As a Monkey at a Typewriter, I Really Don’t Think I Could Write Shakespeare, No Matter How Much Time You Give Me
By
October 12, 2017

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly appreciate the confidence. My entire life, people have dismissed me as an unintelligible ape who just eats, sleeps, and bangs randomly at whatever’s put directly in front of me. They celebrate George — everyone loves George — but scoff at the idea that I may be curious too.  

So when I heard you say, “you know, I bet you could even but this monkey at a typewriter and, after a long enough time, he’d eventually bang out Shakespeare,” it truly meant the zoo to me.

Everyone else says, “I bet he’d just end up typing incoherent strings of letters,” even though that was just one time, under extreme pressure, while everyone was watching. They say, “he’s just a stupid monkey, I bet he can’t even parse implied meaning in well-known thought experiments.” Not you. You believe in me.

That said, as much as I appreciate the confidence, I don’t know if I have it in me to type out an entire Shakespeare play. Truthfully, I doubt I could even get through Act I without falling asleep first. 

If you want me to write out a real story, like Planet of the Apes, just give me enough ink and paper and I’ll turn that shit out faster than I turn my actual shit out. But Shakespeare? It’s all so predictable, so cliche. Oh a story about a backstabbing friend in his rise to power? Sorkin did it better in Social Network. They fall in love and then the guy kills himself unnecessarily? Already saw Titanic. You like Othello? Honestly, I hate to be this guy, but the board game was better. 

I’m serious. I’d rather be the subject of a mind-numbing experiment testing probability in our universe at a mass scale than have to type out a Shakespeare play word for word. I’ve taken shit writing gigs before. We all have. But this is just a whole different level of do-it-for-the-exposure. I’m not saying I’m likely to be the next Kerouac, just as you are not likely to be the next Kong. But I do have to have some standards.

Not to mention: why a typewriter? Has our our fetishization and nostalgia for technologies past reached such a fever pitch that you’re now forcing writers to type on the faux-vintage typewriter you got at Urban Outfitters for $99.99? You know I’m self-conscious about my lack of opposable thumbs. There’s no need to make this harder for me than it already is. In fact, this entire set-up seems to show a fundamental misunderstanding of how the writing process works. You know who else wouldn’t be able to sit down and type out a Shakespeare play at a typewriter in one sitting? Shakespeare.  

All that said, since everyone’s watching and you’ve promised me bananas, I may as well give it a go. 

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The Higgs Weldon is a humor website with funny stories, articles, cartoons, and one liners. It was started by the Los Angeles stand-up comedy community, but takes submissions from everybody. Please read and enjoy our jokes!


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