The Proper Gentleman

July 03, 2019

Jon Wadsworth walked up to the podium on stage, dressed in tweed. A tall heavyset man, 6 foot 2, 290. His hair was thinning, but well kept, combed back with pomade, still dark, almost black. His beard had some gray creeping in but still very dark, and very full.

The audience gave a loud round of applause as he was announced. He shook hands with the gentleman who introduced him as they crossed on stage. Setting some notes down on the podium he looked up, took the audience in for a brief moment and began to speak in a loud boom deep voice. He almost didn't need a mic.

"Thank you for having me here. It's a rare event that I find myself in a room with so many that share the passion I have for late fifteenth century type setting."

He was interrupted by a brief cough, but carried on promptly.

"I know everyone here is familiar with Aldus Manutius. Well, recently a team of students working on their PhD got together to go through some of his work and a very excited discovery was made.."

A trickle of blood started to run down his nose into his mustache followed by another more intense cough.

"I apologize" he said pulling a handkerchief from his breast pocket. Dabbing the bottom of his nose he continued. "I've been prone to nosebleeds all my life, they will sometimes start without any warning. Anyway, as long as no one here gets ill at the sight of blood, I will continue with this exciting discovery.

The students discovered what appears to be lost works from Aristotle, but even more interesting is the typeface he was using to make the translation."

He was interrupted again by another loud cough, this time a mist of blood sprayed forth before he could contain it with his handkerchief.

James rushed onstage, the man who had introduced him.

"Sir, are you ok? Your nose is bleeding even more profusely than before."

"I do apologize, I have a inclination towards this kind of thing I am afraid. It may look bad, but I am in good health, and as I said before, I can't let a little blood stop me from this important lecture."

"I see, well let me know if you need anything." James said as he walked off stage. As he walked by he noticed another thing. Turning around to address Jon, "Pardon me, but your ear appears to be bleeding as well, are you sure you are ok?"

Jon was becoming a bit irritated. "Yes, yes, if you can go get me some tissue, that would be helpful." he said.

"Now I sincerely apologize, I know James here is just looking out for my interests, but I must carry on. Now What was I saying... ah yes. It turns out Aldus was using a font face that up until this discovery was only thought to have appeared 25 years after his death! You can imagine my excitement when I first heard this!" Jon exclaimed. He broke in a laugh, which turned into a choke. Finally he expelled what seemed to be a blood clot most violently. This was followed by an uncontrollable coughing fit, forcing a concerning amount of blood out of his ears and nose. Many audience members had become uncomfortable watching this scene at this point.

James raced out "Good god man, I believe you are in need of an ambulance!" he said, pulling his cellphone out of his pocket.

Jon shook his head, "Nonsense! I told you this was common for me."

"But sir, this doesn't seem common for anyone, I don't know if you are aware of your appearance, you are certainly in need of medical assistance."

"I assure you, this is nothing out of the usual for me. I know my body, I've been living in it for 5 decades. I appreciate your concern but I would prefer you to stop coming out to interrupt." Jon said, a temper was behind his words.

"Sir, I don't..."

"I've already told you, everything is fine. Now please, I must continue with this lecture."

He re-positioned himself in front of the podium, his face shiny with blood, and his beard thick and matted. The audience was becoming uncomfortable with the situation, Jon noticed.

"This is a very unfortunate time for this bleeding, but I want to assure you all, this is nothing to worry about. I'm sure my appearance is a bit ghastly, but when I'm done with this lecture it will be the last thing on your minds."

Even from the distance of the audience the stream of fresh blood from his nose was visible, slowly they could see his suit darkening with the substance.

"Anyway, as expected the news of the date of this font face shook the academics to their very core. They met the discovery with extreme resistance. Dismissing it as impossible. You see, unfortunately some professors can get so stuck in their ways, knowing they've been teaching something for 40 years that they think could not possibly be incorrect can cause this kind of resistance. Imagine telling students, who look up to you as an authority, something for 40 years, and having a group telling you that you have been misinforming thousands of people over the course of your carrier?" A loud scream followed this sentence, deep and guttural.

He closed his eyes, and held his nose with an intense look on his face for what seemed like a minute. When he let go the streams of blood were worse than ever before. The crowd could no longer handle it, and James came running out.

"I'm calling an ambulance, we can reschedule this for another time."

"I've said already, I this is a common occurrence for me." Jon yelled, blood spraying from his lips as he spoke.

"I tried to give you the benefit of the doubt earlier but this can not be a common occurrence for anyone. Some of the audience members have taken ill and this lecture must come to an end!"

"Who are you to tell me what is common in my own life? You don't live my life, only I do, and I assure you this is not something the requires any medical treatment. You would simply be wasting resources for someone who may really need it."

"The amount of blood you are losing right now is not something most people will ever experience, it is absurd that you claim this should be a common experience in your life, please, let me walk you to the washroom until an ambulance arrives."

Jon was furious, which only increased the blood flow. "Listen, I don't expect you, a professor of philosophy to understand the significance of these fontological discoveries but this lecture is as important as anything I could do in my life, and it will not be interrupted for such a trivial matter as a few drops of blood."

"I may be a doctor of philosophy and not a doctor of medicine but even I can plainly see that not only is this a not just a few drops of blood, but your life as in peril! If you do not cooperate this night will not end well for you. Can I get some agreement from the audience?" James said as he looked towards the people clearly uncomfortable with this scene. The audience confirmed James concerns.

The idea that this audience was in agreement with James and willing to postpone hearing about the details of these discoveries infuriated Jon. "To hell with all of you!" he roared as he stormed off the stage.

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