Wasted Time // by Jack S. (January 2018)

If ever a man and ever a woman, were ever to see this play,
And if ever a man and ever a woman, were ever to walk away,
Then ever a man and ever a woman, would be happier than before,
But ever a man and ever a woman, would forget it before the door.

David McWilson: A middle aged man who discovers higher literature
Emile McWilson: David’s wife
John Schmitt: David’s coworker
Liam McWilson: David’s son
Emma McWilson: David’s daughter

David: The beauty of days of old. The honor, the glory. (Reading out loud) “O goddess! Sing the wrath of Pelus’ son, Achilles. Sing the deadly wrath brought woes numberless upon the Greeks.” These words are greater than have been written for thousands of years, these words are sweet as honey, beautiful as daffodils, bright as the very stars in the sky. They are magnificent. Wondrous. The paragon of paragon. They are...
Emile (offstage): David! David McWilson! Where are you David!
David: Here my sweet Emile.
Emile: David! What are you doing?
David: What am I doing? Listen to these words, my wife. “O goddess! Sing the wrath of Pelus’ son, Achilles. Sing the deadly wrath brought...”
Emile: That’s nice, but shouldn’t you get on to work? There’s no salary for wasted time.

John: David! This must be the 100th time you've gone to get water. I never knew spreadsheets to cause such a draught.
David: I must admit, I have been procrastinating.
John: Don’t we all? What is the call? Fishing? Halo? Sitting on your deck, beer in your hand, burgers on the grill, kids playing in the yard...
David: No. None of those. Books.
John: Books?
David: I brought a book with me.
John: Ah. So this is David McWilson's secret getaway, his respite from the life-draining spreadsheet.
David: One might say that. I was recently going through an old box in my attic when I found a book. At first I just kept digging, but then my interest piqued. What was it that had interested man for thousands of years? A mere scientific experiment.
John: I understand. That draw of “old fashioned.”
David: Exactly. And then, right off the bat, I found myself enjoying it. I finished it. It was Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. Pure art. This morning I started Homer’s Iliad.
John: I never thought you to be the memorabilia man, David, but, whatever floats your boat.
John: Strange how people change. Midlife crisis effect all men differently. At least it’s better than with Bill.

David: Hello my son!
Liam: Oh, ‘sup dad.
David: What are you doing, my son?
Liam: Uh, oh, Snapchat.
David: I was thinking Liam, we should read a book together, father and son. We wouldn’t have to read it out loud or anything, we could just set an amount every day, and then discuss what we read in the evening.
Liam: Um, okay, I guess. What should we read?
David: I was considering Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Liam: But, that’s like, a million years old, and snapchat is like, new, you know.
David: Emma! My daughter! Would you like to read a book with your father?
Emma: Oh, Dad, You know I would, really, but me and Mike are going to a movie, and I just don't think I have the time. I’m really sorry, maybe some other day. A raincheck, maybe. David: Maybe Shakespeare’s Hamlet?
David: But it’s Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
David: You know honey, I get the strangest feeling that our children don’t like us any more. Emile: I don’t think that’s true.
David: No, I’m quite sure that it is true.
Emile: Why?
David: It’s just that I asked our children if they wanted to read a book together, you know, kind of a conversation starter kinda, and they both, not all brushed me off.
Emile: You know, with the kind of books you’ve been reading, I don’t blame them one bit. Are you coming to bed?
David: I’m going to read some more. I’ll be up in a bit.
Emile: Just don’t fill your head with too much rubbish.
David: What is wrong with Hamlet? What is wrong with any beautiful writings? Are we really so far gone as to not be able to enjoy real beauty? Are our lives so short, as to not be able to take the time for pure splendor? No, that cannot be. It is the opposite- our lives are too short to not take time to enjoy beauty. Not the fleeting type, but the pure type, full of grandeur, of splendor, and of grace. Our lives are not our to short for this hogwash people push at us. I reject garbage. I reject poppycock. I reject rubbish. I instead choose elegance and pulchritude. Why should we choose otherwise? Why should any man settle for less? I reject less and choose more. I have made my choice, and on my choice I will stand.

David: “Not to mention the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; the right to have syphilis and cancer; the right to have too little to eat; the right to be lousy; the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; the right to catch typhoid; the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind.” And he answers. “I claim them all.” Ha! “I claim them all.” Exactly how I feel. “I claim them all.” I, David McWilson, claim the all. I claim the right to grow old and ugly and impotent; I claim the right to have syphilis and cancer; I claim the right to have too little to eat; I claim the right to be lousy; I claim the right to live in constant apprehension of what may happen tomorrow; I claim the right to catch typhoid; I even claim the right to be tortured by unspeakable pains of every kind; all for the sake of beauty.
Emile: Shouldn't you be at work by now?
David: I called in sick.
Emile: Are you sick?
David: No.
Emile: Then why did you call in sick?
David: Because I wanted to read.
Emile: You wanted to read?
David: Yes.
Emile: And that's a good reason to skip work?
David: When it's Huxley, yes.
Emile: David, I don't understand what's happening to you. One day you're an average man, the next day you're... this.
David: But don't you see Emile? Don't you want more than this rubbish that people want us to like?
Emile: What rubbish?
David: Think of those games that Liam plays, those movies that Emma watches, think of the show that you just sitting in front of.
Emile: That show is not rubbish.
David: Every episode the same, every season a repeat, don't you tire of that?
Emile: No. I don't.
David: Come on Emile, don't you think there's more to life than that? Don't you think that there is some beauty in the world?
Emile: Maybe there is.
David: There is! I have found it.
Emile: Then I don't want it.
David: Don't want it! Don't want beauty! Who doesn't want beauty? What man or woman doesn't crave beauty? not period Is that not what we were created for? We're we not made to seek beauty? We were. We were made to search for beauty, to find it, to cherish it.

Emile: What is wrong with David. Is he sick? Did he hit his head? Is he concussed?
Emile: John Schmitt! Oh John!
John: Emile! What is wrong?
Emile: It's John, one day he was fine, but now, he's obsessed with books and beauty and that kind of rubbish.
John: Calm down Emile; David will be fine. It happens to all men at his age. One day I found my self sitting on a couch watching reruns of General Hospital and Star Trek. I hadn't been to work for a week. Bill spent three weeks in the Rockies trying to get in touch with his "primal self." It will pass, it always does.
Emile: Oh, thank you John, thank you.
John: Just keep on pointing him in the right direction and he'll turn out all right.
Emile: I will.
John: Take care, Emile.
Emile: You too, John.

Emile: Children, we must talk for a second.
Liam: But Randy's going to be live in, like, a minute.
Emma: I would love to, but I'm on my way to a movie. Rain check, maybe?
Emile: It's about your father.
Emma: What about dad?
Emile: Your father is not well.
Liam: I'll say! He wanted to read some book with me, some old book.
Emile: Now, to heal your father, we must stand strong, add period we must not let him indulge in this habit. No, we must hinder him at every turn. Do you understand?
Liam and Emma: Yes.

David: Emile, can you do my tie for me?
Emile: Yes darling, I'm glad that we got past that phase. You were beginning to worry me. A couple days will do wonders though. It's good that you found the foolishness of those books.
David: No, I didn't find the foolishness of books, I found the pocket editions of them.