When I was in junior high school, Prince Charles married Diana Spencer, and every girl at my school was swooning over the whole marrying-a-prince fantasy. Every boy at my school only cared about not being last to the monkey bars at recess and therefore being “it” first in a 10-minute game of tag.
Not only did I not care about that wedding or any wedding at that age, but I couldn’t figure out why any country still had royalty or bowed down to other humans. In fact, I still think it’s a little crazy to consider another human being royalty.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I got my royal invitation last week for the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I’m probably gonna skip it because I hate getting dressed up in anything that doesn’t go with flip-flops.
Still, I feel like I at least owe the kids a gift. As much as I don’t get the whole royalty concept, I do think Princess Di’s two boys turned out pretty well and set a good example by continuing her legacy of reaching out to the less fortunate.
I’ve been shopping for the kids in the Cracker Barrel gift shop, Dollar General and Smiley’s Flea Market, but I just haven’t been able to find something that screams “royal wedding.”
Fortunately, they just gave me a pass. The royal couple — obviously having been tipped off that I was shopping for them — has asked folks to donate to a charity in lieu of sending them a gift.
Dang! Right when I start to get annoyed with the idea of royalty, they go and do something that makes sense and causes me not to hate them.
We don’t all have the luxuries of Harry and Meghan and their royal kinfolk, but most of us have our needs met. We don’t need more stuff. We should all request that folks give to charity instead of bestowing gifts and more stuff upon us. Thankfully, a lot of folks already do this, and I see many folks using their birthdays as an opportunity to fundraise for charities on Facebook.
This is especially important this year with charitable giving expected to decline in 2018. That’s partly due to tax reform that has decreased the number of folks who will be itemizing deductions on their next tax returns due to the increased standard deduction.
Meanwhile, the rich getting richer would seem to be a potential windfall for charities. They have more to give. Unfortunately, Americans in the top 20 percent give at less than half the rate of the most generous segment of Americans — the bottom 20 percent.
It turns out that as the rich get richer, they tend to hoard the wealth. There are exceptions, of course, but not enough of them. Meanwhile, the poor see the problems all around them and, percentage-wise, give far more of their income to help those in need. If the rich gave overall at the same rate as the poor, we could knock out an awful lot of problems in this country and elsewhere.
Harry and Meghan, of course, have selected seven charities to which they want their money to go. I’d never heard of a single one of them, but they all sound like good causes.
So, if you were planning to give Harry and Meghan a new toaster, a fondue pot or a delicious summer sausage, consider a gift in their honor to a charitable organization instead.
Of course, you may not run in high-class circles like I do and may not have gotten an invitation to the royal hitching. If not, consider yourself invited to give to my nearly-as-important birthday in a couple of months.
I could use a new hammock, a bottle of tequila or a pirate flag to hang at my grilling pad. But I’ll probably take care of those myself. Like Harry and Meghan, I’ve got enough stuff. So, give to those who don’t have enough stuff — stuff like food, shelter and education.