Monday, April 25, 2011

Billy and Kate, Chuck and Di

Golly, I guess I’m going to have to pass on Friday’s big do, uniting in matrimony (holy or otherwise) Billy Mountbatten-Windsor and Kate Middleton. Even if the inclination were there, the television --- now suitable only for watching DVDs --- isn’t. Besides, I’d have to get up at 3 a.m., when network coverage begins, and that’s a stretch even for someone usually up and about by 4:30 a.m.

I do enjoy a good royal funeral. There’s something so satisfyingly permanent about a royal death. But marriage tends to be fleeting these days, hardly worth the effort.

I didn’t get up for the 1981 nuptials of Chuck and Di either, though I did arise for Diana’s 1997 funeral. She turned out to be kind of a neat lady, counterpoint to that odd critter she married. Don’t think I’d get up for his farewells, however.

My souvenir of the train wreck that produced the British heir now poised to breed is framed and hanging on a wall in the living room --- a postal first-day cover bearing stamp portraits of the unfortunate couple.

This was brought home to me by a friend who happened to be in Windsor a day or two before or after the big wedding --- I forget which --- and stopped by the post office there in search of souvenirs. I had it framed; it’s a nice reminder of the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.

The envelope actually is a pristine white, by the way. It turned blue in the scanning process and returning it to white for an appearance here hardly seemed worth the Photoshop effort.

I’m sure the big wedding is just harmless entertainment, although it does seem the money involved might have been better invested elsewhere in these troubled times --- the taxpayer cost of security alone is estimated at between $8 and $33 million (not quite sure why the range is quite so broad).

The Mountbatten-Windsors will be paying most of the expenses, although they’re pretty heavily subsidized by the British people --- roughly $60 million in annual payments plus $300 million or so in annual tax breaks. I hope all those good folks in the UK get their money’s worth this time.


Back in the real world, the death of the third Iowan killed so far in Afghanistan during April is being reported this morning. Staff Sgt. James A. Justice, 32, native to Manila but living in Grimes with his wife and 3-year-old daughter, was killed Saturday morning while attempting with other members of his unit to rescue the crew of a downed helicopter.

Funeral services for two earlier victims of the war were held on Friday and Saturday.

“He loved the military and he looked forward to every deployment,” his family said in a statement.

Maybe the British have the right idea --- invest in a royal wedding, no matter how pointless, rather than war, which invariably points toward death.

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