Reg Henry: Why the royal ruckus over wedding?
As soap opera producers understand, nothing cheers up people more than a good wedding.
Economic depression lifts the moment a bride walks down the aisle, except, of course, for the father stuck with the bill. Why, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would gallop away at the first sight of the floral decorations.
And hereís the jolly thing. In less than two weeks, Britainís royal family will marry off Prince William to Kate Middleton, thus cheering millions of people around the world, most of them women.
As for men, it is a fair guess they will keep their enthusiasm under control. Thatís because they know that this may be like the Super Bowl of weddings, but itís not actually the Super Bowl.
My own wife will get up early the morning of the wedding to attend a breakfast timed to coincide with the TV broadcast from Westminster Abbey. No doubt she will sip mimosas and eat crumpets and have a grand time.
As for me, although I like to wash down a crumpet with champagne and orange juice as much as the next person first thing in the morning, I will be wearing my pajamas for the occasion.
To paraphrase Henry Vís speech on the eve of Agincourt in William Shakespeareís famous play, ěAnd gentlemen in America now a-bed, Shall think themselves happy they were not here.î
I must now declare an old prejudice. The truth is that I have never had much fondness for royals. This is not my fault. I grew up in the Australian state of Queensland ó consider that fateful name ó where royal cousins and uncles of great antiquity regularly came on tours from England for no better reason, I think, than the place was called Queensland.
To provide a spontaneous welcome, thousands of us school kids were rounded up by menacing teachers and marched down to the state fairgrounds, where we stood under the harsh tropical sun with nothing to drink. After many hours, the geriatric aristocrat would arrive and pretend to be the queen, even making the little waving hand movement.
We kids assumed that the hand was really a stuffed glove on a stick, probably operated by a special butler ó maybe a handman, much like a footman, only employed for waving.
The one redeeming feature was that when the royal visitor finally appeared, he or she would say in an accent so rich and fruity that cake crumbs surely fell on kids near the podium, that we all had the rest of the day off from school. Hurray! Hurrah! That was the one cheer we meant. Then we went home to recover from the thirst and dehydration.
But donít let me spoil the royal wedding for you.
Just one quibble: How come the nation that kicked King George out should become so excited about a marriage involving his descendants? I suppose this is just another example of the distorting effects of the cult of celebrity that holds America in thrall.
I could understand it if the Duke of Earl were marrying Lady Gaga. That would be something to get excited about. Instead of a stately anthem featuring trumpets, all the distinguished guests could chant ěDuke, duke, duke, duke of Earl!î As for Lady Gagaís dress, that would be a sight! There wouldnít be much of it, for starters, which would liven up the abbey no end.
This isnít far-fetched. If I remember the lyric correctly, nothing can stop the Duke of Earl. Instead, nothing can stop the Prince William and Kate frenzy. The other morning I was watching the ěTodayî show and they described this as the Wedding of the Century.
Wait a second! Even in Queensland, the wedding of the century is always the one where one of the participants is a close relative. My own nomination for wedding of the century was when my daughter Allison was wed on a beach in Costa Rica, as howler monkeys and other relatives looked on.
Who would want to have a royal wedding anyway? How frightfully stiff and boring. Will they perform the chicken dance afterward? Will they have a cookie table? And how about all those ladies in waiting. Iíd be tempted to say, ěHey, ladies, what are you waiting for? Get out there and do the chicken dance.î
Worse yet, Kate and her prince will be married by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who rejoices in the title ěPrimate of All England.î I say keep the monkey business for the honeymoon.
If you see the Four Horsemen gallop by in fright, give them a passing mimosa toast for me. I will be royally asleep.
Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.