A bit of British humor — could you be a royal?
You might think that marrying a member of the royal family would be enough to become a British citizen, but as good as that looks on an application, Meghan Markle is also going to have to take a test. This requirement came in after I got my own citizenship, which is just as well, because if I’d flunked I might have had to return to the States and relearn the difference between right and left (remember that over here, right is left and left is right. You get used to it.)
I have prepared my own multiple choice test, with questions covering a broad range of subjects. If you pass, consider yourself an honorary Brit. If no answer looks exactly correct, just choose the one that sounds best.
1066 is a year that will live in infamy. What happened?
• Knights of the round table accidentally seated at a square table, which was a grave insult at the time.
• Nostradamus predicted The Beatles would break up.
• Real life game of thrones, without the dragons.
Henry VIII is most famous for what reason?
• His six-pack of wives.
• Beheading the poor bloke who started Weight Watchers.
• Exasperating his father, who famously quipped “VIII is enough.”
Update this line from Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” for a modern audience: “It is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels which, by often rumination, wraps me in a most humorous sadness.”
• “It’s raining and I left my brolly down the pub.”
• “The Browns lost again.” (sports team translated for an American audience)
• “President Trump.”
Hugh Grant was acting Prime Minister for three days in March 2007 while Tony Blair was in hospital having his smile modified for wide-screen digital television. True or false?
• Probably true
“God Save the Queen” and what American song surprisingly share a melody but not the lyrics?
• “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”
• “It’s Raining Men”
• The 27th verse of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee”
May 19, 2018, to choose a date completely at random, is shortened to 19/5/18 in this country. Why date/month/year rather than month/date/year as it is in America?
• Anything which confuses Americans unofficially embraced by the government.
• Henry VIII accidentally wrote it that way once and afterward was so embarrassed that he threatened to cut off the head of anybody who did it differently.
• Nobody knows. It was supposed to be fixed along with the year 2000 bug but wasn’t.
When do they raise London Bridge?
• To wash it; it’s easier turning the hose on and letting the water run downhill.
• Whenever too many tourists congregate at either end.
• Trick question for people who are getting it mixed up with Tower Bridge, which is the one that actually gets raised.
How can you spot an American tourist?
• They’re the ones who can’t figure out whether to walk on the left or the right.
• Distracted air due to the effort of constantly converting pounds to dollars then back again to see if there’s been a mistake somewhere.
• Confused by plethora of “Thank yous” at the cashier; eventually lose track and appear passionately grateful for being offered a shopping bag.
• Unaware when commingling with Canadians.
The British often wave to motorists who stop for them at pedestrian crossings. Why is this?
• It’s a small country. Everybody knows everybody else.
• They’ve survived another trip across another road and are grateful.
• If you look closely they’re not actually waving.
Why is a stiff upper lip an indispensable British attribute?
• Serves as an awning so endless British rain does not fall into British mouths.
• Fortification against errant cricket balls.
• Helps keep tea from scalding the eyes should it splash.
Who or what is Big Ben?
• Queen Victoria’s affectionate pet name for her consort’s private parts.
• The tower in the Palace of Westminster which members of Parliament frequently climb to gawp at tourists.
• The bell in the above-referenced tower.
• The tall gentleman who winds the clock every month.
How do you know when you’ve been truly accepted by your British friends?
• They begin to introduce you to their real friends.
• They no longer mime turning down their hearing aid.
• They stop eBaying your cheap American-bought clothes and CDs they’ve borrowed.
Great Britain has a vibrant economy. Name her chief exports.
• Villains for Hollywood movies.
• Tea towels suitable for framing.
• Monty Python jokes.
Which quote taken from classical literature still has the greatest relevance today?
• “To be or not to be,” William Shakespeare.
• “Shaken, not stirred,” Bond James Bond.
• “And so to bed,” Samuel Pepys.
• “Don’t Panic,” Douglas Adams.