Several years ago, the Free Press editor suggested I write an if-I-were-king-of-the-world column. I never followed up on that, but recently I came to the conclusion that I have a lot of opinions.
So in that spirit, here are just a few of the laws I would enact, should I become king of the world:
• If I were king of the world, all citizens would assign a first name to their vehicle during registration.
A couple weeks ago, I ran into a woman at Wendy’s who was very excited about my columns that talk about my cars (formerly Max the Camaro and currently Dante the Stratus). She told me she also names her cars, and I told her I was glad to hear I’m not the only crazy one.
• If I were king of the world, everyone would be required to read L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s classic, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Because, let’s face it, the Technicolor MGM feature isn’t even close.
• If I were king of the world, I would enact very strict and specific crosswalk laws.
This is mainly in response to the crosswalk on D Street that connects both halves of Tabor College. Most drivers will note that many Tabor students lumber over the pavement at a speed equivalent to grass. And most Tabor students will note that many drivers either lack eyeballs or any sort of sensitivity.
So here’s the plan. First, all cross-walkers would be required to cross the street in a time no greater than seven seconds. This is a courtesy law for those drivers who are civilized enough to slow down when there are flashing yellow lights and thick, perpendicular white lines. Pedestrians who fail to cross in a timely manner would be vulnerable to become legal hit-and-run victims.
The second half of this plan would be to benefit pedestrians. If it is raining, snowing, sleeting, gusting winds at over 30 mph or less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, drivers who fail to stop for a pedestrian would be subject to a fine of $5 million. This would be paid in a single lump of pennies, which that driver would carry across the street. During an ice storm.
• If I were king of the world, news media would not be allowed to report on the fashions of heads-of-state spouses, nor on heads-of-state family pets. Then again, if I were king of the world there wouldn’t be any heads of state.
• Similarly, if I was king of the world, “Entertainment Tonight” would only be broadcast to whichever television set Osama Bin Laden happened to be watching at that moment.
• If I were king of the world, the “sport” of curling would be eliminated from the Olympics. Instead, a gold medal would be awarded to one man and one woman who sat at home and watched the Olympics on NBC for the greatest sum of time.
• If I were king of the world, all schools would pare down athletic programs in order to preserve fine arts and—gasp!— education.
Recently, after hearing that a state institution closed a multi-million dollar contract to secure a new coach, a Salina Journal reader questioned the logic of schools in such financial trouble.
More succinctly: Educational institutes put too much emphasis on their athletic programs, and in turn the burden of a poor economy falls onto classrooms and fine arts programs.
Competition between schools is important, but there can be too much of a good thing.
Under my reign, students would not be allowed to leave school early more than once every two weeks for any activity. This would greatly improve an educator’s ability to teach and a student’s ability to learn.
Additionally, already overwhelmed junior high students would be required only one physical activities class and one fine arts class per year, with no school-funded after-school competitions. (This would eliminate the mandatory activities propaganda I remember enduring.)
At the high school and collegiate levels, “freshman,” “junior varsity” and “varsity” teams would be lumped into one, and the coaching staff would consist only of faculty members. The acquisition of new uniforms and warmups would be put on a minimum five-year rotation.
This would help reduce school budgets in order to prevent the “need” to eliminate drama, art, band and vocal programs. (This really is happening. Google it.) For further funding, any athletic “booster” clubs would become generalized.
There will be some people who oppose all of this. They would simply be taken behind the woodshed and forced to listen to Luciano Pavarotti until they repent.
• And finally, if I were king of the world, a 20-year-old columnist would not be allowed to pontificate on what he would do if he was king of the world.