Saturday, May 19, 2018

Once Upon a Royal Wedding Chicago Style Redux

Big to-do today over these two.  I predict she will have the same painfully forced smile of his mum after a few years with this twit....

Note:  A version of this first appeared on this blog in April of 2011, the last time the world went mad with Royal mania.  Adapted to today’s hoopla

I don’t give a rat’s ass for the doings of the hugely unaccomplished House of Windsor a/k/a House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the offspring and descendents of Mrs. Mountbatten a/k/a Mrs. Battenberg styled Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of England and a whole lot of other places that used to be in the British Empire.  If the Brits want to put up with their shenanigans for old time’s sake, I suppose it’s their business.  But we gave the heave-ho to the addled King George III more than 200 years ago, so I don’t understand what the fuss is over the wedding of a bearded princeling and a woman attractive enough to get a job on an American basic cable TV series. 

I boycotted the last round of these extravagant shenanigans when the current bridegroom’s big brother walked down the aisle with his brunette squeeze.

But I have to admit it—I was part of the international audience for the wedding of the current chump’s dad, Prince Charles and the allegedly fabulous Diana.  You may remember it.  He wore Alfred E. Newman’s ears.  She wore puffy sleeves, a shy smile, and a train apparently several blocks long.

I was a semi-captive witness to this extravaganza on TV while locked in a closed Lincoln Avenue dive.  Those puffy sleeves the bride wore doomed a decade or so of bridesmaids and prom goers to ugly dresses.

As it happened, I was officially homeless at the time.  My previous abode, a shingle clad rooming house on Diversey near Ashland dubbed the Green Bunker by its denizens had burned one day while I was at work leaving me with the clothes on my back.  What with most of my income earmarked for Lincoln Avenue saloons, I knew it would be a while before I could afford a new permanent flop.

One of those saloons was a place called Consumer’s Tap.  Some of you may remember it.  It was a long bar behind a liquor store across the street from the Biograph Theater. It was the kind of joint that opened at 7 a.m. to supply guys who need “eye-openers.”  Its clientele were local blue collar folks, hard core drinkers, and the remnants of the Lincoln Ave. hippy street scene that had flourished a decade earlier.  Drinks were considerably cheaper than tonier places in the neighborhood.

The proprietor was a youngish Chicago cop of Greek extraction.  Hearing about my plight, he gave me a second job mucking out the saloon after it closed.  I would find some couch to surf earlier in the evening after getting off a day job repairing and sewing sweaty football shoulder pads and get up to have a drink or two at the bar before it closed at 2 a.m.  After the bartenders counted the cash and the owner disappeared with it into his office with some cronies to snort cocaine, I would throw the stools up on the bar, empty the garbage, and the garbage cans of broken beer bottles, swab out the toilets, sweep the floor, and mop.  Unless there was more than usual puking or blood to clean up, I could finish in a couple of hours.  All the while I would leave a TV on to keep me company—usually an old movie on WGN—and nursed a beer or three.  When I was done, I would put the stools down and then stretch out on the bar with a roll of paper towels for a pillow and nap until 6:30 when the morning bartender would come in to get ready to open.  Then it would be off to the day job.  Not an ideal existence, but one which prevented me from actually freezing to death outside that winter.

Your scribe a couple of years after the Royal Wedding trauma after his own nuptuals and no longer homeless

One morning in February the usual black-and-white movie classic was replaced by a live broadcast of the Big Event from Westminster Abby.  I admit I was gob smacked by the needless splendor of it all.  Why just one of the bride’s pumps could have paid for a room with a toilet and running water, a kitchenette, and a bed that didn’t fold down from the wall for a few months.  I didn’t want to be bitter.  But I was forced to pour a stiff three or four fingers of the boss’s best John Jameson Twelve Year Old and pray that those IRA bastards who once blew up the bridegroom’s uncle would have good hunting.

I am, you will be pleased to know, no longer homeless.  I now reside in a heavily mortgaged home out in the wilds of McHenry County and live a life of semi-respectability.  Wedding pomp is on right now as I finish this up. I’ll post it and go to bed, hopefully unexposed. 

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