What a great Labor Day that was!
I am so refreshed by the annual holiday meant to honor the American worker that I can hardly sit still. It felt good to have my labors acknowledged in the nationwide ceremonial grilling of meats, symbolizing the way the workforce has charred the yoke of robber-baron oppression, not enough that we’re free to be equal partners with our corporate overlords, but at least enough for us to enjoy a pleasant smoky smell.
Other Labor Day traditions further fueled goodwill toward my job. Watching the Muscular Dystrophy telethon without Jerry Lewis reminded me how decrepit you have to be to get fired these days. Putting away our whites for the summer represented how it’s time for angry Tea-Party Caucasians to get back in the closet with the eggshell pumps and seersucker suits. President Obama’s Labor Day speech inspired me greatly … it inspired me to turn the channel, but it inspired me nonetheless.
Now I’m back on the job and, for at least the first few hours, I have positive feelings toward my work. Then the coffeemaker runs dry and the person who took the last cup doesn’t make another pot. Then a gaggle of coworkers launch into a spirited discussion of whether or not sex education is appropriate in public schools. Then I realize it’s almost a full three months till the next holiday at Thanksgiving.
And now, I’m doing actual work in my role as a financial proofreader. Our client has asked that a “2” in one of their documents be changed to a “4.” A typesetter deletes one number and adds the other, and it’s my duty to make sure this simple act was done correctly. Yes, I muse as I review the proof carefully, bringing 30 years experience to bear; that’s one fine-looking “4”. I approve the page, and almost immediately remember how empty my life has become.
This is not exactly the best economic climate for someone in their mid-50’s to consider a career change. I know there are way too many my age who would give their left arm for a chance to approve a “4” and get paid to do it. I should be happy in my drudgery.
But a spirit freed from the obligations of the workplace is a spirit that can be difficult to re-shackle, even if it was only for three days and large parts of two of those were spent cleaning the fireplace and doing laundry.
I’m going to do it, though. I’m going to get a new job. And I’m going to shoot for the top.
I’m going to be King of the World.
I’m not sure where you go to apply for such a position. I’ve checked on Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com, and it seems there’s little to be had in the field of global autocratic monarchy. I could go the LinkedIn route, and try to network with those who might have the potential to anoint me, but I’m not a very good schmoozer.
There’s a job fair this Thursday to hire 80 people to work at the new Walmart; the authority of The Greeter to send shoppers on a wild goose chase for tube socks is quite the power trip, yet I doubt the remuneration compares to the treasure chests overflowing with tribute that a King of the World would expect.
There’s definitely an opening for the position, though. Many men have fashioned themselves as “kings” over the last 50 years, yet few remain in 2011 to make the claim.
Elvis held the title for a while but he’s believed by most accounts to be dead. Michael Jackson picked up the mantle for a time in the ’80s and ’90s, then dropped it like a hot potato when he issued a royal decree calling for more Propofol. Actor Leonardo DiCaprio famously proclaimed himself KOTW in that scene on the bow of the Titanic, then mysteriously abdicated to become a man in an iron mask in his next role.
There are other kings out there but few who claim worldwide hegemony. Richard Petty was “The King” of NASCAR racing, yet that proved to be a pretty low-level reign, as confirmed by his attempt in 1996 to advance to the office of North Carolina secretary of state. The popular rock band Kings of Leon are just that — kings of guys named Leon but pretty much impotent over everybody else. “The King of Queens” and “King of the Hill” have been cancelled after years of ineffectual rule.
Even professional monarchs seem to shrink from the task of being all-powerful arbiter, looter of the royal treasury and worshipped demi-god. England hasn’t had a king in who-knows-how-long, opting instead for a series of queens, queen mums and princes out the ying-yang. Japan has one of the world’s last emperors, yet his ambition to rule the planet is dampened by ancestors whose reign included getting their homeland atomic-bombed.
And don’t tell me real kings from the Third World, like the heads of Lesotho, Swaziland and Bhutan, are ready to step up to the big time. Those countries could barely afford a crown.
I’m going to take the rather audacious path to supremacy of simply declaring myself King of the World. If anybody objects, just record your doubts on my Facebook page, and I’ll round you up for a life in prison as soon as I get around to it.
In the meantime, I’ll start issuing a series of edicts and fiats that will turn this sorry world of ours around and get us back on the right track. Most will be general in tone. (I’ll hire a top-notch staff with my fabulous riches to flesh these out; I’m a “vision guy” who will delegate implementation to various subordinates like Manager of the World and Administrative Assistant of the World). Every now and then I’ll dabble in specifics — for example, I’ll ban pedicures that include any kind of pattern or graphic, and insist on a revision to the tax code. Generally, I’ll be a kind and beneficent despot, enlightened for much of the time, except perhaps after a long weekend off.
Look for my rise to power in the coming days. I see little on the landscape that can stop me. I’ll print up some business cards, rent office space in the depressed strip mall not far from my house, and be ready for rulin’ by the end of the week.
Bow down before my authority! Cower in my presence! Avert your eyes when I talk to you, lest you be overcome by the brilliance of my appearance.
I think I’m going to like this job. (I assume it has Labor Day off. I’ll have to check the employee manual to be sure).