Augustus and Me: My Sexy 2016 Review with the first Emperor of Rome

This is the transcript of a conversation between this doe-eyed devil:

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Don’t judge a book by it’s sculpture.

And this equally doe-eyed whipper-snapper:

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Shall we go back to my place and slip into something a little more comfortable? Because you’ll be sitting for a long time while I show you my extensive Metallica collection.

WILL
So here I am with… where’s Caligula? I was promised Caligula!

AUGUSTUS
Don’t get me started on Caligula. He’s a psychotic, pathological lying narcissist who lashes out (see: murders) anyone who breathes in a way he doesn’t appreciate. You’re lucky you live in a democratic state where you don’t have leaders like him.

WILL
Ahahahahahahahahaha

AUGUSTUS
What’s so funny?

WILL
Nothing. You’re right. So what’s your issue with Caligula?

AUGUSTUS
He stuffed his dead families bones in my tomb, WITHOUT ASKING, and then he spread rumors that I had sex with my daughter.

WILL
Sounds like quite the jokester.

AUGUSTUS
He had almost everyone close to him killed!

WILL
It’s the holiday season. By New Year’s Eve most people will feel compelled to do the same.

AUGUSTUS
Well, Caligula was busy (see: murdering), so here I am.

WILL
Here you are. The first emperor of Rome.

AUGUSTUS
I never claimed that title. It was thrust upon me.

WILL
Said like a true Caesar.

AUGUSTUS
It’s true!

WILL
I never claimed to be called William. It was thrrrrust upon me.

AUGUSTUS
I know you’re mocking me, but you go low, I go high.

WILL
You watched the election?

AUGUSTUS
Certainly did. How fascinating!

WILL
Right.

Will stares off into space as he dies inside.

AUGUSTUS
Hey, man, it’s ok! Rome was very split at one time. Literally! We were split into the Eastern and Western Empires. Our leaders also oppressed a great number of people out of fear and ignorance, and those groups, well… later rose up to be a great force, revolted and ousted Emperor Romulus, sacked the capital of the Western Empire and officially began the fall of Rome. Ok, nevermind. What were we –

WILL
Let’s get back to name etymology.

AUGUSTUS
Right. I was born Octavius, given the name Octavian when I was adopted by the Caesars. Nice bunch! Then I was deemed Augustus because the Senate thought I looked more late-summer than mid-fall.

WILL
Calendar humor.

AUGUSTUS
That’a a bunch of bullshit anyway, the month of August was named after me, so that joke doesn’t even make any sense.

WILL
Moving on.

AUGUSTUS
I was given the name Augustus, by the Senate, which means ‘exalted one’.

WILL
We have something in common! I was Billy when I was a little boy, gave myself the name Bill when I thought I had matured into a fully formed adult (in the sixth grade). Then I was deemed Will when the Senate (consisting of my first serious girlfriend Sam) decided I didn’t look like a ‘Bill’ but more like a ‘Will’.

AUGUSTUS
A Sam does not make a Senatorship.

WILL
A Sam did not make a relationship, either, but let’s skip the semantics.

AUGUSTUS
Skipped.

WILL
I was given the name Will by Sam which means ‘vagina’.

AUGUSTUS
Ha! It does not mean vagina!

WILL
Yes it does!

AUGUSTUS
No it doesn’t!

WILL
Yes it does!

AUGUSTUS
You’re kidding.

WILL
Look it up.

AUGUSTUS
On what?

WILL
On your phone.

AUGUSTUS
My phone? What’s a phone?

WILL
Oh stop. You’ve used the word ‘bullshit’, referenced the 2016 election and called the Caesars a ‘nice bunch!’ like they’re the BC version of the Partridge family. You’ve been hanging around long enough to get a phone.

AUGUSTUS
Ok, fine. I have a phone. But I barely know how to use it. I had my daughter, Julia the elder, WHO I DID NOT SLEEP WITH, set it up for me and the only thing she showed me was how to look at Cosmopolitan’s snapchat feed.

WILL
Exciting.

AUGUSTUS
I read about how handjobs are like bottled water. It said ‘why walk to the store for something when you can just go to your sink and milk the cow for free?’

WILL
I think you’re mixing metaphors.

AUGUSTUS
What’s a handjob? Is that like working with a hammer? Manual labor?

WILL
It’s something that’s only enjoyable if you’re 17 or feeling nostalgic.

AUGUSTUS
That doesn’t answer my –

WILL
Back to the original point, yes, ‘will’ in Shakespeare’s day did mean ‘vagina’, among other things. What it really means, in it’s original German, is ‘resolute protector’.

AUGUSTUS
Idea! From now on you can refer to me as the Exalted One, and I will refer to you as Resolute Protector.

WILL
Handjobs all around!

AUGUSTUS
What?

WILL
Nevermind. So, what’s your story, dude?

AUGUSTUS
What’s my story? You know my story… dude.

WILL
But like, what did you do that I don’t know about. What was it like being a teenager in Rome?

AUGUSTUS
I don’t know. I was Emperor of Rome by the age of 19. How about you?

WILL
I was the Assistant Manager of Dairy at my local Hy-Vee.

AUGUSTUS
Ah.

WILL
COMPARISON IS THE THIEF OF HAPPINESS! Ok, fine. It’s not the same amount of power, or whatever, but I did get to eat and drink barely expired dairy products.

AUGUSTUS
Gross.

WILL
No! It was great! Most of that stuff lasts long past it’s expiration date. I was calcium fortified. Now I can’t even drink milk, because I’m lactose intolerant. Which was a bizarre transition in itself. I was fine until I moved to Portland, and then all of a sudden I had this serious stomach cramp –

AUGUSTUS
Are you really telling me how you became lactose intolerant?

WILL
Yeah, so?

AUGUSTUS
I was the first emperor of Rome. I conquered Egypt, Libya, much of Germania and most of Turkey. I doubled the size of the empire.

WILL
Well, why didn’t you conquer all of Germania? Hmmmmmm?

AUGUSTUS
Well, because –

WILL
I know why!

AUGUSTUS
Wait-

WILL
Because the Cheruscan leader Arminius, also known as Hermann the German, betrayed the Romans and slaughtered you in the Battle of Teutoberg Forest! The same man whose sculpted copper likeness stands a mere 3 miles from the Hy-Vee where I worked as the Resolute Protector of all yogurt, cottage cheese, and eggs from the rushing hordes of weak-fingered old ladies.

AUGUSTUS
Wait! Wait! Wait!

WILL
What?

AUGUSTUS
Why are eggs in the dairy department?

WILL
Why did you sleep with your daughter? I don’t know. I didn’t make the rules.

AUGUSTUS
I DID NOT SLEEP WITH MY DAUGHTER!

WILL
Let’s just agree that it’s not fair or beneficial to compare achievements. It’s not going to get us anywhere.

AUGUSTUS
When I was 31 –

WILL
Oh come on-

AUGUSTUS
I declared war on Cleopatra and defeated Egypt’s forces in an epic naval battle, after which Antony and Cleopatra went off to kill themselves. Quitters! What fun is that?

WILL
At 31, there was an epic naval battle in the sea of my relationship with my then girlfriend Colleen.

AUGUSTUS
Did she run off with her lover and commit suicide?

WILL
No. But she did take my Cinnamon and Thyme off the spice rack for which I will never forgive her.

AUGUSTUS
That does not seem comparable.

WILL
Well we can’t all declare war!

AUGUSTUS
Shouldn’t we be talking about 2016? Isn’t that why we’re here? Why I’m here?

WILL
I don’t really care to talk about it.

AUGUSTUS
You don’t want to talk about 2016?

WILL
I’m not sure what good it would do to sum it up. To quantify a years worth of experience in a cute list of achievements, or a hilarious and sad diatribe of my dating foibles, or talk about the election again or how so many of everyone’s favorite celebrities have died AS IF THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN EVERY YEAR! DO WE HAVE THE COLLECTIVE MEMORY OF A GOLD FISH!!!

AUGUSTUS
You’re upset.

WILL
No it’s fine.

AUGUSTUS
I should go.

WILL
No, it’s fine.

AUGUSTUS
Are you going to yell?

WILL
No. I’m sorry. It’s been a… growing year. With growing pains.

AUGUSTUS
Alan Thicke! No!

WILL
God damn it. Would you shut up? This is where the blog post gets serious.

AUGUSTUS
Sorry.

WILL
When I was a kid I would wake up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in my legs. In my calves, and in my thighs. I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep it would hurt so much. I’m not even sure those pains are a result of growing. Anyway, it hurts. I’m growing, but it’s keeping me awake.

AUGUSTUS
Maybe that’s a good thing?

WILL
Probably. If I’m not growing, why be alive? This year was full of lessons. I feel like I’m a brat bursting on the grill.

AUGUSTUS
Now I’m hungry.

WILL
We hear this constant refrain at our school, in this acting program that I’m in, where we’re told that many of the lessons we’re getting won’t sink in until 5-10 years from now. We’ll be walking down the street, or working in some theatre, in god knows where, and BAM, the lightbulb will go off. I want those light bulbs to go off now. I want to be in a room of blinding fluorescence, where a heavenly angel will descend from the ceiling singing ‘Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh’ as I grasp the meaning of life deep in my cerebral cortex. I, like the petulant spaghetti-faced six year old that I am, scream in my head ‘But I want to get it NOWWWWWWWWWWW! Why can’t I get it NOWWWWWWWWW!’ I don’t get it now.

AUGUSTUS
You must get soooome things, right? It’s great to be curious and all, but if you’re 33 and you got one stark torture-room light bulb swinging from the rafters you’ve got some work to do.

WILL
Yeah. I get soooome things. There’s at least three torture bulbs swinging.

AUGUSTUS
Will. I have something to say and I want you to listen to me… You will never be the Emperor of Rome.

WILL
Thanks for ruining my 5 year plan.

AUGUSTUS
I’m serious. You will never be the Emperor of Rome.

WILL
I don’t know what you mean.

AUGUSTUS
I see you, because I’ve been created by you –

WILL
Oh don’t get all self-referential on me now –

AUGUSTUS
– and I can tell you that Rome doesn’t exist. Neither does the role of Emperor.

WILL
So you’re saying that I’m striving for some place that doesn’t exist? That I’m trying to achieve a status that is fictional; that I’ve made it up and I’ll push and push to get there only to be left constantly disappointed?

AUGUSTUS
What do you think?

WILL
Who took the irreverent, intelligent and funny Caesar and replaced him with a dead-eyed Dr. Phil?

AUGUSTUS
Laugh it off! Make jokes!

WILL
What am I supposed to do? Am I trying too hard to become something? Do I wish sometimes that I was someone else? Sure I do. Do I hate that? Yes. Is comparison the thief of joy? Sounds like an inspirational poster that’s on the nose. Sometimes it’s hard to sit in it. To. just. be. in. it. To not look forward and to not look back. I’m sucked into Facebook during the day which brings up the past immediately with it’s stupid ‘share a memory’ option, and then I’m pointed to all the news articles that suggest our future is either fucked or near-fucked. Who was I? Who am I now? Who do I want to be? What good do those questions do me? I want… I know I want to be strong in my convictions, and planted in my vulnerability. I want to be a man who is fierce in compassion and passionate in my intimacy. I want to own all parts of myself, my intelligence, my heart, and my power. I want to no longer be ashamed of being sensitive. I want to give a name to my shame so I can rip out the heart of it’s power. I want to love unabashedly, joyfully, and potently. I want to let the wind of experience rip through me. I want to bike in the rain and feel the pin pricks on my face and know that I’m alive and I better be wearing a helmet or I might die. I want to take action. I want to tell the people that I love them. I want to forgive myself. I want to look at myself in the mirror and say,’I love you. I am listening.’ I want to continue being a smart ass, and pestering my classmates like a little boy. I want to be brave, an embolden bravery around me. I want to continue creating safe, playful places for my students. I want to help people rekindle their imagination, and in doing so ignite mine. I want to say thank you, instead of I’m sorry. I want to live with intention, and not be a slave to my habits. That means putting my phone away, and avoiding the time suck that is the internet. I want to keep asking the question ‘how best can I serve the world?’ I want to deepen my connection with my parents. I want to stop being ashamed. I want to not fade into myself. I want to share what’s going on with me. I want to share with Zach so that twist in my stomach can turn into inspiration and we can inspire each other. I want to do yoga more and meditate everyday. I want to look at people and smile, instead of look away. I want to let go of the people in my life who make me contract and not expand. I want to walk around a lake with Andy until we’re 65 and red in the face from frostbite, ruminating about the intricacies of frozen pizza. I want to eat all of the chocolate and drink all of the coffee. I want to get drunk and play stupid music with Greg in the dojo. I want to love myself first. I want people who didn’t get name dropped to not go ‘why didn’t he name me! Asshole!’. I want to say ‘egh, fuck it’ far more often. I want to create my art, the kind of art that I’d love to see and that I love to do. I want to sit down and peel away the onion layers of embarrassment, foolishness, guilt and shame that have cocooned my heart. I want to listen. I want to –

AUGUSTUS
You want to…

WILL
Do this all in the next three days.

AUGUSTUS
Jokes!

WILL
I want to do those things. I will do those things.

AUGUSTUS
You’ll definitely fail at some.

WILL
Yeah. But I’ll do it. And then I’ll do it again.

AUGUSTUS
‘Have I played the part well?’

WILL
What?

AUGUSTUS
That’s what I said right before I died. ‘Have I played the part well? Then applaud as I exit-‘

WILL
What an actor thing to say.

AUGUSTUS
I also said,”Behold, I found Rome of clay, and leave her to you of marble.”

WILL
So basically you said ‘To be… or not to be… that is the question.’ Then when everyone left, you turned and said,’How was my scansion? Was I playing my action?’

AUGUSTUS
Yes?

WILL
So… 2017.

AUGUSTUS
Thoughts?

WILL
The general opinion is that 2017 couldn’t possibly suck more than 2016, but in 2017 Trump won’t be our president-elect, he’ll be our president. But the election results have galvanized hope and unity in a lot of people.

AUGUSTUS
And in you?

WILL
I had a suspicion that 2016 would be a rough year. I don’t often have hunches about years, but my intuition was telling me 2016 would be full of tests and struggle.

AUGUSTUS
Premonition about 2017?

WILL
… (to be continued)

AUGUSTUS
… did you just say ‘to be continued’?

WILL
No. Well, yes. I mean, no. That’s only for the readers.

AUGUSTUS
Then you gotta do it more like this…

To be continued.

AUGUSTUS
See? Or.

(To be continued.)

WILL
Ok. We are super breaking the blogosphere fourth wall here.

AUGUSTUS
Just trying to help you out.

WILL
Ok. I’m done.

Will struts away into a heavy fog looking cool as shit.

AUGUSTUS
See! That’s how you do it!

Augustus sits alone for a long time before realizing his life will be a long, sad, wait at a chip card reader.

AUGUSTUS
Hey! Stop that! That is not what I’m thinking!

You think what I want you to think.

AUGUSTUS
… this is bananas.

THE END…



for now.

AUGUSTUS
Seriously, stop it! How are people supposed to know when this thing

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