My Inner Polonius

Sometimes I feel like one part of my brain is trying to give advice to the other part of my brain, and the other part of my brain isn’t listening.

No, I’m not!

Yes, you are!


You know what I mean, right? Right?

*tap, tap, tap* Is this thing on?

Anyway, it’s like I have an inner parent nagging at an inner adolescent who refuses to pay attention. And if that’s not bad enough, yesterday I realized that much of my inner parent’s advice to my inner adolescent is a scary mimic of Polonius’s advice to his son Laertes in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet.

Now THAT set me back a little bit, I’ll admit. But I’ll prove it to you. First Polonius, then inner parent Betsy.


Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;

Keep your big mouth shut unless you have something useful to say. And for God’s sake, don’t just jump to do stuff without thinking about it first.

The friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d comrade.

True friends are really hard to come by. When you find one, “grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel”. But not everyone with whom you are friendly is actually a friend.

Of entrance to a quarrel, but, being in,
Bear ‘t that th’ opposed may beware of thee.

If you have to get involved in a fight or a quarrel, then for pity’s sake, handle it with dignity. And try not to just burst into tears and run away sobbing.

Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.

Don’t judge people or situations based on what other people are saying. Because nine times out of ten you’re not getting the full story.

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man.

CUT UP THE LANE BRYANT CARD! For heaven’s sake, you don’t need that many clothes!

Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

Stay out of debt, because debt is a prison sentence. And be careful lending to other people with the expectation that you will be repaid. Because that is a sure-fire way to lose a friend. If they really need something, just give it to them and forget about it.

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

You must be yourself. It doesn’t matter what other people say. It doesn’t matter what other people see when they look at you. You must be yourself. You don’t have to try to fit in. You don’t have to pull down others to build up your own standing or reputation. You don’t have to be what everybody wants you to be.

See? Weird. And yet the advice is pretty good. Sure wish my inner Laertes would listen to it more often.

And you know what’s even stranger? Sometimes I hear my inner Polonius singing his advice in the voice of the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island.

Now that’s creepy.




  1. OMG that’s one of my favorite (um, yes a favorite LOL) episodes! I hadn’t heard that in years!!! Thanks for sharing your inner parent a la Shakespeare!! 🙂

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