Column

The Village Idiot: Fairy tale beginnings

Jim Mullen
Jim Mullen

Meghan Markle is engaged to Prince Harry!!! I can barely contain myself. I suppose my invitation will come in the mail any day now. What should I get them for a present? A candle snuffer? A juicer? Some nice towels? 

Just because I had to Google Markle’s name so I could spell it correctly, and have no idea why she is famous, doesn’t mean I can’t get all game-show-contestant excited that she’s going to marry a prince! And not just any prince, but the spare one!! And an English one, not one of those dime-a-dozen princes from Bavaria or Greece, who have names longer than the phone book but no money. 

Of course, I have never met Prince Harry. He’s not a member of my family, he’s not a childhood friend, he’s not a workplace colleague; I’m not even Facebook friends with him. Sheesh, I’m not a British subject. In short, it would not be possible for me to care less about this impending wedding. Except in the sense that any increase in the world’s happiness is probably a good thing, so I wish the couple the best.

I’m not saying it’s not news. What I’m saying is that it’s not personal. Now, compare that with the average morning show host, who acts as if it’s one of their own children getting married and that they expect to be in one of the pews on the wedding day. They don’t know Meghan or Harry, either of them, any better than you or I do. But no one could be more over the moon about the wedding than morning show hosts, except maybe the actual participants.

It’s easy to see why. Covering Israel and Palestine is complicated. You have to know what you’re talking about. North Korea is complicated. Red states and blue states are complicated. Oh, but a royal wedding!! That’s easy to report because, after all, we all know something about weddings. We don’t have to study anything; we don’t have to be an expert. We already know – we’ve been to a lot of weddings before. Several of them our own. How did he propose? What will she wear? Who will design it? What did the queen think? And the pictures are so adorable! You can hear the italics and exclamation points in every sentence.

And now the royal family has announced another wedding: Princess Eugenie! To some random guy who doesn’t look like a meth addict! Ooo, maybe they’ll have babies and then we can talk about their babies as if they’re our own family! Now, remind me, who is Eugenie again? Oh, she’s the daughter of that one who got divorced from that other one. Fergie. No, not the singer, the one who’s not royal anymore. Or is she? It’s so hard to keep track. I know! Let’s ask a “royal watcher.”

Now, there’s a job: “royal watching.” Can you get a college degree in that, or do you have to be in the union? Are there degrees of royal watching, like “Royal watcher, 1st Class?” or is it experience that counts? What do royal watchers do between weddings, funerals and coronations? Why aren’t they called “royal stalkers?”

If there’s an opening for “commoner watcher,” can I apply for it? After all, I know so many of them and, hard to believe, I am one myself. I could blend in and tell the audience at home what it’s like to work for a living, how much things cost in what they call “grocery stores,” maybe visit a “car wash” or explain how to “wash dishes” – things that I’m sure every royal person would love to know about.

To paraphrase Dorothy Parker, it makes me want to “fwow up.” It’s like watching a bunch of 13-year-olds talk about which member of a boy band they’d marry. So what if he’s a serial killer? He’s so cute! 

Anyway, what’s the happiness track record for British royal weddings? Well, I guess you could ask Anne Boleyn how it worked out.

• Jim Mullen is a syndicated columnist. Email him at mullen.jim@gmail.com.

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