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"If I Ran the World"

     Dr. Seuss wrote a marvelous book entitled, IF I RAN THE
ZOO.  Some megalomaniacs have taken the idea and run with it, and
end up with essays entitled, "If I Ran the World."  I admit to
being one of them.  The novella in DUKE CITY TALES, entitled,
"Duke City Alchemist," describes an Old Guy who stumbles on
power, and tries to "alter conditions," with results that are
comical, some have thought, but the results are less than
satisfactory, according to both the author and the narrator.
     I find myself quoting more and more often lately one of my
most respected mentors, George Bernard Shaw.  He used to preface
his rants with the clause, "When the Revolution makes me
Dictator..."  It happened to Napoleon and Lenin and Mao.  What
would you do if it happened to you?
     It probably won't happen to me, but I have done some
thinking about what I would do, if it did.  As Dictator, I would
do the following:
     [1]  I would absolutely forbid that pharmaceutical companies
go over the heads of medical doctors with cleverly thought-out TV
ads which appeal directly to the gullible and terror-stricken
general population.  Bedwetting, impotence, crumbling bones,
constipation, breast cancer and dementia would once again be
private matters between the patient and his or her doctor. 
Pharmaceutical companies would have to educate doctors about
their miracle-working products, and I'd be watching carefully how
they did that, in order to deal sternly with bribery and
kickbacks.  Drug companies now spend 30% of their total budgets,
according to AARP, on TV advertising.  All the money saved by the
complete eradication of that TV advertising cost would be
subtracted directly from the cost of the miracle-working
products, if I ran the world.
     [2] I would require that all bumpers of all vehicles be at
exactly the same height from the pavement.  The standard required
height shall be that of the Dictator's own family four-door
sedan.  Lowriders and spiffy sports cars would have to elevate
bumpers into the proper position.  Pick-ups and SUV's that have
been raised into the ionosphere will have to lower the bumpers on
front and back ends, so that they meet other cars on the road at
the bumpers rather than at the fragile skulls of the drivers of
"normal" vehicles.  Vehicles not complying shall be immediately
confiscated and sold on the following Monday at public auction,
after the required bumper-adjustments have been made, at the
buyer's expense, if I ran the world.
     [3]  I would forbid TV advertising in which illegal driving
methods, on or off road, are displayed with the intent of selling
certain cars to teen-agers and other puerile persons.  Images of
speeding, swerving, changing lanes erratically, laying rubber,
scratching gravel, disturbing boulders, driving "too fast for
conditions" -- all that would be saved for driver-education
classes in which the ending of each sequence would be realistic
pictures of maiming, bleeding and dying.  Our teenagers need to
be warned continually against reckless driving.  They do not need
to be challenged to obtain, one way or another, any particular
vehicle in order to indulge in reckless driving on the public
thoroughfare, where others of us are simply trying to survive and
arrive somewhere.
     [4]  I would insist that we go back to the 95 decibel law
for vehicles, not only the muffler-system but also the sound-
"music" system.  The law is already on the books in Duke City,
and it's also in "Duke City Alchemist."  That law needs to be 
strictly enforced.  A one thousand dollar fine shall be imposed 
for the first offense.  Confiscation and auction shall result after 
the second offense.  Money from fines and sale of confiscated 
vehicles would go directly to Medicare to fund ear-repair 
research, if I ran the world.
     [5] I would toughen all anti-littering laws and enforce them
strictly.  In an attempt to create more generic and less
unsightly litter, I would insist that all papers, cups, napkins
and boxes which have an identifiable logo on them shall be
returned to the check-out counters of the offending fast-food
vendors.  Whose litter is this?  Well, it says right here,
printed right on it, so we'll return it to them.  Education of
users would be one ploy vendors could try.  Removal of the logos
would be considered easier and would surely be tried first.  
     Cleaner, quieter, saner, safer -- it will be a better world
for sure, when the Revolution makes me Dictator.

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Copyright © 2000 Harry Willson

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