Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series
Emperor of Earth
“If I were emperor of Earth, I would change the name of the planet so one wouldn’t confuse it with dirt. Maybe I’ll name it Steveopia.”
A few years ago, I created a little page where I pointed out, with varying degrees of sincerity, some of the things I’d change about life as we know it if I was completely and supremely in charge of the third rock from the sun.
It’s been dormant for a while, so I’m bringing those thoughts together here where I can update them as I wish. Whenever I wish. However I wish. Because … I’m emperor of Earth.
No more slideshows
If I were emperor of Earth, I would forbid those online “slideshows” used to display lists such as the top 10 cities for tow truck operators. Just give us the list without making us reload your advertising over and over.
We heard you
If I were emperor of Earth, I would outlaw use of the phrase, “I’m just saying …”
Stop, look, look again, go
If I were emperor of Earth, it would be legal to proceed after stopping at a red light if it is safe to do so … like right on red. To discourage risk taking, a driver would pay four, five, maybe 10 times the fine if he or she proceeds on red and contributes to an accident.
New, improved Labor Day
If I were emperor of Earth, I would designate a worldwide Labor Day, but I’ll call it Non-Labor Days. Half the workers will get a paid day off one week and the other half the next week. Or a third off each over a three-week period. Like that, we can still go out to eat or catch a movie without making so many people work on the holiday. The person who waits your table will be off next week while you’re at work. In fact, I might do the same with other holidays, like my birthday.
Get one right first
If I were emperor of Earth, I would require each country to pick and use one language, but citizens would actually be expected to know and properly use that language, like the differences between their, there and they’re.
New food group
If I were emperor of Earth, chocolate would not be subject to sales tax.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would invest in research for teleportation … “Beam me over!”
If I were emperor of Earth, football would be football and soccer would be soccer … just to avoid confusion.
… blowing in the wind
If I were emperor of Earth, I would outlaw those annoying leaf blowers.
Have a heart
If I were emperor of Earth, online news outlets would certainly be free to charge or not for their services, with one exception. They would post all obituaries where anyone can read them, no subscription and no registration required.
I no longer do knee bends
If I were emperor of Earth, scientists would be charged with the task of developing something — equipment, drugs, hypnosis … something — so a young adult could experience the common physical pains and challenges of a 60-year-old doing moderate activities. Young adults would be required to endure the experience so old-timers might get a little more respect for what they do or cannot do.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would institute term limits for elected officials. And, no, emperor is not an elected official.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would eliminate the phrase “went missing” and its variations.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would proclaim all downtowns are indeed historic and then prohibit posting signs restating that fact.
I know that song!
If I were emperor of Earth, I would prohibit stylized renditions of songs such as “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” during public gatherings such as professional sporting events. Sing the song the way the 60,000 people in the stands know it.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would require daylight-saving time to pay interest. If you deposit 60 minutes in the spring, you get at least 62 minutes back in the fall, more following a good summer.
No more tangles
If I were emperor of Earth, I would appoint inventors to come up with clothes hangers that do not cause people to curse.
Pull forward to the curb
If I were emperor of Earth, I would command automakers and curb builders get together and develop standards so front bumpers would no longer drag on curbs.
Get your own
If I were emperor of Earth, I would rule that none but the milk industry could use “Got (blank)?” advertising. It was one of the great advertising campaigns; all who copy it scream their ineptitude.
Ode to truth
If I were emperor of Earth, I would order an investigation to find out why Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge and whether that nice young preacher Brother Taylor knew more than he suggested.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would order that everyone have one opportunity to be applauded like the U.S. president at the beginning of the State of the Union address.
If I were emperor of Earth, everyone would have a “do-over” for an occasional night of sleeplessness.
No more play-ins
If I were emperor of Earth, the NCAA basketball tournament would have 64 teams or 128. Period.
20 percent chance of accuracy
If I were emperor of Earth, I would require all weather forecasters to display their accuracy ratings, something like a baseball player’s batting average.
Happy Earth Day!
If I were emperor of Earth, every day would be Earth Day.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would make it a misdemeanor to leave an answering message on one’s voice mail instructing callers how to leave a voice mail, such as, “At the beep, leave your name, phone number and a brief message and we will call back as soon as possible.”
Short and sweet
If I were emperor of Earth, all “legal contracts” such as those utilized during online downloads of software will be short, clear and lacking legal jargon … unlike the 4,196-word agreement the would-be emperor just clicked off as “read.”
Because I could
If I were emperor of Earth, I would have everyone wear the same color of clothing depending on the day of the week — like white for Sundays, black for Mondays, red for Tuesdays and so on — just because, as emperor, one day is much like the other and it would help me keep track of the day of the week. Oh, one other thought … aloha shirts for Saturdays.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would ban the sound of sirens over the radio. Not in songs, definitely not in advertising. The sound of sirens is meant only for emergency vehicles … or those escorting the emperor to dinner.
And then Mars
If I were emperor of Earth, before sending humans to Mars, I would see that we had devised and implemented truly smart traffic signal lights.
Empty, then load
If I were emperor of Earth, everyone will be drilled on the proper way to use an elevator. That is, you press the button and step to the side to wait. When the door opens, instead of rushing in, you wait for anyone already inside to depart first. There may also be some instruction on proper eye contact.
If I were emperor of Earth, cutting in line would be grounds for ejection from the planet without a refund.
If I were emperor of Earth, when driving on a two-lane road with a good shoulder, slower traffic would be required to pull onto the shoulder to allow faster traffic to pass. Additionally, passing drivers would be required to give a friendly hand wave or to flash hazard lights to say “thank you.”
Learn what it is
If I were emperor of Earth, one must have medical orders to request gluten-free foods.
If I were emperor of Earth, there would be a hefty tax every time someone writes the plural of his or her family name by adding an apostrophe before or after the S. That’s not what the apostrophe is for.
If I were emperor of Earth, one may refer to pets as children and to herself as Mommy to the pets, but I will require the acquisition of adoption papers.
If I were emperor of Earth, I would require public rest rooms be equipped with alarms. In the event someone uses the rest room and leaves without washing his or her hands, an embarrassing alert will sound.