John Marwood Cleese of Monty Python fame is a thought-provoking person. If you haven’t already done so, I heartily recommend reading his memoir So Anyway…
This account isn’t a barrel of laughs as such, but it does make for very interesting reading, plus you discover all sorts of things you didn’t know (at least, I didn’t). For example, when John graduated from high school, although he’d been accepted at Cambridge University, he couldn’t immediately take his place there because the ending of National Service meant there were twice the usual number of applicants for places.
Instead, he returned to his prep school for two years to teach science, English, geography, history, and Latin. I remember him saying that he quickly learned not to argue with the kids, so instead of saying something like, “Stop talking Snodgrass Minor,” he would say, “No talking in class, Snodgrass Minor.” Thus, if cheeky young Snodgrass was prompted to retort, “But I wasn’t talking Sir,” John could reply, “I didn’t say you were, I just reminded you that talking in class is not allowed.”
When John eventually went to Cambridge, he joined the world-famous Footlights amateur theatrical club, which was founded in 1883 and is run by the students at Cambridge University. There he met a crowd of folks who would become household names in the years to come. He graduated with a degree in Law and was poised to start working in this profession when he was offered a job writing scripts for the BBC, and the rest is history.
The reason I mention all of this here is that, believe it or not, I ran into John (he told me I could call him that) at a small café just a couple of evenings ago as I pen these words.
After exchanging a few pleasantries, I slipped a little joke into the conversation causing him to laugh out loud. He clapped his hand on my shoulder and we ended up sharing a table where we both ordered the specialty of the house in the form of ice cream sundaes. I was basking in the moment and poised to take my first spoonful when I heard the dulcet tones of my wife (Gina the Gorgeous) waffling on about something in the distance.
Gina’s voice gradually came into focus, at which point I realized she was saying “Drummer, get down from there,” in a menacing way. With a sad shrug and a whimsical smile, John got up from the table and took his leave as I awoke to discover it was the wee hours of the morning and Gina was trying to get our stupid cat, Drummer, down off her bedside table.
Apropos of nothing at all, this reminds me of one of the quotes I include in my email signature: “If you want your dreams to be as fascinating to other people as they are to you, don’t mention it’s a dream until the end of the story.” Personally, I think this is good advice, because most folks really aren’t interested in other people’s dreams. Of course, if you happen to have a remarkable reverie you’d care to share, then please feel free to do so with gusto and abandon (and aplomb, of course) in the comments below.