Read it. I think it's a great idea. Expressing yourself directly and well: a great goal!
'Into the breach!' "Men of few words are the best," so a Portland man puts Shakespeare to work in everyday life
20 July 2007
Some people doodle during boring meetings.
Jimmie Moglia muttered lines from "Richard III."
During his long-ago days as a corporate manager, Moglia listened as colleagues hijacked meetings with presentations that droned on endlessly.
"What need'st thou run so many miles about," he would think to himself, "when thou mayst tell thy tale the nearest way?"
Shakespeare, he knew, would have put their PowerPointy rears in gear.
Years passed. Moglia left corporate life behind. He founded a small computer printer-support business.
But he never forgot Shakespeare's lessons for business people -- or for the regular Nick Bottom on the street.
"One of my purposes," says Moglia in a northern Italian accent that emigrated with him from Genoa more than three decades ago, "is to extract Shakespeare from the rigors of academia for use in everyday life."
The desire to bring Shakespeare's wisdom to the masses became an obsession. For 10 years, Moglia has worked to compile more than 10,000 situations from business and everyday life that could benefit from a lyrical line or two penned by the Bard.
Moglia's labor of love was not lost. Quote by quote, he constructed "Your Daily Shakespeare: An Arsenal of Verbal Weapons to Drive Your Friends Into Action and Your Enemies Into Despair." Now, he has written "Finis" to the tome, ordered 1,000 copies printed and is selling the book online and at Twenty-Third Avenue Books in Northwest Portland.
"It's not just another book of quotations," Moglia insists. "It's a book of daily situations backed up with Shakespeare."
Consider, for example, Shakespeare and traffic tickets.
Moglia once was cited for turning from the wrong lane. But being normally a "very sedate" driver, he told the judge, he was far more used to having others endanger him with their bad driving.
"I am a man more sinned against than sinning," he testified, citing "King Lear."
Another time, after he got a ticket for driving with expired license plates, the judge asked, "What have you got to say for yourself?"
"When the age is in," Moglia replied, quoting from "Much Ado About Nothing," "the wit is out."
Both judges dropped the charges.
Moglia's son William also has been known to turn to the greatest dramatist in the English language for a good line.
In high school, when William was given a curt command by a teacher, the boy found safe harbor in this appropriate rejoinder from "Julius Caesar": "If Caesar says 'do this,' it is performed." Caught by surprise, the teacher treated the boy "with noticeable consideration" from that time onward, Moglia wrote in the preface to his book.
The use of Shakespeare in social situations, Moglia says, confers upon the speaker the mantle of education, wisdom, reliability and wide-ranging interests. It also makes a person memorable.
He says a young clerk at a checkout stand recently asked him whether his purchase was cash or credit.
"I'll pay cash as far as my coin would stretch," he replied, quoting "Henry IV," "and, where it would not, I will use my credit."
"First, she says, 'What?' " Moglia says. "Then I explain it's a Shakespeare quote."
Moglia discovered Shakespeare while reading during long business trips as an executive for Beaverton-based Tektronix. As he traveled throughout Europe and the Middle East, setting up sales offices, he became increasingly frustrated by meetings dominated by people who couldn't express their thoughts clearly or concisely.
"Many of the people who spoke had no respect for what they were saying," he says.
He searched for a book of Shakespeare quotes that could be applied to business situations. But the only book he found -- the 1832 edition of Thomas Dolby's "Dictionary of Shakespearian Quotations: Exhibiting the Most Forcible Passages Illustrative of the Various Passions, Affections and Emotions of the Human Mind" -- wasn't organized the way Moglia envisioned.
So he decided to write the book himself.
Moglia says he isn't a Shakespeare buff. He doesn't concern himself with controversy over Shakespeare's true identity or the deeper meaning of certain lines or the finer historical points of the plays.
But he does know that people need to communicate their desires and emotions clearly through the elegance of spoken language -- and that Shakespeare is the perfect consultant for the task.
"Shakespeare," Moglia is fond of saying, "is the university of the soul."
Moglia's advice for all of us is to select up to 50 Shakespearean quotes that apply most to our daily lives, then memorize and use them, emphasizing their rhythm and musicality.
He also invites people to watch his monthly half-hour cable TV show, "Shakespeare's Views on the News," available only on Tualatin Valley Community TV. Think of the 31/2-year-old program as Moglia's channeling Shakespeare while Falstaff shakes his head over current events ("There's villainous news abroad").
Lest you dismiss Moglia with the words of Hippolyta in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" -- "This is the silliest stuff that ever I heard" -- rest assured that Moglia, like Hamlet, is constant to his purpose.
"To business that we like," he says, quoting "Antony and Cleopatra," "we rise betimes and go to it with delight." The quotes in the headline are from "Henry V," Act III.