Friday, December 11, 2009

Henry IV Part 2: 12th Grade Gabe Weighs In

AP English

Dr. Byrd

Henry IV Part 2

Reading Journal



As My First Act in Office I Shall Fail to Keep it Real


At the end of Henry IV Part Two Prince Harry becomes King Henry V and he wastes absolutely no time in undermining all of his hard-won street cred when he banishes Falstaff and the rest of his rolldogs in a massive failure to keep it real.

One of the most important qualities for a leader to have is the ability to keep it real. This is why Bill Clinton is such a great President. Dude is a player. Plays the sax, rocks the sunglasses, ladies all want a piece of Bill. When Harry was Prince, he knew this, he relished the thug life. But on his deathbed, his father mocks his coming administration:


And to the English court assemble now,

From every region, apes of idleness!

Now neighbors, purge you of your scum!

England shall give him office, honor, might;

For the fift Harry from curb’d license plucks

The muzzle of restraint, and the wild dog

Shall flesh his tooth on every innocent. (5:5)


These apes of idleness and wild dogs are Falstaff and the rest of the Eastcheap Crew. Now we’ll excuse the mixed Wild Kingdom metaphors seeing as the king’s dying (and I omitted a line or two from the soliloquy), but still, you would think Harry would stay true to his boys. After all that talk in Henry IV Part 1 about how he was fixin’ to keep it real once he ascended:


They take it already, upon their salvation , that, though I be but Prince of Wales, yet I am king of courtesy, and tell me flatly I am no proud jack, like Falstaff, but a Corinthian, a lad of mettle, a good boy – by the Lord, so they call me – and when I am King of England I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap.

(Henry IV Part 1 – 2:4)


But lo, after Falstaff rushes to see this good ole boy in his regal fineries, what does Harry say to the man?


I know thee not, old man, (5:5)




I have long dreamt of such a kind of man,

So surfeit-swell’d, so old, and so profane;

But being awak’d, I do despise my dream. (5:5)


Nevermore shall England kick it old school for the king has gone straight, and the OGs are sent packing.

You see, Dr. Byrd, I’m just like Henry V. Last year I was roommates with Schneider, who was a senior and a big screwball. You might not know it, but he nearly got expelled for peeing in the soccer players’ Gatorade during preseason last year. I drank some and foolishly blamed the acrid flavor on electrolytes.

We had a tumultuous year in Warner 103. He would watch Schindler's List while I was studying for my U.S. history midterm, he would invite people in to play Monopoly at midnight when I was sleeping, and then he mocked me for not having the balls to ask out a certain olive-skinned girl whose identity shall remain protected here. We wound up in a wrestling match over this one, which he easily won because he outweighed me by forty pounds.

So, it comes to the end of the year and I run for All-School President against Jimmy Larson, the nicest guy in the universe. And I win, cause everyone thinks I know how to keep it real what with being friends with Scheider through all of his reckless, unmedicated revolution.

But the first thing I do after I win is tell him what a dick he is. I mean, he graduated that spring, so it wasn't like I contrived his expulsion or anything (not that it would have been that difficult). But the point is we were friends and I hated him in the end.

I mean, I guess it’s better cause now I can be a moral, divinely-endowed executive of our student body, and as a result of my royal chastity we’re going to have a kick-ass prom and senior formal… but I don’t know. I failed to keep it real, so the pranks we had talked about – the papier-mâché penis we were going to install on top of the library, the goat we wanted to tether to Mrs. Hodgkins’ desk, the fake all-school meeting we were going to call so that we could bombard the underclassmen with water balloons – it can’t happen anymore. Cause I’m a tool of the man.

Maybe Lake Forest Academy as an institution will be better off for having me as All-School Pres, but shiiiiiiiiiiit. Jimmy would have kept it real. And under his tenure I’m sure those underclassmen would have gotten more than one water balloon to the skull, and that ten-foot penis would have cast a long shadow over the formal gardens as it pointed erectly heavenward beckoning the gods of preparatory academia to suck it dry.

I wonder if Henry V will have any similar regrets during his reign.

1 comment:

  1. You SO have your pitch for the next Shakespeare-turned-teen-sex-comedy megahit! Somebody call Michael Cera and Jonah Hill's agents post-haste...