How much fun were the Middle Ages?

Depends on who you ask. The lords and knights had to walk around in all that metal. One wonders what happened when the knight had to go toilet. Couldn’t toilet on the armor. That would cause rust. Think of all the blisters on their assets, and the metal poisoning too. Then there’s the draft. In those days it wasn’t the serfs who went off to war. It was the knights. And there’s the castle upkeep. It was hard to get a decent moat. What is a castle without a decent moat?

Of course, these knights would fight over anything. My castle is bigger than your castle.You have a moat and I don’t.  I killed more infidels in the Crusade than you did.. You name it and they would fight over it. They spent thirty years fighting over whose rose was prettier in England.

If there had been an SPCA in those days, the knights would have been fined for mistreatment of the horses they rode. The horses had to carry around the weight. No wonder they had bent backs.

If you were a lady, you were required to wear el chastity belt. Man, that thing is heavy. Besides what do you do if you have to go take a pee and your hubby is off at the crusades. Who is going to have the key? Lady Godiva really wasn’t in her all-togethers. She still had on her c.b. But she’d always wanted to go into showbiz. Riding through the town in her purt-nears was as close to Vegas as a girl got in merry old England.

The serfs were a little better off. They only worked two seasons of the year, Spring and The Rest of the Year. They didn’t get drafted because they had to stay home and keep the old homestead going. The crops went to the lord and lady of the manor, who were living high off the hog. All the serfs ate was gruel, except at Harvest Time. Harvest Time was a regular party after they brought in the crops. There was real food and booze too. The nice thing about serfing was they didn’t have to wear underwear, so during the summers they’d go skinny-dipping.

Often the castle was downwind of the serf. From time to time on a particularly windy day in winter time, the lord and lady of the manor complained about the smell. The serfs only took baths in the summer. The rest of the year it was the old pee yew.

In fact, nobody worried about taking a bath. That’s why they had pilgrimages and why England had a town named Bath. Once a year everybody took off and went on a pilgrimage to a town that had baths.

Then there was the Plague, or should I say Plagues. The Black Death. The Blue Death. The Red Death. Here a death, there a death, everywhere a death death death. That’s what they get for living with all those rats. A few cats could have gotten rid of all that disease. Why my Buster Buzztail can take down as many rats as he sees in one day. You think we have rats here at our house. No way, José.

Now, if you were Pope, you could really party hardy. All the booze and women you wanted. You could come up with an indulgence to keep you out of hell. If you were bored you could start a Crusade. As you can see, being Pope was the bees knees and more.

The people who had the most fun were the Bards. They got the best booze and the women loved them. You see, in those days, there was no such thing as You Tube or CNN or Fox. So the Bards were the news anchors of their times. If you wanted to know what Uncle Waldo did at the Battle of Agincourt, just ask the Bard. If you wanted to know why the king down the road turned chickenshit and ran away from Saluddin, ask your Bard. If you wanted to know what great granddaddy Groucho was during the First Crusade, ask the Bard. He’d tell you and he’d make it rhyme too.

To paraphrase one of the great bards of our age, Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the bard.” Bards didn’t have to wear armor or a chastity belt. Bards didn’t need a moat. Bards got to take baths. And the clothes, man. If you wanted to know what the latest men’s fashions were, check in with a bard. He’d be wearing them, and he’d have photos of the latest fashion show in Paris. As you can see, it was a pretty good life. For a Bard.

I am such a pleb

Guess I have always been a pleb. That’s surely because I come from a long line of plebs. Not a king or a prince or an emperor or a queen in my ancestry. Or a lord or a lady either. Take my ancestry all the way back to Adam and Eve and you’ll get folks who had to scrounge and dig up dirt that was not meant to be dug up. If we farmed, it was scrub land and all you got on that piece of dirt is rock and weeds.

No one in my family ever discovered oil or gold. If we went to a place like California, we were always a day late and a dollar short. Mostly my folks were nickeled and dimed till we ran out of nickels and dimes, and still they went after the nickel and dimes we got on credit. That’s my history. If I was anything in a former life, it was probably a serf.

The one thing I do take pride in is that my people were working folk. They worked and scrounged to have what little they had. I was the first in my family to go to college. Few before me even finished high school.

All of them were a good hearted breed who would give the shirts off their backs if you needed. You’d better’n not try to take it, but, if you asked, they’d give it to you. Most of them worked the land. But some became barbers and mill workers. Just a bunch of simple folk as in the song from Camelot: “What do the simple folk do?” That was my people.

We came from the backwaters of Scotland and Ireland and England and Wales, France and Germany and Scandinavian and Italy, Egypt and Uganda, Iran and India and Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. All of us plebs. But you know what? It’s been us plebs who have been the backbone of this country. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War to World War II to Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve been there. You’ll find quite a few of us in Arlington Cemetery.

Being plebs, we love our country and we don’t like to be pushed around. Whether it’s by the government or by Osama bin Laden or some boss who wants us to work for dirt wages. We push back. When push comes to shove, we’ll kick butt. Now I know that the Bible says, “Turn the other cheek.” We try to do that best we know how. But there is a limit to cheek-turning.

All we want is a good job and a good life for our families, that our kids grow up safe and sound and have a chance for something better. It’s in the Declaration of Independence. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That’s what we hold dear. And we don’t trust anybody in power. ‘Cause we’ve seen power shoved down the throats of too many folks.

In Roman times, Rome had two classes of people. The patricians who ran things and owned land and all. Their families went way back to Romulus and Remus. They were that one percent. The other class was the plebeian. They were everybody else.

So that’s where I stack up on the hierarchy of things. So like I say, “I am a pleb and damn proud of it, y’all.” I am in some pretty good company. Satchmo, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Bruce Springsteen, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Caine, Johnny Cash, Cesar Chavez. Just to name a few. Pretty good company I’d say.

I imagine a lot of you probably come from plebs too. So join me and rejoice. Celebrate your pleb-ness.