shakespearedrinking

Shakespeare characters who make the best drinking partners

Jun 11, 2013
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The other day a friend of mine sent me a Craigslist advertisement for a “Baller Ass Couch.” The bit about beating him in Mario Kart to bring down the price was a nice touch. My friends and I had a good laugh recalling when I placed my college degree on eBay. It was the seminal writing piece of my 20s. 1

The eBay post was due to frustration over a degree I thought was worthless. Of course that was a fallacy perpetuated to rationalize the fact that I was lazy and lacked focus and refused to, as my father would say, start cleaning my own porch.

Basically the ad on eBay was my degree for sale at a $40,000 starting price. For that price you received an unused degree, an unfinished, unreadable novel, and an unlimited supply of literature jokes and puns that only smug dickheads would understand. I don’t have a copy of it and no screenshot (did they have screenshots in 2004?) and so it’s lost to the world. I can only reminisce about it to the 15 people who will read this “article” (Hi Mom!).

In the email exchange my friend pointed out that his favorite part of the listing was my suggestion that I’d trade the degree straight up for a set of Yale’s Complete Shakespeare. I’ve long been obsessed with the small blue books and the simplistic style. It’s about as close to Yale as I’ll ever get. 2 I had to laugh at being reminded about this bartering deal.

I love Shakespeare. The affair started in college when I memorized a ‘Hamlet” soliloquy and performed it my Shakespeare class. It was, of course, like Kenneth Branagh and Mel Gibson had a mutant child and the child was a ginger with amazing acting skills. The nostalgia from college mixing up with Shakespeare and then the recent Bro Jackson “Movie Character Draft” 3 mashed together in my tangential mind. And it created this question: with which Shakespeare characters would I love to get soused? 4

Luckily for you I’ve compiled a list:

Hamlet He’s the darling of all Shakespeare’s plays. People love him and how can’t you love someone so dark and mysterious? Imagine taking him to the bars? He’s like Kurt Cobain with the charisma of Brad Pitt. We’d be begging hipster ladies not to talk to us. Plus with the whole Oedipal stuff going on you know he’s into some freaky shit. This is the kind of guy who would gladly jump on a grenade and have the courtesy not to bring it up later. Pass the Frangelico because things are about to get nutty.

Falstaff This guy drinks so much he’d make Charles Bukowski and Hunter Thompson blush. You know no pre-grame is too early for this guy. He’s the type of fella you can call at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday and now he’ll be down for a wake and bake and a trip to the pub. He’s been known to steal and lie, which should come in handy when you’re at a house party. If all else fails, you can get him really drunk, let him pass out like a dead man, and then berate him for being a loser. The chicks will love it. Pass the Falstaffs, Falstaff.

Prince Hal If Falstaff is going out then it’s likely Prince Hal won’t be far behind. The key here is knowing which Hal you’ll be hanging out with: is this the Hal who made amends with his father, a man introspective and focused, or the one who drinks like a fish and howls at moon with his minions? If it’s the former, choose a darkened bar and take shots till you’re blind. If it’s the latter, find the strip club and start pouring Grey Goose shots in the mouths of strippers named Portia.

Portia Speaking of Portia, who wouldn’t want to drink with an intelligent, beautiful, and rich woman? I can forgive her for giving birth to romantic comedies 5 because she saved her love’s best friend. I would be honored to buy her gin martinis and be in the presence of a strong woman not afraid to take charge.

Shylock Just kidding. I’m not buying drinks for this cheap bastard all night.

Lady Macbeth She’s crazy in all the right ways. She’s like Lindsay Lohan and Amy Winehouse combined. Obviously she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty and that’s always worthy in a drinking partner. Considering her husband was known to galavant with witches, you know she’s into potions and such. Sounds like a ayahuasca adventure waiting to happen.

Puck Everyone loves a mischievous drinking partner—someone who wants to reach over the bar and pour their own beers when the bartender’s not looking. This is the kind of wicked behavior that’ll get you kicked out of the bar and everybody should get tossed out of a dive once and awhile. Puck, the “shrewd and knavish sprite,” should make for a great conversation piece, if nothing else. Pop the Dom and wait for Puck to sprinkle some “love juice” on everyone in sight.

Prospero Prospero is the well-dressed guy at the bar who isn’t saying much but is full of knowledge and experience. He’d star in a Dos Equis commercial if he didn’t hate self-promotion. This is a guy who had survived a shipwreck and dabbled in the dark arts. He’s the kind of guy who will impart the secret of life, but the ten Dark and Stormy cocktails probably won’t let you remember what this bit of beautiful knowledge was.

King Lear I picture King Lear at the end of the bar mumbling to himself and reeking of nature urine. Some nights we need crazy and that’s just what Lear brings to the table. There’s a chance you’ll be running through the streets naked and end up in the county lockup; but there’s also a chance he’ll introduce you to his three daughters. “Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down? Oh, no, let’s go crazy.” Prince knows and so does Lear.

Mercutio He’s the ultimate wingman. He’s witty, crass, and willing to take chances. He’s the kind of guy who will lead a charge and not be ashamed about any consequences. The temper might lead to some bar fights, but you’re not a man until you’ve been punched for something stupid your friend has said. Buy a bucket of Limeritas. Shit’s about to get real.

Notes:

  1. During this time I had set out to write a novel, but mostly I just smoked hash and tried to sleep with older women.
  2. I actually took the GRE English literature subject test back in 2009 in hopes of becoming an English professor and having the chance to sleep with co-eds like Donald Sutherland in “Animal House.” I didn’t do very well and in my style, I found an avenue to blame someone else. You can read my letter to the gits at GRE here. The intern who received it is still crying.
  3. Coming to BroJackson.com very soon.
  4. And now you probably know why that degree and my adulthood have combined to not much of anything.
  5. damn you, “Gigli”

Kenneth Griggs is a writer and bartender living in Chicago, IL. He has hitchhiked through the Australian Outback; lived in a small fishing village in Japan; climbed Mount Kilimanjaro; and ran with the bulls in Pamplona. He spent six years as a feature writer for a daily and weekly newspaper and has two unpublished novels to his name. But his finest accomplishment is not yet sprouting a gin blossom nose.