The checkout chick at the Safeway in Glasgow's Anniesland where I used to buy my messages was a fragile-looking young woman with carrot red hair, translucent skin, and eyes that were a whiter shade of pale blue.
Her name, according to the tag pegged to her overalls told us shoppers that her name was - I kid you not - Ebony.
Now, I’m not sure what the her parents were thinking of – and I didn’t really know Ebony well enough to ask her, but it just shows how, through no fault of our own, you can end up with a name that clearly doesn’t suit you.
The other week I acquired a horse which someone leaving town in a hurry – don’t ask – decided to leave behind. He’s a big dopey looking thing with a permanently vacant expression and comical floppy ears.
His name is Prince. Well, to be honest, it’s not him. Frankly, he isn’t a Prince. "Prince" suggests a certain stateliness, something regal – handsome and winning. Princes are the stuff of fairy tales - and that simply isn’t this particular cuddy - not with those ears.
This Prince is, to be honest, a bit glaiket. Well, the solution is obvious, isn’t it? We’re going to call him Charles.
As the Queen’s Jubilee approaches (and frankly it will bypass me completely because I live in a town which has only two streets and neither of them are having a party) aren’t you really, really glad you’re not Prince Charles?
I mean, he doesn’t have a job – he’s never had a job – (but then again neither does Wee Tommy MacAlpine who was in my class at school though I wouldn’t want to be him either) and he won’t ever have a job till his Mum dies.
Not only is Charles unemployed, but he’s regarded by the world at large as at best, eccentric; and on the down side, as a pampered, free-loading, public purse draining leech. With ears like The Scottish Cup.
Prince Charles is a genuine eccentric. He must be, he’s rich. Apparently his eccentricity has to do with his way-out views.
He’s totally sold on the idea of wholefoods and organic produce being good for you (which it is), likes to talk to his marrows and pumpkins, likens modern architecture to a carbuncle and thinks that should you require open heart surgery, a poultice of lavender oil and dandelion leaves is just as effective an anaesthetic as high grade morphine.
Unfortunately for Charles, despite his weird but essentially harmless opinions, he’s destined to go down in history not as a an eccentric, noble monarch with sincere though misguided ideas, but a geeky bloke who once told his bit-on-the-side that he wanted to be her, ahem, sanitary product.
Honestly, I don’t know about you, but for all his dough, his country estates, the butlers who run his baths, put the toothpaste on his brush and – allegedly - attend to his most personal ablutions, I wouldn’t want to be Prince Charles for all the organic biscuits in Buckinghamshire.
One of the many things Australia and Scotland have in common is a restless and potentially mutable relationship with the concept of royalty.
Nearly everybody likes the Queen – even rabid republicans concede a grudging respect for the old girl due to her perceived work ethic and longevity - but there seems to be a growing sense that when the inevitable does happen, the overriding scarcity of respect for the heir apparent could signify the end of the line.
In other words, poor old Charles, at an age when his contemporaries are donning the slippers, supping the Sanatogen and shuffling down the Post Office to cash their pensions, might have to look elsewhere for gainful employment.
Now, we all know that the conception of royalty, the Divine Right of Kings and all that stuff is so much cobblers. It’s archaic, irrational and absurd. But I quite like it.
After all, what’s the alternative? A President voted in by the people’s popular vote, which the way things are going will probably be Susan Boyle, or even worse, a politician or, most awful of all, a lawyer.
Excuse me whilst I fess up - I hate lawyers. No one ever consulted a lawyer and then said – "Phew I’m glad I did that."
You only ever invite lawyers into your life when you simply have to – it’s never a consequence of joy and furthermore, it always costs you a fortune.
Plus I hate the way they always pretend they’re your mate before hitting you with a massive bill that itemises the phone calls they made to you telling you"it’s all progressing satisfactorily".
See, getting rid of the monarchy won’t change a thing for the average Jock, or Bluey or Ebony with the ginger hair.
What it will mean is lots of work for Constitutional lawyers, who’ll have to draw up new laws, financial lawyers who’ll have to ponder a new currency and every other kind of opportunist brief who’ll see it as an opportunity – because, frankly – and yes, I’m talking through my pocket - that’s what they’re like.
Sorry. Just give me a minute here whilst I take my tablets. There, that’s better.
No, let’s keep The Queen, the corgis, the pomp and all the rest of the hangers on. Let’s abolish lawyers, instead.
The horse? The one who used to be Prince and is now named Charles? Oh, I’m selling him.
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