It doesn’t take much to make me quote one of the greatest literary characters of all time—Bugs Bunny. A news report this week, however, had me spouting not the words of the greatest Bronx-Brooklyn Jewish rabbit of all time, but those of his irascible mustachioed nemesis, Yosemite Sam.
“Great horny toads,” Sam, playing the part of Riff Raff Sam, declaims as he bounces on a camel’s hump across the Sahara, “a trespasser gettin’ footie prints all over my desert!”
In Sahara Hare, of course, the trespassing prints belong to Bugs, he having taken another of those infernal wrong turns at Albuquerque and ending up in the sands of North Africa instead of Miami Beach as intended. Mayhem ensues.
In the real time cartoon that is Canada, they belong to yet another set of The Royals, who once again are trammeling the trackless Canadian waste from Parliament Hill to Toronto to Nunavut. This week, we are graced with the Queen’s son Edward and his wife Sophie, who the public prints identify for us as the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
There seem to be so countless many of these monarchical nomads wandering about the land lately that it is impossible to tell them apart without some kind of signage. Didn’t we just say goodbye to them from their last visit? It seems there hasn’t been time to change the bed linens and pick up the left-behind socks in the guest room. Or was that an entirely different iteration? Who can tell?
Perhaps we should start giving them jacket pocket ID stickers when they get off the plane. “Hi. My name is Sun King.” “Hello. I’m Mad King Ludwig.” Something like that.
One doesn’t want to seem cheap but surely there comes a time to ask: don’t these people have homes? If I read the news report correctly, this is the ninth time Countess Sophie has visited Canada. It is reportedly Earl Edward’s thirty-third visit here. Thirty-third?? That is no longer visiting. It is perilously close to freeloading.
Naturally, the royalists tucked among us will leap to their defense with typically apoplectic arguments about the mere pennies a day it costs each Canadian to feed, water, house and entertain a peripatetic sovereign whilst on our soil. Then they will reflexively elide into a clamour about the efficacy of constitutional monarchy as form of government, and the inestimable value of having a king or queen as head of state.
Well. Yes. Maybe. Or not, as the case may be. My complaint has never been about the dollar cost averaging of keeping up the Throne. As our devil-may-care cousins to the south consistently demonstrate, republicanism will pick your children’s pockets entirely clean if you’re not extremely prudent.
What I object to (apart from the salient fact that this particular Royal Family shamelessly continues to wear a stolen crown) is how they just pop up as if from holes in the ground, not unlike a certain rabbit who keeps turning the wrong way at Albuquerque. They come. They go. Goodbye. Goodbye. Never have we a few days peace before it seems they are back again, looking in the refrigerator in Alberta, helping themselves to a beer in New Brunswick. And who knows what they get up to alone in Ontario while the rest of us are, you know, at work all day?
At the very least it would seem sensible, while remaining well within the bounds of loyal subjecthood and good neighbourliness, to limit visits from That Family (they know who they are) to an optimal one per year. We might do well, too, to take a page from Riff Raff Sam’s book. The camel Sam rides is, as camels are wont to be, a stubborn creature that refuses to stop when he wants it to stop, and refuses to start when he wants it to start. Sam’s classic motivational technique is to whack it across the head to get its attention, then growl: “When I say ‘whoa’, I mean ‘whoa’. When I say ‘go’, I mean ‘go.’”
I am in no way suggesting acts of violence toward our Royal visitors, of course, no matter how pernicious their ancestors’ theft of the Crown from the legitimate heir. But when we say ‘whoa’ and ‘go’, they should know we mean it.