— After eight years of speculation, five months of preparation, and one cringe-inducing Lifetime movie, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding day is finally here.
Almost everything is in order for Friday morning’s ceremony. The seating assignments have been finalized, a Palace servant has carefully polished Prince Charles’ ear creases, and Westminster Abbey has been swept almost as thoroughly as the Knicks.
Almost 2,000 guests were invited, mostly dignitaries, heads of state and the most unrecognizable collection of Royals east of Kansas City. Another 2 billion will tune in to the Vow Swap of the Century, a bigger crowd of sofa sitters than Super Bowl XLV’s record-setting audience and bigger than the estimated billion who watched India’s final two games in the Cricket World Cup.
Meanwhile, London has spent months preparing for more than half a million additional international tourists. “Who endures a transatlantic flights and airplane alfredo sauce just to watch somebody else’s wedding?” I asked myself, because I live alone and that’s what I do. “At least if these weirdos get out of their houses, their cats can’t devour them in their sleep.”
Then I emptied the cereal box into my 2004 World Series commemorative bowl, splashed milk on my officially licensed NHL All-Star Game T-shirt and ignored my breakfast while I scrolled through the latest NFL draft projections.
That’s when it hit me.
How is being crazy about all things Westminster Abbey any different than being a self-proclaimed sports addict? Being a fan is being a fan, whether you’re into a 28-year-old Royal named Prince William or a 26-year-old Brewer named Prince Fielder.
That argument won’t stop the Kater-haters from shouting things like "GOING TO LONDON FOR THE WEDDING IS CRAZY/EXPENSIVE/CRAZY EXPENSIVE."
It can’t be more, um, crazy expensive than when I blew two months’ rent, canceled my health insurance and collected my plasma in Gladware containers so I could score World Series tickets. Twice.
The face value price for Super Bowl tickets this year ranged from $600 to $1,900, and demand on secondary resellers pushed some lower level seats into five-digit territory. Meanwhile, British Airways is offering a Royal Wedding package for $819, which includes round-trip airfare from New York to London and three nights in a hotel. Nobody slept in Cowboys Stadium, except maybe Pittsburgh’s secondary.
"BUT THEY CAN’T EVEN GET IN TO THE CEREMONY! THEY’LL HAVE TO STAND OUTSIDE!" You mean like the fans who shelled out $200 for Party Plaza tickets at the Super Bowl? The ones who parked themselves on temporary bleachers and watched the game on oversized HDTVs?
Because if you swap the helmets for fancy hats, that’s the same situation you’ll see in London on Friday. Giant screens have been placed in Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square and other spots where you’ll find people with fresh passport stamps. The cost to watch? Zero dollars which, even with the exchange rate, is still zero.
"BUT PEOPLE ARE SETTING THEIR ALARMS AND FIXING SPECIAL MEALS AND DRESSING UP FOR THIS!" Yeah, I think they call that tailgating? And yes, there are parties planned all over the country, where Royal revelers will spend the otherwise infomercial-only hours wearing their Sunday best.
That still sounds a lot saner than Packers fans who wedge their skulls into plastic blocks of cheddar. Or the Hoggettes who shout at Daniel Snyder through their rubber pig snouts. Or the parts of Raider Nation that dress up like Hell’s Doormen or whatever those spiked shoulder pad-and-platform boot ensembles are supposed to be.
“BUT THERE’S A GUY ALREADY CAMPING OUT IN FRONT OF WESTMINSTER ABBEY! DUMB!" You’re right. That would only be normal if, instead of sleeping on the sidewalk for a week, he stayed in a tent for two weeks waiting for b-ball tickets in Duke’s Krzyzewskiville. With his over-the-top outfit and willingness to sacrifice personal hygiene, Royal superfan John Loughrey is a thin layer of blue body paint from being a Cameron Crazy.
And 10 p.m. Wednesday — by the time Loughrey has stayed three days at the No Roof Inn — people in New York will start lining up for tickets to Thursday night’s NFL draft. Which is dumber? Watching a couple’s wedding ceremony or taking a day off from work so you can boo the career choice of a 20-year-old kid?
“THIS WEDDING HYPE IS STILL WEIRD.” No, weird is smuggling a dead octopus into a hockey game so you can lob it onto the ice at an agreed-upon time. Trust me, nobody standing along William and Kate’s carriage route is going to have an unconscious invertebrate in their souvenir tote bag.
“BUT …” But nothing. For Anglo-Aficionados and Gossip Collectors, the Royal Wedding is a daylong Fan Fest, an All-Star Game that has a seating chart instead of a lineup sheet.
Saying you’re a "fan" of something is the snack-sized way of saying you’re a fanatic. Whether it’s the future King of England or the current Kings of Sacramento, you shouldn’t have to explain or justify your interests in order to enjoy them.
Unless you’re really into soccer. Now that’s weird.