When I am King: Cleaning Solution

When I am King...

There will only be one brand of soap and shampoo allowed.

I tried to take a shower the other day and found that there was no longer any room for me there. Instead, the space is taken up with 4 different kinds of shampoo, 3 different soaps, multiple facial cleansers, and several bottles of stuff whose purpose I don't even understand.

I think that if people are looking for the difference between men and women (besides the obvious biological ones, like the fact that women generally burp less and have hand coordination less suited to TV remotes), they need look no further than the shower stall.

As a guy, I feel I could make do with a hose and some soap. Heck, I could even fake it for a while with just some deodorant. But women apparently feel the need to have an entire chemistry set and several varieties of soap at their disposal at all times. I haven't worked out whether they actually use all of this stuff, or just have it around for backup in case there's an emergency.

What I really don't get, though, is that it's all different. In my mind, there's soap and there's shampoo. And shampoo is just liquid soap. So really there's only soap. So what's with all of the different bottles and bars strewn throughout my shower? And this isn't even counting the stuff on the counter outside the shower or in the bathtub.

A picture might help. Here's my rendering of a typical woman's and man's shower stall:

Woman's shower vs. man's shower

Compare these to the compromise shower of a couple:

Couple's shower
See my point?
All of the myriad of cleaning products is not only confusing for women and men, but these products are crowding us out of our showers entirely. My adminsitration will simplify things by allowing only one soap and shampoo product out on the market. Showers will be cleaner, simpler, faster, and more comprehensible, and these unnecessary cleaning products will cease to be a drain on our society.


Adult Humor

What do you call an adult who makes bad jokes?

A groan up.

(No, the answer is not "Chet". That would be mean and hurtful.)


When I am King: A Fare Trade

When I am King...

New vocational institutions will enhance our childrens' career potential.

As an adult, you focus on your career, aiming high, pursuing ambitions, and striving for goals, rewards, and achievements.

As a parent, you realize that you've already peaked. Long ago. So you start focusing on your children, hoping that they can play where you merely spectated. Of course this is purely for their benefit, although there is always the nice dream of your children buying you an island someday. Or a house. Or a nice car. Or at least dinner.

Because we see our children as alternate versions of ourselves, though lacking our height advantages for several years, we envision their careers in the same paths as our own. In my case, I make sure that they try hard in school, enjoy playing video games, and fail utterly in sports. We also picture future academic and career paths not too dissimilar from ours, although stunningly more successful.

But I had a revelation recently that has made me chuck the whole thing (the ideas, not the children). I've obviously been in the wrong career path this whole time, and should make sure that my children do not make the same mistake.

I was in Las Vegas last week, and had to take a cab back to the airport. I finally made my way out of the hotel (an epic journey in and of itself; I'm sure they moved the front door to the place while I was inside) and found the taxi cab line. I waited in this line for about ten minutes, watching the cab man the whole time.

That guy has nailed it. This is the career path we all should have chosen. Here, from what I could tell, is his job:

Cab Man [to passenger]: Where ya goin'?
Passenger: Airport
Cab Man [to driver]: Airport
[Cab Man opens door]
[Passenger hands Cab Man a dollar]
Cab Man [to Passenger]
: Thank you
[Cab Man closes door]
[Cab Man wraps dollar bill around huge money bundle in his hand]

This guy was able to move cabs at a rate of about 20 to 30 seconds each, which means he was raking in about $120-$180 and hour, just in tips. Cash.

You can say what you want about job satisfaction, but I imagine the cab man finds that kind of money pretty satisfying.

In my kingdom, I will establish new trade schools that focus on this solid career path. There will be rigorous classes on opening and closing car doors ("Opening Doors to Opportunities"). There will also be courses on speaking politely yet knowledgeably to drivers and passengers ("Chat 101"). Finally, there will be seminars on accepting tips graciously ("The Tipping Point"), with focused labs on holding largs wads of money safely ("Cash Stashing").

Parents can choose this alternate education track for their kids as soon as the children reach an appropriate age, like 8. The training will be an intensive course lasting three weeks, after which students will be placed with hotels and taxi stands throughout the nation. I figure that by the time the children would have been in high school, we can all retire.

Label Babble

I was happy to see recently that my views on warning labels are being taken seriously.

I was on an airplane and the snack was a bag of Honey Roasted Peanuts. The package had, in fine print, the following warning:

Produced in a facility that processes peanuts and other nuts

Man, was I happy to see that. Can you imagine what would have happened if someone with peanut allergies actually tried to eat those peanuts without realizing the danger?

Good job, American legal establishment!


Pro Crastination

When I am King...

I will enact laws of great wisdom and justice ... someday.

I just can't say enough for procrastination, mostly because I can't get around to it.

The way I figure it, if I have the choice of doing something now or doing it next month instead, why would I do it now? What if I die in the meantime and didn't have to have done it at all? It's not like the undertaker is going to drag my cold, stiff carcass out of the coffin and make me take out last week's trash. Taken to the extreme, if I can push all of my chores past this eventuality, then I can get away with a far less busy life.

As Thomas Jefferson meant to say, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off indefinitely.”

Of course, there are obviously things in life that have to be done immediately, like breathing. And then there's everything else. You just have to get your priorities straight.

Sure, it feels good accomplishing something. But it also feels good lying on the couch, knowing that you could be out there working hard to try to accomplish something instead.

I actually had a lot more to say about this whole subject, but I can't manage it now. Maybe later.


Critical I.P. Leak

There's no resting in the restrooms for the brokers of Fenster & Keester.

Rank and File

It's that time of year again: the trees are starting to flower, the grass is growing, and the days are getting warmer. It must be time to hole up in a dark room for several days and work through the U.S. tax return forms again.

But instead of doing that, maybe I'll waste time writing some jokes.

Remember what the propsector said to the IRS: "What's mine is yours."
Boy, did he give them the shaft!

And recall what Benjamin Franklin once said, "Nothing is certain but death by taxes."

Or, as they say in Texas:
"Everything's bigger in taxes"

Many happy returns!


When I am King: Dental Work Bites

When I am King...

We will all be toothless, by gum.

I spent part of yesterday getting a tooth repaired. Or, more correctly, getting the lower front of a part of a tooth painted over with something that looks to me like ... tooth.

It occurred to me, as I was sitting in the chair with a drool-sucking machine and enough tools in my mouth to supply a barn-raising, that we go to more effort to maintain our teeth than anything else in life, including our cars, our bodies, and our relationships. Between brushing, flossing, regular checkups, and catastrophic failures, we spend what I estimate conservatively as 1/2 of our waking time on earth taking care of our teeth. The only human activity that I've seen consume more time and effort is my son playing video games.

Meanwhile, my dentist is so busy with ongoing regular maintenance on my teeth you'd think she was a pit crew at the Indy 500. Sometimes it's work that probably should get done, like filling cavities the size of Krakatoa. Although even then, I fail to follow the logic of starting the operation by drilling to make the hole bigger before filling it, like she's trying to teach that tooth a lesson it'll never forget. But most of the time, the work is purely preventative, like putting sealant on. Or cleaning my teeth, which is pretty much like when I brush and floss them, only $80 more expensive. Or here's a new one for me: removing old fillings so that she can replace them with new ones. Like the other teeth are making fun of the teeth with old fillings.

And why do we go to this effort? Our teeth still hurt occasionally, they get filled, they get capped, they get crowned, they have roots pulled, and they eventually end up in tooth heaven, to be replaced by artificial teeth that probably work a whole lot better.

Meanwhile, dentists are constantly fixing our teeth, cleaning our teeth, providing preventative care for our teeth, and laying into us with the constant guilt about all of the stuff that we're not doing right to maintain our teeth at top working condition. If we did things right, we'd be brushing our teeth in our sleep and flossing all day at work. And still the darned things would fall out eventually.

We go to so much effort over these little things, we deserve a plaque.

If we spent this much time working on our cars, we'd have to figure out how to open the hood and fix the engine while we were on the highway to work every day. But the engine would drop out on the way every few months anyway.

It's time we got to the root of the problem.

Here's something to chew on: I propose that we all have our teeth pulled immediately, to be replaced by some material that is impervious to the ravages of time, like Twinkies, or the U.S. tax code. Maybe then we could get back to the business of simply eating. This might not solve all of our problems, but it might at least make a dent.


Crime and Punishment

Where does a cop pee?
Arrest room.

What crime was the drag queen charged with?
Male fraud.


When I am King: Fast Lane

When I am King...

We will have more products tailored for terribly busy people like us.

I'm a busy guy. And from what I've seen, everyone else is a busy guy too. Except the ones who aren't guys. But they're busy, too. And even the ones who aren't busy are pretty busy being not busy.

We've seen great speed advents in our society, like drive-up espresso bars and electric pepper mills, that have enabled us to perform tasks much faster with far less effort. They allow us to do even more of the important things in life. Like getting another espresso. And grinding more pepper.

But I know that we can go further. Think how much more we could accomplish as a society if we made everything in life that much quicker. I'm positive that on your death bed you would like to be thinking, “I accomplished twice the number of things I thought I could,” rather than “I wish I could have had more espresso. And pepper.”

Here are some examples of activities that I would like to optimize:


Our faster lifestyles mean that we have shorter attention spans and less time for wading through words, words, words. No longer do we have weeks to plow through single Faulknerian sentences, or years to struggle through epic tomes like War & Peace and The Little Prince. Instead, we need shorter books, smaller chapters, littler words. Short sentences. Like. These. OK?


Have you ever noticed that you have to actually get close to flowers to get the scents they offer? Who has time to stop and smell the roses? I think it's about time that the roses came to us. Flowers will be genetically engineered to grow little fans that waft their smell up toward where our noses are passing switfly by, saving countless seconds of otherwise wasted time relaxing and enjoying life.

Pre-prepared food

There are many great prepared meals out there today, such as:
  • TV dinners, warmed by the heat of the TV.
  • Frozen casseroles that only need to be baked before going uneaten by children.
  • “Lunchables,” whose nutrients ensure that their positive impact on kids' bodies will be as insignificant as the time that it takes to make them.
There are also meals that are partially-cooked, such as half-baked pizza, so that even the obscenely difficult and time-consuming act of heating the food is reduced.

But these foods don't go far enough. I still spend enormous amounts of time consuming the food. The process of putting the food on a plate, picking it up, putting it in my mouth, chewing it, swallowing it, and then digesting it is incredibly tedious, repetetive, and time-consuming. I'd like to extend the half-baked idea to eating, and be able to purchase half-eaten meals. I could then buy something that was nearly cooked and nearly eaten, and quickly go about my terrribly important life outside of food. Like getting another coffee.

Teeth Brushing

Brushing teeth is an important task, if only because it staves off more time lost sitting in the dentist's chair getting teeth filled and pulled. But it's just time down the drain. Flossing too, which I remember to do every month or two, has strings attached.

What if we embedded bristles and strings in our food, so that teeth got brushed automatically? Sure, it might taste a bit unusual, but the thought that your teeth were getting cleaned as you chewed through the gristle of your burger would more than compensate for any odd textures.

I envision entirely new foods cropping up, such as kids “Flossin' Gloss”: the world's first sugar-coated, dissolvable flossing string. Or how about “Crème Brushlée”: just like the succulent, smooth dessert, only with nylon bristles baked in to ensure that our teeth stay healthy right on through dessert.

Yep, bristle-embedded food will become everyone's best friend. Just think: as they go through our digestive system, the bristles will probably clean up a few other things along the way. With friends like these, who needs enemas?

I'm sure there are other bright ideas for products that can help speed up our tediously slow lives. And if I think of any, I'll be sure to update you. But right now, I gotta go take a nap.


Sunday Comics

It seemed like it was about time for a cartoon:

Death of a cartoonist


When I am King: Shot Down

When I am King...

Hunting procedures will change.

Who came up with the idea of a bunch of guys taking a bunch of guns and a bunch of beer out into the woods and spending the weekend shooting in random directions. Is this government-sponsored Darwinism?

It's like giving people missiles for their cars that they can fire from handy steering wheel buttons. Given the frustrations of traffic, and the general fun from making things go BOOM!, is it at all likely that nobody would get hurt?

Hunting under my regime will be changed to use a laser tag system instead. Deer and other wild creatures, like drunken hunters, will be equipped with detectors so that everyone knows when someone pegs them. The deer will also be given weapons, to make the game a little more fair.

Of course, this new approach won't result in any real kills, but who wants the mess and hassle of turning these things into dinner, anyway? If you're really after a meal from the experience, just pick up one of the variety of corpses on the side of the road on your way home. Avoid the skunk, though - that meat stinks. And skip the drunken hunter; that meat has been marinating too long.

We are also looking into sport fishing. Although not as lethal, the amount of owies from being stuck with fish hooks during baiting or taking fish off the line is truly alarming. It would be a simple matter of converting fishing to use magnetic attractors instead, and dumping toxic heavy-metals into the lakes and streams to ensure that the fish were metallic enough to adhere to the magnets. It may detract slightly from the skill and sport, but it might also broaden the activity to a larger population of hook-averse people.

I realize that some people will be upset, but otherwise the price is too deer. For everyone's safety let's give it a shot.


Daylight Savings Time: What Savings?

With all of the mess around the change in Daylight Savings Time in the U.S., I think that our government should come forward and admit it:

Daylight Savings Time: It's Hour Problem

Don't you think it's about time?


When I am King: Escapegoat

When I am King...

In my kingdom, people will always have someone to blame for their problems.

When things have gone horribly wrong and you feel awful, what's the one thing that can possibly make it worse? That it's all your fault.

It's a terrible feeling. Besides having an entire situation be in a shambles, you now have the humiliation of having caused it all. And you know that everyone else knows it, too.

You leave work, go home, shave your head, change your name, move to a hermit's shed in a dismal, rainy country, and still wake up every morning a know that it was all your fault.

How much better would our lives be if we could just blame someone else? Sure, the same things would still be broken, but at least it wouldn't all be so darned humiliating.

My administration will jump-start a new industry: Scapegoating. These will be individuals for hire that can be blamed for anything. Break a dish? Blame your scapegoat. Rear-end someone? Blame your scapegoat. Start a forest fire? Blame your scapegoat.

Of course, these members of the Scapegoat Guild will not be legally liable for any of these problems they are blamed for; you will still be responsible for any damages. But think how much better you'll feel if you can always point the finger and say, “It wasn't my fault. It was his.”

Imagine how useful this will be in society. Politicians can hire scapegoats to deflect accusations on the campaign trail. Celebrities can blame their scapegoats when they say stupid things. Every day. Children can feel more self-confident by blaming their mini scapegoats for poor test scores.

Senior members of the scapegoat profession can take on increasing loads of blame that extend beyond any single act or person. For example, governments may hire individuals or entire groups that can be blamed for wars, the state of the economy, and inflation. Congress may hire scapegoats to take the blame for bills that are either passed or defeated. Nations can hire them to take the rap for the environment. Religions might hire scapegoats to pin Original Sin upon. And the entire world may unite in hiring scapegoats to take the fall for everything else.

Life will be so much better and we can all rest easier when we know that it's someone else constantly screwing up, and not us.


When I am King: Caffiend

When I am King...

Caffeine will be faster and more convenient to take.

One day, people will realize that caffeine is worse for us than cigarettes, crack, and french fries combined. Coffee will be outlawed in the U.S.. This will cause fears of a devastating effect on nations that produce our coffee, especially since the farmers were encouraged to plant coffee beans instead of illegal drug plants in the first place. But, just like other illegal drugs, coffee's illegality and its ensuing popularity and skyrocketing price will lead to far greater bean production everywhere. Finally, the farmers will be convinced to stop producing coca plants with the allure of producing a more trendy and pricey illegal plant instead.

Lawsuits will spring up and cripple coffee shops like Starbucks and Peet's for having slowly killed all of us, shot by espresso shot.

Pushers dealing espresso from hip flasks as well as dime bags of grounds (typically cut with Folger's or soil) will be seen on the corners of gated neighborhoods.

But until that time comes, we all need more caffeine, and we need it fast. It's such a waste of time going all the way to the coffee shop, or even to the kitchen, for a cup of coffee. The French have it wrong: it's not about the experience, it's about the drug. Caffeine does a nice job of making us move, think, and need the restroom faster, but the productivy gain is lost if we have to spend so long just getting the liquid that delivers it into our brains.

We clearly need more effective ways of getting caffeine into our system.

My administration will introduce new and modern means to enable quicker and easier intake of this drug.

One approach being considered is to treat caffeine like other important food additives. Take iodine, for example. When the government realized that iodine was an important chemical element that we all needed, like chocolate or scotch, they added it to salt, reasonably assuming that we would of course reach for the salt whenever our bodies wanted some more iodine. We could do the same thing here and add caffeine to some of our food staples, like Twinkies, ice cream, or coffee.

Another approach is to offer caffeine as another standard condiment. Tables would have pepper, salt, and caffeine shakers.

Of course, some people prefer to avoid caffeine, to the point of ordering “decaf” coffee (which begs the question why they're getting coffee at all). To accomodate those enlightened yet disturbed individuals, we will also make available decaf versions of caffeine. Just like restaurants have both sugar and some rat-killing sweetener available at their tables, they will offer both caffeine and un-caffeine shakers at the tables in my kingdom.

This may not solve all of our problems, but I'm willing to give it a fair shake.