“I Got Rhythm.” Well, sort of. George Gershwin had it when he wrote it, Judy Garland had it when she sang it, and Gene Kelly had it when he danced it. But the chord progressions associated with rhythm and its changes that are part of this jazz standard was not the rhythm that got out of time for me this last week. It was my circadian rhythm that took a beating.
Every time our royal cousins give a big do across the pond, I’m faced with going to bed too early and getting up too soon. My particular circadian cycle is set so that sleep generally will not come prior to midnight at the earliest. So with last weekend’s coronation, I decided to just power through, pulling an all-nighter as if I were still in school. The strategy worked all right, I suppose, but it took me a minute to bounce back. And by minute, I mean about three days.
I understand that many folks think American interest in British royalty is at best misplaced and at worst downright undemocratic. But I’m a sucker for it. I need some pomp and circumstance on a semi-regular basis, and this coronation was about the most “pompy” thing I have ever scene.
They pulled out all the stops, just as expected. They brought out the orb and the scepter, that St. Edward’s Chair which looks pretty good for being over seven hundred years old, and the Gold State Coach. But really, is it that different from using your grandmother’s china for a big do amongst the commoners?
After all, the royals are just folks like the rest of us. That’s a pretty democratic attitude, isn’t it? Those who were in attendance probably dished it just like any of us would have done had we been there. And if you take the whole thing down a peg or twelve, you can see what I mean.
Just for consideration, let’s take away the crowns and the regalia and turn the investiture of a king into something like a major wedding anniversary reception, but with essentially the same cast of characters. It all becomes much more, as they say, accessible. A local gossip might interpret it this way.
“Well that was a real nice reception they put on for Chuck and Millie’s anniversary. It’s a shame his mama died last year and wasn’t there to enjoy it. She always did like a big get together, didn’t she? But Chuck’s age is really showing on him these days, but that may have just been the strain of having all those people there.
“Millie seemed uncomfortable like she always does when those two boys from his first marriage are around, but who can blame her? They know just like everybody else that their daddy had been messing around with her for years before he and their mama finally divorced. And their mama, what a mess she was. I think Bill has put all of that behind him, as well he should since he’s taking over the family business at some point. He knows which side his bread is buttered on. And his wife, Katie, she is so pretty, and I really don’t think she married for the money. I really don’t. But don’t get me wrong—I’m sure it helps. And their kids are so cute.
“But his brother, that Harry, he’s turning out to be a mess just like his mama was. Married that foreign woman, I’m not sure what she is, but she’s not, well, she has some, well, at any rate, she’s foreign, I’ll just leave it at that. They said she stayed home to take care of their kids, but I heard she just plain wasn’t invited.
“Maggie was there—I just love her. She’s so down to earth, loves her horses more than she does most people. Eddie was there, too, and he’s settled down a good bit since he was dabbling in all that theater and television stuff. He works for the family business, but it’s Chuck who runs things.
“And that Andy. The least said about him the better. I heard that his mama had to get him out of some trouble about an underage girl, which was such a shame for her being as old as she was. I mean his mama. Of course it was a shame for the girl, too.
“It was good to see some of the old-timers, too. A couple of his mama’s first cousins were there with their wives, and everybody was making a fuss over them. That family is sure long-lived. I guess when your part of the richest family in the county, heaven doesn’t hold much for you.”
These characters live in palaces and big fancy homes in small towns, even in parks where the houses have wheels. Lord knows the royals probably think they have little in common with the rest of us, born into a system not of their choosing and playing roles that they didn’t choose either. That accounts for their unearned privilege, I think, but it doesn’t really make them at all that different, just elevated.
So if they’re not all that all that different, let them keep the crowns and the throne and the other regalia. I just need to borrow some of that jewelry.