Saturday, October 1, 2011

Shopping for the King's Wedding

It is very difficult to shop for a head of state, especially a Buddhist one. What do you get for the man who has everything and wants nothing? A man who measures the wealth of his kingdom with the phrase "Gross National Happiness"? After much discussion at Wheaton, we decided it should be something Wheaton-specific so that His Majesty will know his alma mater wishes him well on this most auspicious occasion. I poked around in the Wheaton bookstore a bit, and considered a very nice pair of shot glasses.

Then I thought, maybe his lovely bride, Jetsun, would like some Wheaton paraphernalia as well. And being 21, the same age as a lot of our students, I thought perhaps a Wheaton t-shirt. How about this? I asked Jim.

Or these?

The final decision was a nice woven Wheaton blanket. But then the next challenge: a card. Next time you're in a card store, browse through the wedding cards and imagine picking one out for the king of a tiny Himalayan country where people still dress in traditional garb and polygamy is acceptable. Would it be this?

Or maybe this:

You see the problem. I settled on...none of them, and instead wrote a note on an elegantly simple blank note card. It took all my energy to resist writing something fun or clever. He is, after all, a revered and benevolent king whose father basically made himself less important to Bhutan by creating a democratic government (still a work in progress). See? There's that whole Buddhist thing: less is more.

I hope he likes the blanket and perhaps enjoys explaining to his bride why it appeared among their gifts. "Aaahh," Jigme will say, remembering himself as a lad of 18. "Norton, Massachusetts. I remember the Honey Dew Donuts shop".

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