Round Table On Civility
by Jon Sindell
Welcome to todays edition of
Historical Round Table, where influential figures
past and present discuss timeless topics. Our
panelists today are Abraham Lincoln, a former
president; Mark Twain, a humorist; William
Shakespeare, a playwright; SumSicChick, a modern
American slam poet, activist, and hella
influential thought leader who has more than 3,700
followers; and ChunxForBreakfast, a YouTube
today is Civility. Suppose we begin with Mr.
Lincoln. Mr. President
Now, Mr. Prescott, theres no need for
formalities. Just plain Abe will do.
Im sure youll remember that our first
president, Mr. Washington, eschewed all high-falutin
incidents of office.
(peering at Lincoln): SMH.
(with warm, befuddled smile): I beg your
pardon, miss. SMH?
OMG! Get a clue!
(talking behind hand): Ape Breath.
(chuckling): I must confess, your
contemporary vernacular makes me feel like the
near-sighted snake who fell in love with a rope.
(rolling eyes): OMG! Oh! My! God!
(pointing at face with a self-deprecating grin):
Miss, I ask you. In a year of Sundays, could you
ever conceive of this craggy relief map of a face
as our Lords countenance?
No, because I cant conceive of
any man at all being the face of Our Goddess. If
there is one.
I have faith not only that the Almighty exists,
but that His judgments are altogether righteous
Youre such a patriarch!
(humbly bowing): Thank you. You know, in
my time, many charitably called me Father Abraham,
though Im sure I did not merit the epithet.
The fact is, many called me much worse.
(chuckling): I think I begin to grasp
the tenor of the time. Brevity is the soul of wit,
as the great bard said. Is it not so, Mr.
(bowing head with dignified modesty): ...
and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes...
Of course, Polonius was a tedious old fool.
Old fool, thats the point! And dead is old!
And here I sit in hell, surrounded by dead white
(eyes twinkling, pointing with cigar):
As you can see, young lady, the rumors of my
death have been greatly exaggerated.
(dipping quill pen): Zounds, sir, thats
good! I am sure you have observed that great
No need to steal, sir. If you like it
that much, its yours.
Ugh! Do you dead white men even realize how
irrelevant you are, how toxic and ... just ...
mimes dying of asphyxiation, rolls onto
In my age, such a knavish affront would beget a
In your age, toxic masculinity was accepted.
sits up and rings bell.
In my age, the man who let his beard be pulled
would oft lose his purse and gain cuckolds
In my day, the fear of becoming a rapiers
pin cushion would muzzle many an unwise gibe.
Reputation, reputation, reputation.
Who steals my purse steals trash, but he
that filches from me my good name ... makes me
poor indeed. Is it not so, sir?
Iago spoke the truth, Mr. Shakespeare, though his
character was akin to that of the snake I have
mentioned. But can anyone tell me how one guards
that most precious bauble, reputation, in todays
That man reminds me of the old hound dog that
climbed into a barrel of tar thinking it was
I perceive an implicit consensus
emerging that civility is linked to preserving
Insofar as the judicious restraint of rash speech
is intertwined with civility, I believe you stand
on solid ground.
(checking phone): No, actually, 745
people thumbed up my statement that your f&*in*
*#^*** about civility is a tool of oppression to
maintain your patriarchal white hetero-normative
(checking phone): And my live stream
shows mega likes for my take on civility, which
is basically this: (emits sustained rumbling
Mr. Shakespeare, Mr. Twain, may I offer you gents
a ride back back to the past? It would appear
that our time here is done.
In more ways than one, sir. (flicking cigar ash
into ashtray of history). In more ways than one.