I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, Sure, a guy like Bill Shannon is good to have around every once in a while. He's loud, he doesn't pay for anything, he'll finish what's on my plate when I can't have another bite. He's alright by me.
But [this is still you thinking], somehow there's something missing. And I can't quite put my finger on it. Is it his lack of hygiene? His unjustified arrogance? His unnecessary use of large words in incorrect context? No, that's not it.
Oh! you finally exclaim, I've got it! As adequate as that William Herbert is, he's just not diverse enough. Let's face it, the boy is white-bred.
Well I have read all your emails and letters and faxes and telegrams, and I have listened to all your concerns about my lack of diversity. And -- are you ready for a bombshell? -- you were right! I have been far too slow to embrace diversity in my own physical self. Every time you see Bill Shannon you see the same thing. White face, white face, white face, pasty, pale white face. Name another place you go where you see that much white? Besides the North Pole! Right? Am I right or what?
This is America. And whether you want to call it a melting pot, a fruit salad or a national mosaic, you can't go anywhere this day and age without seeing people of so many great and diverse ethnicities. I, much like the Boston Red Sox, have been reluctant to integrate myself.
So with the help of some focus groups, including some leading multiculturalism and anti-defamation organizations, I have come up with a Bill Shannon for the new millennium, a Bill Shannon that you can count on to represent not only fellow caucasians, but sundry other ethnic groups as well.
And as a special bonus, we have also had some well-known artists come in to give their own renditions of what a Bill Shannon might look like in their eyes. I think the results will surprise you.
Well enough pomp and pageantry, I would now like to unveil the Twenty-Ought-Six-and-Beyond version. The Herb Deluxe, if you will.
First, the control group. This is the Original Bill Shannon you have all come to know and tolerate.
Pleasant, timeless. It gets the job done, no questions asked. The slacked jaw, the poor eyesight. All your favorites are there. That's three decades of mediocrity all up in your grillpiece, son. Recognize!
But you've probably had enough of that. Let's take a look at something a little more dangerous. I mean, have you ever wondered, I wonder what a Bill Shannon would look like as an East Asian?
Wonder no further, simply cast your eyes just inches upward and enjoy the Bill Shannon that comes from the Land of the Rising Sun. Sure, the Original Bill Shannon has wee eyes that obscure his breathtaking baby-blues. But East Asian Bill Shannon's eyes belie a sort of exotic (perhaps dangerous?) effect, one that says, Konichiwa! Ichiban! Domo Origato, Mr DiGiacomo. (That is literally the only Japanese I know, and I don't even know it. East Asian Bill Shannon is going to need some tweaking.)
But let's say that language barrier is too much for you. Let's say your name isn't Mike "Beach Justice" Shannon, but you still would like Bill Shannon to be a "brother." I've just the thing.
Afro-Carribbean Bill Shannon does not mess around. You can tell by the look in his eyes that he is determined and ready to throw down. But he's not a bad guy, he's just misunderstood. That look on his face is not anger, it's the pain that generations of oppression and injustice have brought. Afro-Carribbean Bill Shannon is not interested in messing a brotha up, but he does demand your respect. And notice, that even the Afro-Carribbean Bill Shannon does not come with eyebrows. (Ratzin-fratzin-googly-moogly...)
West-Asian Bill Shannon is one of the good ones. You can let him on the plane. Trust me. He's with me (leather).
Let's say you're appreciative of the diversity I've provided (and with the copious examples I have provided, you should be!), but you are still not satisfied. Why don't we fire up the ol' Flux Capacitor and jump in the TIME MACHINE?! Once that Delorean hits 88, you will see the inexorable march that Bill Shannon has made (and will continue to make) through time.
There are five distinct stages of a Bill Shannon in his lifetime. I hope you enjoy all of them. I only really enjoyed two of them.
First there is Baby Billy. You just want to pinch his face and give him $5, don't you? This is apparently right after baby's first beard-trimming.
Then Pre-Pubescent Bill (and no that is not like five years ago, haters!). His whole life ahead of him, and a trail of bodies behind him. Forget I said that last part.
The Original Version (see above). Unbelievably handsome, sure, I mean scary handsome. But let's not forget that has a very efficient notecard filing system. (Boy I really wish I hadn't brought that up.)
And Old-Timer Bill. If you call him Gramps you're bound to get a rap to the kisser, wise-guy!
But what's the fifth stage? Ah-HA! It was a trick! For the fifth stage, we go not back in time, but back in the evolution of man! (This one is for you, Tracie my dear.) I present to you, Half-Monkey-Half-Bill-Shannon!
Note, even in his primitive homo habilis state, he is still wearing eyeglasses. That's a commitment to good vision.
Now, it's a sad fact that Bill Shannon is not going to live forever folks. I know I know, you don't even wanna think about that. Trust me, neither do I! Ha ha ha ha ha, ahhhhh.... But anyway, when Bill Shannon is no longer here in a physical sense, he will always be here in physical essence. His spirit, his aura, will always be with you. No matter what. Bill Shannon is like Obi-Wan Kenobi in that way, except if Bill Shannon saw a mofo like Darth Vader coming up to him with a lightsaber, Bill Shannon would get the **** outta dodge, yaknowwhatumsayin?
But when Bill Shannon's physical being isn't here on earth for others to enjoy, we have to with the next best thing: art. Now many have debated what true art is. Is everything art? Is nothing art? Who decides what art is? Whatever your opinion, I don't think there will be any doubt that the following creations are not only works of art, but works of exquisite art. Mainly because of the subject matter.
Since we couldn't afford any real, living artists to create a tribute to Bill Shannon, I had to create some myself, using the styles of artists of the past. For example, had you ever wondered what Bill Shannon would look like if he were painted by the immortal Botticelli?
Well we'll never know, of course, because Botticelli has been dead since the early 1500s, but I am confident that the master couldn't do any better than the above.
What about Modigliani?
Sure Bill Shannon looks a little, shall we say "priggish" in this picture, but he has been known to be that way in real life as well.
And the great El Greco wanted to have a crack at Bill Shannon, and I don't think anyone could have asked for anything better.
Plus I look skinny as hell.
There is only one more version I'm unleashing at this time, which doesn't really fit into any of the other categories, and that is Drunk Bill.
According to some sort of complex mathematical theorem, the above picture is a hypothetical approximation of what Bill Shannon would look like had he consumed a few alcoholic beverages. Is this what Bill Shannon might look like in that state? I guess the world will never know. (Apparently when it happens though, he will be using a mouthguard.)
So there you have it. I'm hoping that this, my mandatory sensitivity training and my 360 hours of community service will finally silence those who say that Bill Shannon doesn't represent them, and only caters to his own interests. Nothing, friends, could be further from the truth. Next time you say, Bill Shannon is two-faced, just remember: it's more like eight or nine!!!!!!!