First off, I will vote myself in by a landslide garnering at least 90% of the popular vote. I will allow the (remaining) unpopular vote to be divided between Alfred E. Neuman and Vladimir Putin. Upon my conflagration, I promise to enact the following changes:
1) I will require that all roads be lined at least two thirds of their length with trees. As part of my rule, it will be necessary that such vegetation be allowed to develop in a natural fashion. Arcing boughs will extend over the pavement forming periodic green tunnels. Highways will not be designed for speed but for enjoying travel; constructed with long gentle curves that take advantage of every panoramic and pastoral setting. No billboards will be allowed; only informational notices. The formerly ubiquitous Burma Shave signage are to be reinstated along with occasional groupings of picnic tables set in shady groves. Speed limits will be governed by cables buried in the pavement and confined to a leisurely fifty-five miles per hour thus allowing the driver to appreciate scenic pleasures also.
In addition, all means of travel will be required to have those triangular vent windows that were once installed on all vehicles. Then everyone may again enjoy the gush of air across their body as they travel, diminishing the need for air conditioning while allowing outside air in. By reducing purchases of Abrams battle tanks from all national offense funds, governments can cover these costs.
Mobile phones will be available for use only in genuine emergencies. Travelers’ destinations will become only part of any journey’s gratification as trips will take on more of an aesthetic function. ‘How long did it take?’ will be displaced by descriptions of how many birds were seen, what kind of clouds sailed the sky, and remembered conversations enjoyed along the way.
2) As King of the World I’ll also make it an imperative that members of both sexes are schooled and licensed as fit for parenting before being able to conceive. Those opposed to this rule would be among the first groups to be trained. As of this writing, it is much more difficult to purchase a gun, become qualified to be a hairdresser, or spray chemicals into the environment than it is to make babies. Emotional maturity, patience, and the ability to consistently give love and care to a small person will become the qualifying criteria for becoming a parent. Financial ability will be a very secondary consideration and monetary assistance is to be available for those otherwise qualified. If family and friends are in short supply for the competent parent(s), help will be made available in the form of nannies, foster aunts and uncles, along with those skilled in the inestimable art of growing children.
3) Just after my conflagration, I will make it a requirement that the “Official Language” of each state be the one that was dominant in the year 1500 around the area of the current capitol. This would help eliminate the periodic concern of cultural pollution that occurs as new waves of immigrants arrive. By popular vote every five years, there would be an option to choose Latin as the non-political, non-secular, non-appropriate language.
4) I will, as King of the World, enjoin everyone at some point in their life to experience the bliss of a hot air balloon ride. I particularly favor this rule because I’ve yet to partake such a journey myself and I want plenty of amiable companionship on my trip. For those who fear heights, counseling will be made available to provide a period of adjustment. If therapy does not benefit those who fret, then an alternative method of personal giddiness will be encouraged such as sailing, kite flying, or swinging. The underlying purpose is an intent to keep all peoples in routine touch with the gaiety of childhood.
5) In addition to the above, I will insist that the currently popular phrase “Respect Life” is broadened beyond Homo sapiens to include all life. To that avail, I will set aside eighty percent of the land surface and ninety-five percent of all water area as private reserves for flora and fauna other than people. Travel through and into those areas is to be carefully monitored and restricted so that complex ecological systems are not disturbed by human footprints. Harvesting of life forms and minerals for human consumption will only be allowed in a manner that respects the environment and preserves any species being affected. (This includes ticks, sharks, and snakes.)
6) Use of mobile phones, computers, tablets (any electronic device for that matter) during meal times will be outlawed. Violators will be zapped by taser-armed drones that will be on continual overhead duty.
7) As King of the World, I will alter the long standing tradition of being born, living, and then dying. Quite simply, I’ll reverse that traditional order so that everyone will come into this world by dying. Then, each person will be able to appreciate all the sentiments, eulogies, and floral arrangements for themselves from their respective funerals. If such accolades are in short supply (i.e. pallbearers have been paid to carry one’s corpse), then the dearly departed now have a chance to make amends. Dying into this world will give everyone an opportunity to mend regrets and to do those things we would have done differently “if we just had the chance.”
It will also become permissible for each person to keep their acquired wisdom with them as they became younger; ultimately leaving this world by actually being born. This would help rid our lexicon of that old saying that “Youth is wasted on the young.” Birth is, of course, almost always a joyous occasion and generally a much happier manner in which to depart this earth. As an essential characteristic of this new way of dying and being born, everyone would keep their childhood laughter as a normal way of communicating joy and thus serve as an emotional wellspring of mirth. (I’m confident this would be one of my most popular dicta.)
8) I will make an immediate maxim that narrow-minded thinking must be replaced with open-mindedness. (Sorry, folks, my call as to the description of what constitutes having an open mind.)
9) Unease about money and financial well-being willl naturally be one of the primary concerns in any domain. I will allow each individual a choice between being wealthy or penniless (no more of this middle-class stuff). If one chooses wealth, they could have that experience until they completely (all wealthy trial periods limited to five years!) appreciated riches and then would be required to experience being poor. Once they had mastered (minimum ten year period) the worries of the unfortunate, they then could decide what is best for them in terms of financial well-being. For those not understanding any part of the lesson, it will be mandated that they be required to repeat their prior existence “Groundhog Day” style until they get it ‘right’. As part of this law, any person who has annual income of greater than one million dollars in any given year will be required to place the overage in a lottery system for the poorest folks. Sorry, I know all the multi-millionaires “earned it”, but no loopholes on this one.
10) I’ll ask the brightest scientists of the world to come up with brain and penile implants that will negate, inhibit, and prevent imposed views (other than my own), rape, and hurts (verbal, physical, and emotional) to all children under the age of 150 years.
11) Finally, as King of the World, I will confine my reign to a period of no more than one month. By then my improvements will have caused adequate angst, anger, and acrimony, particularly among those who relish such emotions. For these folks, I will mandate the companionship of one ‘I love you unconditionally’ dog. Each of these malcontents will be monitored to see that they are subjected to a five-minute licking (by the dog) twice a day.
Having completed my objectives, I will retire to the mountains of western North Carolina and await my execution my well-meaning zealots. As part of my last request, I will ask for a brief opportunity (seven days) to enjoy the fruits of my improvements without the additional pressure of having to come up with, and then implement, better ideas.
For my last meal, I will request fried chicken, fried okra, and fried apple pie. In order that my brain be fried upon my demise, I will also ask for copious amounts of nitrous oxide to be administered by twenty dancing girls. ( I won’t object if the quantity of female lovelies is increased to twenty-one.)
P.S. I’ve also decided that each time there is reasonable precipitation (you know, snow, sleet, hail, or rain) in an area, all humans will be given the option to stop whatever it is that they’re doing, relax in whatever fashion is appropriate for them, and enjoy nature’s interlude. Choices of where to appreciate this respite (a front porch, under the covers, or in the arms of a lover) will be left up to each individual.
Having spent almost all of my life (before becoming King of the World) planting trees, shrubs, and groundcovers, I will want those elements to be my legacy. No plaques, memorials, or oil-splattered roadways in my name, PLEASE! Instead I’ll opt for the hopeful legacy of beauty that those plants will give to future generations.
12 thoughts on “If I Were King of the World”
Dear King Doug,
Would you consider this addendum to No. 6? Televisions may only be turned on for 1 hour a day and NEVER during meals. Video games will be banned as will any movie with a rating below PG-13.
Your loyal subject
Yes, as long as I can watch ‘R’ rated movies at other times of day.
You have my vote, but I need more than one month of service.
Well, if I can get another plurality of votes on the second go ’round, I’ll consider extending my reign into an absolute dictatorship!
You have my vote. Your crown in on order.
Blessings to you my child! May your garden be bountiful this season!
I enjoyed your latest post with my coffee. I don’t understand what you meant by “Upon my conflagration…” I looked up conflagration and it means great destructive fire. Please enlighten me, King Doug.
In this absurdity, “conflagration” is intended as a malapropism (a ludicrous misuse of a word). Thouest is nowest enlghtenend !
I truly have enjoyed your Blog, especially this brilliantly written story. I vote right now for you to be “King of the World.” It would certainly be a more enjoyable and safer place to live.
I forwarded this story and your Blog address to both my children. I know they will love it as much as I did. Annel
Dear Annel, It is comforting to know that, not only are you a loyal subject, but that you are helping to extend my kingdom near and far! However, if you will be so kind, please address me as ‘Supreme Allied Commander’. Dwight Eisenhower isn’t using it any more.
Excellent campaign platform. Would “Lord Master of the Universe” be more appropriate?
Until I get more experience, I think that I should confine my kingdom to this world.