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THINGS THAT WILL CHANGE WHEN I’M RUNNING THE WORLD

When I’m running the world there’s going to be some changes around here. For one thing, there won’t be a list of ingredients for bottled water. Maybe that seems like a small thing but that’s one of the things that bugs me, all those zeros next to calories, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and the like. It’s basically a list of nothing. It’s just water and if anyone needs a further explanation, well, what can you say about people like that? If someone doesn’t understand the concept of water there’s no sense wasting your breath explaining it, never mind all that ink on the labels. Just hand them a broom and instruct them to try to make themselves as useful as such people can be.

Of course they might need broom instructions, but after a week or so they’ll get the hang of it. That’s another thing I’d change, all those warning and instruction labels on things like buckets, cigarette lighters, toys with no moving parts, shampoo and all the things that have been around for as long as civilization has. Anybody that needs instructions to wash their own hair might want to join my Broom Brigade. And anyone who’s life is in peril when using a bucket is a prime candidate for the thinning of the herd. In my Brave New World, you cannot lay claim to being an adult if you don’t realize that an open flame can be dangerous, with or without a warning label to tell you so.

And when I’m running things I’m going to find the guy that put those stickers on the rear view mirrors of our cars warning us of the relative size of that eighteen-wheeler barreling down on us and hand him a broom too. Didn’t he realize that people are pretty much aware of how big most things are? If it was him who had a problem gauging the size of objects even small children can judge accurately from any distance, how did he get to be in charge of the Annoying Label Administration? Did he think that drivers were cavemen awe-struck at the sight of a mirror, thinking maybe the magic glass captured tiny cars and pedestrians? And if that’s what he was thinking, why did he print the label in English instead of putting some sort of cave painting symbols on there? Maybe a baby Wooly Mammoth superimposed on an adult Wooly Mammoth. But that would be an abstract idea, a bit beyond cavemen’s abilities, wouldn’t it? So much for that idea, which is what the mirror label guy should have told himself in the first place and did something productive with his time, like tidying up.

Outside of poisons, medicines and complex machinery, I will ban warning labels and tell people to figure out for themselves what is and is not harmful or fatal if swallowed or whether or not it’s okay to stand on the paint tray of their step ladders. I’m sure the emergency rooms will have no change whatsoever in treating stupidity-related injuries. Most people figure things out pretty well for themselves. As for those who don’t? Well, no amount of warning labels or patient instruction will change them. Ask the people who run the emergency rooms. Those they treat for stupid injuries are either small children who cannot read yet anyway or adults in sore need of two quick slaps. So don’t burden the rest of us with warning labels on checkerboards and hot cups of coffee.

Another thing I’d change is allowing computer companies to “upgrade” the operating system you’re used to for no reason at all. Or barring that, I’d insist they give you the option of keeping Windows ’98 or whichever one you were happy with. And being the boss of the world, I’d do this for my mother. Her new computer has a so-called advanced operating system that won’t do the things her old one did nor will it recognize the games she likes that are installed in her computer and that she paid good money for to the same company that changed her system without asking permission. That’s not progress, that’s just annoying, and greedy to boot. I’d order these computer wizards to stop forcing the public to dance to their incomprehensible tune simply because they can.

Nobody really gives a rat’s ass about all the things that computers are capable of doing and in a dozen lifetimes would never use most of the features these people think are “neat.” I’d encourage the geeks in the software industry to think Useful, Entertaining and Responsive when it comes to computers in people’s houses and leave the electronic parlor tricks to themselves and NASA. And I’d also order them to lose their cutie pie baby talk and learn to speak the language like a grown up. Maybe get out more and mix with civilians, see what the world is like, maybe even get a date. You really do give people the creeps, you know. Don’t keep letting my mother down either or you’ll be sweeping her sidewalk.

Besides, what’s the point of being the boss of the whole world if you can’t do something for your mother? After all, it was she who taught me how to survive without any warning labels, instilling me instead with common sense and an admonition not to run with scissors. So far, so good. I’m still alive and I’ve never put anybody’s eye out. I have yet to be fooled by a mirror, have not swallowed any bleach and haven’t been stumped by the complexities of a toaster. Thanks, Mom.

I’d also put the brakes on the war on fat people. Do they offend anybody? Is it anyone else’s business what size clothes anybody else wears? Some of my best friends are fat. And who’s to say that someday people won’t start coming after skinny people like me? So I’d call off that war immediately and stop telling people what they can and can’t do with their own damned selves. I think everybody pretty much knows that doughnuts have a ton of calories and skim milk not so much. And if some joker wants to punch 53 holes in his face and adorn himself with all manner of silver rings, I say let him. He’s the one who’s got to get through the metal detector at the airport, not me. And if said metal head wants to tattoo every square inch of his body, I won’t stop him and I’ll try not to laugh too loud as he ages and that naked beauty that adorns his chest sags and wrinkles until she looks like Barbara Walters in the nude. And old age lasts a long time these days, Flash, so think hard about all that body art you’ll staring at in the mirror for decades.

When I’m running the big show I’ll let comedians tell any sort of joke that they like no matter who finds it offensive. People can vote with their feet and walk out on the comic if they don’t like what he or she is saying or turn the channel, it will be just that simple. And I won’t stop anybody in Hollywood who wants to make an honest movie or television show, if there is such a person. In real life, the last time I checked, there are very few workplaces that have a member of every ethnic group on their staffs. Kudos to those places who do, but let’s not pretend that’s the norm and we’re all lovey-dovey. There’s a reason why laws had to be passed in regards to civil rights and hate crimes and equal opportunity and the reason is us.

And speaking of showbiz, I feel very strongly that something must be done about Tom Cruise. Maybe he’s one instance where a warning label may be appropriate. Either that or hand him a broom. I’m sure he’ll figure out a way to use it better that other people who don’t have the benefit of being the #2 man in Scientology, making him pretty much an expert on everything that happens to cross his wandering mind, presumably sweeping included. Which you have to admit is pretty amazing for a guy who barely graduated high school at the fourth one he attended. He’ll make an excellent Broom Brigade instructor.

I’ll also order newspapers to feature a certain amount of actual news or change their titles to gossip magazines. Headlines about drunken blonde bimbos, psychotic celebrities like Tom Cruise, fat cops and how much a presidential candidate pays for a haircut don’t qualify as news. If I want a good laugh I read the comic strips or read a Bill O’Rightly column. I’d apply the same rules to network and cable news broadcasts. Not that I’d ban gossip reporting, people seem to like that stuff, I’d just make them change the title of their shows to reflect their content.

I’ll know if they took me seriously when they start hiring real journalists whether or not they look like game show hosts and boat show models. When a fat bald guy or a not particularly attractive woman who both happen to be very smart gets to be a news anchor I’ll know they’re serious. If they don’t listen, they can take instruction from Mr. Cruise on the optimum way to sweep up around here. Under my watch this place will be very tidy indeed.

Another thing I’ll tackle is the whole designated hitter fiasco in Major League Baseball. I say the hell with the designated hitter and let the pitcher take his hacks at the plate. Don’t forget, the greatest hitter ever, Babe Ruth, started his career as a pitcher. As far as the steroid issue, well, I’d let them take all they want, just out of curiosity to see just how big a human head can actually grow. It will be like those giant pumpkin-growing competitions, very amusing indeed. Unfortunately the brain doesn’t keep pace with the head growth so I suppose a lot of these human Clydesdales have their brains rattling around those big melons on their massive shoulders, but that’s the chance they take when they decide to imitate The Incredible Hulk, who’s not all that sharp either.

With our other major sports, I’d decree that their playoff schedule must not exceed the length of their regular season. What are basketball and hockey up to these days, fifteen rounds or so of playoffs good for months on end? Either that or let them assemble whatever team they can assemble, and immediately eliminate those teams who have no chance at all, skip the whole season and go directly to the playoffs. That would sure spare Knicks fans 82 games of grief. In football I’d knock off that two-week wait between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, thus sparing all sports fans all those insipid stories about players’ wives, traveling team secretaries and the guy who wears the silly team mascot suit, to say nothing of the interviews with the football players themselves.

Those inarticulate steroid-crazed giants only make fools of themselves when they actually try to put two coherent sentences together. Why embarrass them and expose their former universities as farm teams for the NFL, or if they deny that, forcing these football academies to admit what horrible schools they must be to produce such mumbling buffoons? “We’re gonna show who’s #1,” “We give 110%” and “We came here to play football” hardly qualify as insightful comments. You came to play football? Oh, really? That’s certainly a relief, and sort of what everyone was hoping for, no? I don’t think anybody tunes in to the Super Bowl to watch a ping pong tournament or a half time show with aging rock stars lip synching their greatest hits while fireworks set their hair extensions on fire, although I would encourage a little more tits and ass ala’ Janet Jackson. This way if the game is a lopsided bore like so many Super bowls are you can rewind the tape to some entertaining light porn.

What about soccer? Well, what about it? I only pay attention to major sporting events, not 22 guys running back and forth willy-nilly for an hour or so and producing maybe one goal if they’re lucky. It’s no wonder that announcer guy nearly has a stoke and shouts “Goooaaalll” for twenty minutes or so when the ball happens to find its way into the net once in a blue moon. That’s fine for children learning coordination, teamwork and the utter futility of so many of life’s endeavors, but as far as soccer players displaying any impressive athletic skills, well, I haven’t noticed any. The fact that it’s the most popular sport in the world doesn’t impress me. Tom Cruise is a popular movie star. That doesn’t make him sane. McDonald’s is a popular restaurant and that doesn’t make their food anything to write home about. So enough about soccer and popularity. Like I said, this is about when I’m running the world, not you. I barely tolerate hockey, so forget kick ball.

What else would I change in sports? I’d make all the different sanctioning bodies in boxing merge so we don’t have two or three different “world” champs in every weight class. Either you’re the champion of the world or you’re not the champion of the world, period. Let the boxing broadcasters yap all they want about the best pound for pound fighter of all time or currently or even in the future for all I care, but make the so-called multiple champions in every weight class get ready to rumble and see who’s best. I’d also eliminate some of the weight classes. What’s a cruiserweight? A yacht, maybe? What’s a super bantamweight, some kind of rooster? And what could a junior flyweight weigh, 50 or 60 pounds, tops? The average twelve year-old could kick their ass. All these new weight classes are simply excuses to create more champions, thus diluting that once meaningful and definitive title. And I’d hand Larry Merchant a broom too. A duller and more pompous boxing commentator never lived, if living was how you’d describe his existence.

When I run the world rich people will pay the same amount of taxes everywhere. There will be no tax shelters anywhere and no countries where they can hide their dough. This might mean the Cayman Islands will have to go back to relying on on tourism but maybe I’ll throw them a bone and hollow out a mountain there for James Bond villains to live in while they plot my overthrow. They always have a ton of henchman around so the Caymans can make money selling them scuba gear and exotic cats. Any Bond villain worth his salt likes to have a strange looking cat on his lap while he laughs his Bwoo-hahaha evil laugh. But like all rich guys on my watch, he’ll have to pony up his fair share of taxes or I send in Bond, James Bond. And we all know how that turns out for hollow mountain-dwelling evil geniuses.

As far as Switzerland goes, they’ll also be out of the money-hiding business. The Swiss people will just have to redouble their efforts at making watches, chocolate, cheese with holes in it and those handy Swiss Army knives with the corkscrews. You have to figure that’s why they never fight in wars. Any nation that gives its soldiers a corkscrew as part of their standard issue equipment is wise to remain neutral when a shooting war starts. First they start with the wine drinking, then they put on the liederhosen, then comes the dancing and yodeling and before they know it they’re surrounded, which is probably why they are a landlocked nation situated at the top of the Alps where only mountain goats and extreme snowboarders feel at home. With nowhere else to go it’s no wonder the Swiss went into the banking business.

Now they’ll have another reason to remain neutral. When I run the world I won’t outlaw war, but I will require that the only people that can fight in them must be at least 60 years old and have a lot of money. I’ll also outlaw any weapon in warfare other than small wooden clubs like those miniature baseball bats teams hand out on Bat Day. With only rich old people allowed to go to war, that should take care of that nasty business in a hurry. Or if the rich old farts are really determined to fight a war, it ought to be pretty entertaining for a change instead of horrific. Hell, I’d even televise the whole thing and give everybody a real comedy treat, better than the Three Stooges.

So with no wars and rich people paying their taxes there will be a lot more money around to feed the hungry. Better yet, teach everybody to read first, then how to grow crops, irrigate fields and raise farm animals. And try to convince some people that maybe the desert isn’t the best place to locate your farm. Probably the only reason you’re living in that desert in the first place is that your ancestors lost a war a very long time ago, the winners of said war taking up residence in the fertile parts of the world where your people used to live. I don’t think your ancestors planned for you to remain in a barren place forever where you can’t feed your children.

Stay there if you insist, but don’t come bitching to me when you notice the rest of the world gaining weight while you waste away in your hut trying to keep the dust out of your eyes. We’ll send you enough food to live and a bunch of brooms to deal with the dust. That ought to keep them busy for a long, long time. And when their children grow up, now that they’re educated maybe they’ll figure out there are more hospitable places around to live your life and that it’s no badge of honor to bang your head against a wall for centuries on end. Just a thought.

I’m not promising a paradise when I’m running things, except maybe for me. But I will try to have things make sense. The things that don’t make any sense are generally there for a reason, that reason being that the majority of people will spend a lot of time trying to figure stuff out and fighting with one another over who’s right while a tiny minority scoops up the land and the wealth while the rest of us are so distracted. And the last thing that tiny minority wants is for people to realize they’ve been played and the enemy is not some other poor shnook with a different color skin or a different religion.

Every war is a scam to make somebody richer at your expense and every hate campaign is a tool carefully designed to keep us at one another’s throats. Ever wonder why even the most rabid racist will say that such-and-such a kind of people are the scum of the earth except for Joe, who he knows and likes? He’s “one of the good ones,” they’ll tell you. Well, multiply Joe by everybody in that such-and-such group and the odds are they’re all pretty good people, and maybe a lot of them hate your particular group for no good reason too, except of course the individuals they got to know personally. More “good ones,” more Joes, the exceptions to the rule? You tell me.

And the next time you pass a mansion with a big wall surrounding it and armed guards protecting the guy who lives there ask yourself why he needs all this protection in his own country among his own people. Is there something he doesn’t want you know about? Is there a pressing reason why he travels around with bodyguards and mixes only with his fellow rich people? Other than his money and expensive toys, what else does he need to protect that the police force can’t help him with? Oh, yeah, that would be the whole idea that we’re all supposed to hate each other for no reason and make it easy for these people to scoop up all the marbles while we’re arguing over the rules of the game. Most likely they’ll hire one of us to do the scooping for them, too, and we’ll hand it over without asking why. When I’m running the world, the walls come down and the blinders come off.

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