The Coronation Rumination
I had no intention of watching Charlie’s coronation but one of the mixed blessings of aging is the inability to sleep past 5 a.m. I mean, you’re either hungry, gotta pee, or both. Usually both. So I was up.
Satisfied the latter first, then settled in with a bowl of Raisin Bran, a cuppa coffee, the digital N.Y. Times then whispered “blimey!” to myself, so as not to awaken the other inmates of my house.
I trundled over to the computer, found the NYT’s live feed of the ceremony and gawked at the screen watching an ancient rite that reminded me of an attempt back in the 1970’s to initiate me into the Elks Club. At least they served wine and cheese and they didn’t hide me while pouring old oil on me.
I’ll admit, it was fascinating for awhile, then disturbing. On what was supposed to be the best day of Charlie’s life, next to that blissful night with his polo pony, his literal crowing glory, he looked like someone about to undergo a colonoscopy with a fire hose.
When the Archbishop of Canterbury performed the actual crowning, he seemed to screw the thing on Charlie’s noggin’ and I’m imagining Charlie thinking, “balls, it fit in the store!”
Regardless of your opinion of the monarchy, the coronation was a rare opportunity to witness a version of a process a thousand years old and hadn’t occurred in over 70 years, or roughly as long as “The Simpsons” has been on TV.
So I was watching Charlie’s face and demeanor throughout. Some body language experts later said it showed he was taking his ascension to the throne very seriously as well as feeling the weight of his new responsibilities, which include, mainly, not dying.
I’m thinking the guy is 74 and has very mixed feelings about the whole turn of events. On the upside, he’s finally King of England, but on the downside he only got the job because his beloved mother passed away.
The other downside is he and the new Queen had to wave to his subjects from the balcony of Buckingham Palace wearing those crowns and looking like they just left a bad Halloween costume party.
But when you think of someone at last landing the job for which he’d been preparing most of his life, it makes you think of your own career. You work hard, you put in the hours, you build relationships, you get the promotions you sought, maybe hired away for a prestigious, big bucks position then get to the point where it dawns on you how much you gave up for all that.
It happened to me a couple of times and then it hit me how much time I lost with my family traveling around, chasing stories, going on business trips. I made some good dough, but missed the priceless part of life.
So I retired early. I have a couple of very part-time freelance gigs I enjoy that allow me to use my skills but after almost seven years I’m reducing my load even further.
Which brings me back to King Charles III. He got the job at last. Performed all the duties required of royals. He had no competition since as long as he was alive when his mother died, he was next in line.
But you have to wonder if the old chap feels any satisfaction, any sense of accomplishment, retains any goals, or, instead, wonders if the whole thing was worth the wait.
Well, now, at age 74, he’s stuck with a big, new job for the rest of his days. Kings don’t tend to retire and join pickleball leagues.
Yeah, that’d make me take on a dour demeanor if someone plunked heavy headgear on me and hollering for an unknown guy in the sky to save me.
Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if the newly crowned King Charles III snuck a peek at his youngest son, relegated to the third row, thinking, “lucky bastard, he escaped while he was still alive.”