If I Were King

A few years ago, inspired perhaps by Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion singing “If I were King of the Forest” in the Wizard of Oz, or maybe by Abel Ferrara’s King of New York starring Christopher Walken, I wrote a piece called the Man Who Would Be King. In it I discussed some of my ideas on government and my ideas on royalty.

Basically I believe in democracy, but I don’t think that’s incompatible with kings. Democracy should always be based on the classical Greek idea of democracy, where the unit of government, the demos, is limited to the number of people one can actually know personally. I am convinced that eventually the Internet will allow us to create governmental structures which reflect this organizing principle. Then each unit could select a king and he could make the decisions until he fucks up. I’m not against kingship. The way our government is structured now there is not enough time for Presidents or even legislators to deal with long term projects and situations. I think we should elect kings (and women should be eligible) and then if the people vote to recall the king we simply kill him or her and install another one.

I might also mention that as O’Brien I am descended from Brian Boru the first High King of Ireland. (I’m guessing mushrooms.) And on the other side of the family I’ve got Charlemagne and the Julio-Claudians in the trees. Not that I believe in divine right. I believe in well read. Also magic. And in 1980 Jean Micheal Basquiat, 33rd degree houngan, drew a crown on the back of my jacket and called me Leroy. Anyway, here is my list of edicts and proclamations if I were king, updated. I’ll add on as I think of more.


No cellular phones in theaters or on golf courses. If you are caught on the phone in a forbidden area, it will be destroyed. They will be permitted in restaurants if they are set on “vibrate only” and you speak in a normal tone. No guns in New York City. The police will be armed with whistles and iPhones. Anyone found with guns in New York will be frozen by the bomb squad and dropped into the harbor.
Popcorn in movie theaters will be clearly labelled as to what sort of oil was used in its preparation.
Smoking shall be permitted in all restaurants, except those with No Smoking in the name. Sorry, no pipes. Cigars may be smoked in legally designated cigar rooms but must be lit with hundred dollar bills.

Women who expose stomachs that jiggle in public will be fined. Flip flops will be illegal on public streets. Women may cover their hair but not their faces.
Restaurants may not mark up wine more than 50% over retail.
Private clubs can let in who they damn well want to, although private golf courses may be seized and converted to public use if I think they’re racist enclaves.
The drinking age shall be determined by one’s parents or lacking such permission 16 for wine and beer.
Jets skis may be used in designated areas only. (Coney Island.)

All marijuana shall be considered medicinal. The chewing of coca leaves and smoking of opium shall be considered medicinal. Ambien and anti-depressants will be illegal.
No sales tax on clothing or wine. All salt must be sea salt.
Taxi drivers will attend charm school and be spot checked for politeness and air conditioning regularly. A 20 percent tip will be added to restaurant checks and taxi fares, but all taxis will be equipped with devices for registering complaints that go directly to the Taxi and Limousine Commission.
Any taxi driver refusing to pick up blacks will have his license suspended. Taxi drivers may refuse passengers wearing their pants below their underwear or wearing a baseball cap backwards.

A guillotine will be erected on Wall Street by Tom Sachs, purely as a sculpture to balance out that ugly bull they’ve got down there.

Wall Street companies will be regulated by me and sleeping bags and tents will be allowed on Wall Street.

Airlines shall provide more spaces between rows in Economy, plus free headphones. Flight attendants of any gender will henceforth be called Stewardesses.
All Churches that currently pay no taxes will pay taxes into my gambling and cavorting fund which will be distributed to the needy.
People speaking too loudly in restaurants may be “shooshed” by two or more tables. If they do not respond they will be asked to leave.
Public servants will clean the sidewalks of dog droppings between the hours of midnight and dawn. The public servants will be performing community service after being convicted of using cellular phones in theaters or on golf courses, speaking too loudly in restaurants or smoking cigars while walking down the street. It will be illegal to charge more than five bucks for a pack of cigarettes and all packs must carry the warning THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SECOND HAND SMOKE.

Miss America contestants must wear thongs in the Bathing Suit Competition.
Men must remove hats in restaurants, or sit in specially marked hat wearing sections.
Free cable! All deliberations of the legislatures will be televised. The presiding officer will have a large going adjacent to his desk.
The national a
All radio stations must play one hour of classical mudiv and one hour of jazz (sorry no lite) and one hour of world music per day, rotating hours daily. All DJs will be licensed with the King. Television stations will be available if they are licensed through me. Certain channels such as Fox News will be on tape delay with subtitled comments provided by my fairness and balance commission.
All fast food restaurants, convenience stores and gas stations must be architecturally appropriate for their neighborhoods.
Tennis players will wear white!

Home baseball teams will wear white, visiting teams will wear gray.
TV golf coverage must include more than just a few leaders and Tiger.
The NFL bounties on injuring players will be allowed but the offerer and amount must be posted on TV in the pregame. Astroturf will be illegal.
Cars must turn their headlights off when it’s sunny, unless warning other motorists of a hiding cop.
Cars with spoilers will be taxed heavily, assuming they are intended to be driven 100mph over the speed limit.
If I make you a Knight you get into night clubs without waiting.
NCAA will be banned in our territory. College athletes will get a real piece of the action.
No cars with New Jersey license plates will be admitted to Manhattan. Bicyclists, and roller bladers must observed traffic laws Skateboards will be free to improvise at their own risk.

There will be no restrictions on dancing in New York City.
No phone solicitation!
Elected officials may be asked to take lie detector tests at any time by me, or by my appointed agents.

The TSA will search Donald Trump’s hair when he enters New York.


The national anthem shall be New York, New York.
Everyone in New York gets to take off for the major Jewish Holidays and Martin Luther King Day. Those not observing Martin Luther King Day will be deported to Staten Island.

New holidays will honor the birthdays of Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe, Joe Namath and Robert Benchley.
All bars will be closed on St.Patrick’s Day. St. Patricks day will honor Irish citizens, Haitian citizens, Druids and Damballah, Lord of the Snakes.

The Jets will be called the New Jersey Jets until they win a Superbowl. The Giants are entitled to be New York Giants for ten years after each Superbowl win.
The New York Knicks will become property of the City of New York
The Cardinal of New York must wear spike heels at all times.
People may sit at my table at Balthazar, Il Buco or the Waverly Inn if I’m not there.
John Gruden and Simon Doonan may appear on television only after midnight and before dawn.
Diplomatic immunity will be limited to parking tickets.
O.J. can keep his Heismann trophy and golf clubs but he will be confined to the state of Florida.
Professional Boxing will henceforth be called Wrestling with Punching.
Everyone can take his or her birthday off work as well as Ava Gardner’s birthday.
All food sold in New York City will be organic. All meat sold in New York City will be humanely raised. All non violent criminals will be paroled except for white collar criminals who will be deported to Washington, D.C.

I will add to this list in the future. If you would prefer me to the present form of government, tell your friends.


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