Bid Him Hold Why Don’tcha Please

(sung like the first line of You Keep Me Hangin’ On)

I’ve tried to imagine what it must be like for Drs. Birx & Fauci to sit there respectfully while Cheato waxes crackhead about ultraviolet bleach or some damn thing, and maybe my head insists on escaping to a far-flung referent–just to keep it together. Recently I thought of one of the great unsung heroes of our literature, what Sammy Davis Jr. would call a “special breed of cat,” who does not even get a name, and is instead designated just as “First Servant.” Not only that, after he finally gets to say his couple lines, he is slain for his trouble (although he does get to inflict some damage on the way to his reward).

From King Lear Act 3 Scene 7:

CORNWALL

See’t shalt thou never. Fellows, hold the chair.
Upon these eyes of thine I’ll set my foot.

REGAN

One side will mock another; the other too.

CORNWALL

If you see vengeance,–

First Servant

Hold your hand, my lord:
I have served you ever since I was a child;
But better service have I never done you
Than now to bid you hold.

Imagine how different things would be if some anonymous hero or heroine had seen clearly how wrong the present action was, and been willing to pay the price to bid him hold.

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