No one is more surprised than me that an invitation to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding this weekend has yet to appear in my mailbox. Actually, no one is surprised but me. Nevertheless, I’m still surprised.
We don’t actually know each other, although for years I’ve often imagined that the former first daughter and I have led parallel lives. As such, I thought she might know about me and feel the same way, too, and want me to be among the guests at her nuptials this Saturday. (To the Secret Service: This should in no way be constituted as a threat.)
Hers might boast former and current titles like governor, senator, president of the United States, secretary of state, New York Times best-selling authors, and defendants, but I too have high-profile parents. At one time my dad was arguably the winningest bridge player on the 7:28 a.m. express train from Mamaroneck to Grand Central Terminal. And my mom easily racked up more World’s Best Teacher mugs than any other educators at Central School in Larchmont. So like Chelsea, I understand all too well how it feels to live under a global microscope fraught with issues such as transportation, commerce, education and politics.
Chelsea once famously wore Versace, straightened her hair and hung out in Paris with Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow. I, too, have had my hair straightened, am aware that the Versace clothing line exists and traveled to Paris (twice).
We’ve both demonstrated academic distinction: She skipped the third grade; I stumbled through all the grades.
After finishing college, Chelsea and I each made extraordinary marks in the real world. She joined the prestigious consulting firm McKinsey & Co., where, for a starting salary of $120,000, she helped advise leading companies on issues of strategy, organization, technology and operations. I became an NBC page, wore a uniform only slightly more attractive than standard-issue prison garb, and for $9.23 an hour gave tours of all the locations in 30 Rock in which John Belushi snorted lines of cocaine and pointed out fire exits and where Seinfeld T-shirts were available for purchase.
While she spent her formative years in the White House, I grew up in a house in Westchester County, N.Y., that had some white trim. And now her parents call Westchester County home. It all comes full circle.
Further completing the connection, almost four years after I tied the knot, Chelsea is preparing for the details of her wedding to make a big splash in the news in the next couple of days. News of my wedding also made a big splash in the days leading up to it. Actually, technically it was a big splash that made the news in the days before my wedding when a tropical storm passed through town and waves crashed up and over the seawall onto the lawn at the site of the ceremony. In fact, the green grass turned brown. But she needn’t worry about that too much — photographers should be able to Photoshop the lawn green for her, too, if necessary.
If I had been invited, I would have passed along to Chelsea the same advice given to me on my wedding day, which is to take it all in and try to remember each little moment. After all, this is her parents’ big day, and who knows when they’ll have occasion again to get all dressed up and be surrounded by world leaders and Hollywood elite.
When her father addresses the crowd, er, makes a toast, Chelsea should also check with the director ahead of time to ensure that the TelePrompTer is cued up to the right place and that the stage manager is given strict instructions to give him the high sign if he exceeds 45 minutes. You know, basic bridal stuff.
Lastly, if I were Chelsea, I’d open Oprah’s gift before the main course is served. That way, if it’s something lame, like a crockpot, she can withhold her short ribs or sea bass (I’m not privy to which one Oprah checked off on the RSVP card). After all, chick owns half the free world — she can do better by Chelsea than a set of champagne flutes or dish towels.
Oprah should take a page out of my book and be generous. I sent Chelsea the four-piece Toaster Oven Baking Set from Crate and Barrel. It was actually only $19.95, so I hope she wasn’t expecting something more. Of course I expected an invitation, so we can just call it even.
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