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Making London Guards Laugh

London Guards, also known as Beefeaters, have a world renowned reputation for being able to show no emotion while they are on duty. This reputation leads many visitors to London, England, to try their hand at breaking through the stoic façade of one of the guards.

They come in droves armed with jokes, gags, or funny nose with glasses. But the guard remain statuesque. The assaults fall futily at their feet. Given this long-standing tradition, on my first trip to this historic city I brought along the goal of making one of those Beefeaters laugh. I wasn't holding my breath...

Call it Beginner's Luck

While touring through London my first view of these noble guards came from afar. Seeing them only for a moment while passing by Buckingham Palace. My anticipation grew for my chance to get up close. That moment came at the Tower of London. I was with a friend and we were just checking out the crown jewels, as any good tourist would. I didn't have a plan, or even any type of strategy. What I do have in bounds is luck, and fortune proceeded to smile upon me that day.

Walking out of the Tower, the gathering crowds made it apparent a Changing of the Guards was about to occur. So we found a place in the crowd and waited. Our chosen location could not have been more perfect. The ceremony commenced. The guards began marching. Suddenly, we became concerned. To our surprise, the guards were marching right at us! The crowd parted, allowing them to pass and I was about to be up close and personal with the guards. They make quite imposing figures in their full uniforms. With them forcefully moving towards us, I was in no state to attempt to break their composure. But the surprises kept coming...

Their choreographed march took them toward us more than once. The first pass held true to expectations, a confident and bold military march. The march came with an unexpected twist. As they approached again, the march took on the appearance of what I can best describe as a duck waddle. To say the least, this disolved the solemnity of the occasion, for me anyway. I started breaking out into laughter, though I was trying to hold it back. The changing of the guard is serious business. Seeing a grown man in a big black furry hat waddle like a duck towards you makes it very difficult to keep a straight face. So, in my defense, they made me laugh first.

The guard then made the mistake that led to his downfall. He made eye contact with me. Me, standing in front of him choking back laughter as he waddled on. You can say a lot with just a look. Then it happened. His lips pulled back trying to conceal the smile, but it was too late. He was confronted squarely by the ridicolous nature of the situation as he looked at me. You could see the laughter trying to escape. Slowly welling up. Working its way to the surface, until... Laughter!

It came in the form of a snicker. All I could do now was share a look of amazement with my friend at what we just heard. The guard took the break in the moment to quickly regain his composure and continued with his solemn waddling. The guards were changed, the goal accomplished, and the memory everlasting. I hope the guard wasn't fired.

-Tale Provided Courtesy of smallChaos Adventures

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