Wednesday, September 28, 2011

If I Ruled the World

By Ellen Meister

Aside from the big and obvious issues, like ending world hunger, curing cancer and grinding genocidal dictators into dog food, there's a long list of more personal annoyances that would get my attention. Here are a few examples ...

• Companies that sell products encased in bullet-proof plastic you can't get past without a hacksaw would have to donate 100% of the profits to the charity of my choice.

• Everyone would get a free pass on the "no white shoes after Labor Day" rule clear through the end of October.

• All women (men, too, for that matter) would understand that it's more attractive to have wrinkles than to look like a creature from the planet Facelift.

• All street signs would be big enough to actually see.

• Cookies would never have a citrus flavor, a la Johnson's Baby Aspirin. (Are you listening, Italian bakeries?)

• The person who designed the pagination feature on Microsoft Word would be serving a life sentence somewhere.

• "No turn on red" signs would hang next to the traffic light, where you can actually see them.

• Cilantro would be universally recognized as a vile, inedible substance that ruins everything it touches.

My Dorothy Parker Facebook page would have a million followers.

• People wouldn't get on my case about self-promotion. (See what I did there?)

• Someone would figure out a way to make calcium pills smaller than a human thumb.

• I know they use less energy and all, but florescent lights? I'm sorry, no. Just no.

• HBO would start filming The Other Life tomorrow. (Hey, it's my list.)

• People on Twitter would recognize that TrueTwit is the Muammar Qaddafi of social media.

• People would agree on one spelling for Qaddafi/Gaddafi/Ghadafi/Qadhafi.

The Comeback would still be on the air.

• Teachers would make as much money as doctors.

• People who claim they don't read because they're too busy would lose access to Celebrity ApprenticeDancing With the Stars, Jersey Shore and any show with the word Housewives in it.

• Everyone reading this post would send a link to their friends.

What would you do if YOU ruled the world?

Ellen Meister is the author of three novels. Her latest, THE OTHER LIFE (Putnam 2011), has appeared on several best fiction lists, including ABA's prestigious Indie Next List. It is currently under option with HBO for a TV series. She lives on Long Island and is at work on her fourth novel FAREWELL, DOROTHY PARKER (Putnam 2013). For more information visit You can find her online at Twitter and Facebook.


  1. You won my heart with this one: Teachers would make as much money as doctors.

    And if you run for ruler of the world, I promise to vote for you. In the meantime, I'll do the last wish on your list.

  2. Thanks, Christa! And I'm glad you liked that one. It was right from the heart ...

  3. You've got a lot of great ones on your list Ellen (hate those plastic shells--what is the point!!)

    But must disagree on cilantro--I'm crazy about the stuff!!

  4. Thanks, Lucy! Glad you like it!

    As far as (shudder) cilantro, there's a subset of humans to whom it tastes like poison, so I'm not alone. There's even a Facebook group for us!

  5. Funny. I like the one about pagination. If I ruled the world, there'd be 10 calories in a bar of chocolate. And world peace :)

  6. Great list, Ellen! Although I'm with Lucy--I love cilantro (um, and I also like citrus flavored cookies . . . orange, lemon, yum!).

    If I ruled the world, I'd muzzle all those people who spew "facts/truth/no-spin" on supposed news shows and make them take some real honest-to-god journalism courses and learn about fact-checking (and being nice, dammit!).

    Oh, and I'd also like reading books to be seen as sexy.

  7. I would outlaw mayonnaise ;)
    Fun post!

  8. Maria, my hubby would agree with you there!

    Ellen, this is great! Although I do like lemon cookies, I concur with most of your other suggestions and would add these:

    *The right to a poop-free front lawn! Banishment to neighbors who let their dogs squat on front lawns when they're out walking early and think nobody's watching.

    *No cell phones in the hands of any child under 13 (unless it's for safety). It's not like five year olds need cellies to arrange their own play dates.

    *All public schools will have full funding for healthy lunches and music & art programs. Ditto funding for libraries so they can pay their staff, buy new books, and keep their doors open.

    I could go on and on, but then I'd never get this new book written, would I? ;-)

  9. Karin - Chocolate and world peace--I like those priorities!

    Judy - I couldn't agree more on the hypocritical "no spin" news. Makes my blood boil.

    Sandra - Huge thanks!!

    Maria - What? Not even for tuna?? *gasp*

    Susan - Yes to all those! Public schools and libraries are sacred, imo. :) (And so glad my neighbors leash their dogs!)

  10. TrueTwit is like nails on a chalkboard to me.
    And hells yeah on the reality TV! Most of them are not fit for even tween viewing - including toddlers and tiaras. Ugh.

  11. If I ruled the world, I'd have a large indoor, heated pool, with a big wall of water and a lazy river. And I would outlaw any peeing in it!

    I would also ban hummers. Because those vehicles are just so offensive to me.

    And agree with Susan on the poop-free lawn! I would also add, since I live right by a school: The right to a litter-free lawn! Like quit dropping candy wrappers and water bottles, already.

    Great post, Ellen!!!

  12. Malena - I just don't get the whole appeal of reality TV. But then again, I prefer novels to nonfiction, so I'm a gal who likes a good story. (My one exception to the reality TV thing--Intervention. But of course that's more of a documentary show.)

    Sandy - OMG, I can't believe you brought up the hummer thing! I was so close to including that in my list! But I decided I was too mean about it, as my solution was that anyone who wants to buy a hummer would just be given a sign to wear around their neck saying "I'm an asshole." (See what happens when you get me started?)

  13. I'm laughing so hard at this because I have kept a running list of If I were King of the World, which I dribble out on facebook. Ellen, we're kindred spirits on a lot of these. Great post!