Your Majesty, take my children – please

Categorized as 04/06/08 Goshen News column

If you’re a royal watcher and you love American politics, this has been a banner week for you. I don’t have to tell you what the big flurry was all about. You’re on your toes. You’re tuned in. You’ve got a royal scanner, and you already know that the President and the First Lady went to Buckingham Palace to visit the queen.

The word on the street was that they were brushing up on British protocols at the White House so that the American contingent wouldn’t commit some terrible faux pas that would strain diplomatic relations but good. Everyone knows you’ve got to mind your P’s and Q’s when you’re in the royal presence. After all, this is no family reunion, and it’s certainly not happy hour at the local watering hole with your best buddies who all come in their Bermuda shorts.

Thus, I have a hunch that several handlers started sweating bullets and nearly passed out when Mrs. Obama broke with protocol and put her hand on the queen’s back. This, in turn, prompted frantic whispered calls via Radio Shack walkie talkies to the Secret Service stationed outside for “sublingual nitroglycerin, and step on it!”

Yes, it was a day of high drama in London.

The other interesting factoid that was widely reported was the gift the Obamas carried across the pond for Her Royal Highness. When I heard what it was, I thought to myself, “What?” And then a little louder, “What?!”

In case you weren’t listening to your scanner that day, the queen received an iPod loaded with presidential speeches. Now, let’s talk about this for just one second. The iPod itself is totally cool. I’m down with that. But speeches? Really?

When I had a certain special birthday awhile back, I lobbied Mr. Schrock for an iPod to mark the auspicious occasion. The main reason I wanted it, actually, was to help power me up and down the road in my effort to get in shape. By linking its cardiovascular benefits to a celebration of my existence, I figured it would be a one-two punch he couldn’t resist.

Now, you and I both know that you can’t even roll over in bed on a speech, much less trot around the block and break a sweat. You’ve got to have some tunes for that. I don’t know if the queen is a runner or not, but that’s beside the point. How is she supposed to get in shape with an iPod full of that?

At any rate, the whole notion of visiting the palace and meeting the queen captured my imagination. What if Mr. Schrock was the President, I thought, and I was the First Lady? What if the entire First Family were invited to the palace to meet the queen? Now that would be a trip no one on either side would soon forget.

First of all, I would want to see the changing of the guard. You won’t believe it, but I think I’ve figured out why they never smile. It’s their hats. If you look real close, you’ll see that the straps are way too short. They hit right underneath the bottom lip, effectively locking their jaws in place. This is why you can tickle them in the armpits, do the funky chicken dance, or even work them over with a feather duster and they won’t crack a smile. They want to laugh. They’re dying to laugh. They’re howling inside, in fact. But they just can’t laugh, thanks to the hat-induced lockjaw.

Moving inside, we would meet the Royal family. This would go swimmingly, thanks to all the bowing and curtseying drills that would be held in the Rose Garden prior to departure. Then, led by the queen and Prince Philip, we would tour the castle and the grounds.

It’s at this point, having been instructed by yours truly, that the President and the First Hoodlums would take over with a well-planned set of distractions. This would allow me to do something I’ve always wanted to do. Under the guise of needing to powder my nose (I’m sure none of the royals ever ‘go potty’), I would whip out my white gloves and do the white-glove test on the royal throne. I’m the curious sort, and I just want to know if the royal housekeepers are all they’re cracked up to be.

As for the presidential gift, we would gift her with something I’m sure Her Majesty has never, ever received before – the privilege of minding four lively American boys for an entire day. Let’s face it. They’re way too stuffy over there. I think four boys could liven things up. If they can’t get a laugh out of her, then she’s got no pulse. And that palace? Way too perfect with all that marble and gold stuff around, which is nothing that can’t be fixed by having some peanut butter and jelly smeared on the drapes and a banana mashed into the royal carpets. Yup, in just 24 hours, those boys could really make it feel like home.

I know, I know. It would take the poor dear until the next administration to recover, and we’d likely never be invited back again, but we would make our mark, wouldn’t we? Yes, we would make our mark.

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