cast, and literally glowed when he spoke with feeling or interest.”
(Here one of the men, bless him, inserted this comment "Wait. THE eye. One eye? Are they talking about..." Aaaand they're off!)
So, glow gentlemen, glow, when you look at us! With that big glowing eye. Not that a kilt wouldn’t hurt.
Ah, but Rabbie’s appeal is not just physical. In addition to being a supporter of women’s rights, he also said this;
Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet
To think how monie counsels sweet,
How monie lengthened, sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises
Oh, but I’m sure all of these fine gentlemen assembled just DOTE on the counsel and advice of their wives…
Think gentlemen, think – significant relationships with at least five women, often concurrently, at least 11 children and a wife who took him back after years of infidelity, financial struggles and wandering around.
You would do well to take up kilt-wearing and perhaps doing a little glowing when your wife is telling you what to do.
But that aside, we do love you. All of the little things about you. And sometimes we lassies have to love some. Very. Little. Things.
But we honor Burns tonight. A whiskey lover who hated the tax man, yet became one himself, for the steady paycheck. A true romantic who adored women, but clearly couldn't decide on just one. A man sometimes gripped by deep despair and sometimes great joy. A guy with a really, really thick Scottish accent.
He's given us so much -- wonderful poetry and a possibly plagiarized song that we Americans butcher shamelessly once a year. But most importantly, he's given us an excuse to get together with good friends, our loved ones, our spouses and partners, and share a lot of laughs and good times.
Frankly, what more could you want in a man?
But he’s dead*.
And you fine gentlemen are RIGHT HERE. So, here’s to Burns, but more importantly here’s the men in our lives.
**This year, it was "But he's dead" that slayed them. Go figure. Wee little things got some of them, although there was a little bit of uncomfortable laughter, so I was careful to not make eye contact with ANYONE.