WHEN I GET TO BE dictator, all elevators will be required to list the ground floor as No. 1. There will be no letter Ls allowed or LLs, whatever that might mean, or G for ground. The ground floor will not be allowed to be the second floor or it cannot be in the basement and the top floor can no longer be called P for penthouse. When I become dictator it will be called T for top.
When I become dictator no one will have to spend any time going from floor to floor in elevators, trying to find their way out of the building. I will also banish the word mezzanine, which means nothing to most people and it would be a capital offense to use the term town house for a house in the suburbs. I would require all department stores to have directories and I would force all ice cream makers to agree on a uniform code of flavors. I am sick of getting something else for vanilla fudge.
By fiat, incidentally, vanilla fudge would become the national flavor and cantaloupe the national fruit.
The national dish would be veal parmigiana and the national drink would be the egg cream and the word "affordable" would be stricken from the language. (Affordale for who, huh? Answer that!) Ralph Lauren would be banished to the Bronx for life for posing as a cowboy and designer jeans would be prohibited altogether and the crime of walking on the street with a blaring radio would be punished by death -- proceded by torture.
Also to be tortured when I become dictator are the makers of hot air popcorn machines that make the corn into sawdust, the people at Time Magazine who told me Woody Allen was a genius, people who put up signs saying "for your convenience" when you are about to be inconvenienced, people who show disrespect for the dead by saying the deceased "would have wanted it this way," the creator of colored underwear for men and all men who wear colored underwear and therefore have to spend time in the morning wondering whether their underwear matches their socks.
When I become dictator, I will get rid of all guns, Billy Graham, subscription blanks in magazines that stop you from turning the page, newspaper ink that comes off on your hand, plumbers who lie, people who blame computers for their own errors, restaurants that put phrases like "we deliver" in quotes on the menu and people who stop you in the airport to tell-you The Truth about anything. I would force any religion founded after 1934 to register with the Better Business Bureau.
I would sentence Richard Nixon to a lifetime of shaking hands with George Allen. I would sentence Howard Cosell to a small cell with Don Rickles. I would legalize heroin and prohibit the sale or distribution of California almonds. That way, people would get hooked on almonds and kick the heroin habit. I would ban punk rock outright and with it all contemporary serious music. I would insist on melody and good lyrics and I would appoint Fred Astaire to a national review commission on music. If he couldn't dance to it, it wouldn't get on the air.
Cole Porter's birthday would be a national holiday. One for katherine Hepburn, too. I would raise a monument to Lauren Bacall and all men would be forced to dress like Cary Grant. All theaters would have large screens, stages and curtains, and all movies would have to be preceded by cartoons. I would put running boards back on cars and insit that everyone listen to All Things Considered on Naitonal Public Radio.
When I become dictator there will be no color other than the ones I had in the small Crayola box I had as a kid. Puce will be banned and taupe and burnt sienna. Telephone answering machines will be banned, wrong numbers punishable by prison and people who call and say, "Who is it?" will be summarily executed.Ditto for people who dial the wrong number, don't say they're sorry, and hang up.
When I become dictator it will be illegal to stand at the top of the escalator when people are coming up fast from behind. It will be forbidden for movie stars to go on the Johnny Carson show to plug their movies and for the networks to call their old shows "The Late Movie" and anyone who tells you where an item you just bought could be gotten cheaper will be exiled, as will anyone who writes yet another book about sex.
When I become dictator, William F. Buckley Jr. will be forced to speak in a Brooklyn accent, Truman Capote will be forced not to speak at all, Wink Martindale will be forced to change his name and Richard Dawson will be forced to kiss a "Family Feud" contestant with trench mouth. Nancy Reagan will get warmth, Madaline Murray O'Hair will get religion, Gore Vidal will get humble and health food fadists will get sick.
Finally, when I become dictator, everyone eveywhere, even the people I've just mentioned, will have a very Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, everyone.
That's an order.