Bernhardt column: The Kingdom of Kent

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 15, 2011

I have decided that when I become king of the world, a few changes will be made.
I will, of course, be a benevolent king, but my kingdom will technically be a dictatorship, so Iíll get to do whatever I want. You probably wonít like all of the changes I make, but in time you will realize that I have your best interest in mind, and you will embrace even the changes you have trouble understanding.
If you donít, well, then off with your head.
A few of my rulings will be simple housekeeping items; the banning of David Caruso in TV and movies, the removal of Russell Stover candies from the marketplace (too many unpleasant surprises), and the designation of an official holiday in honor of the Three Stooges where you get to slap and poke anyone you want to all day.
Other changes will be more profound and far- reaching in scope.
For example, I will forever eliminate the practice of restaurant wait staff singing happy birthday songs to unsuspecting guests in eating establishments.
Itís time to forever ban this practice. Letís face it; itís no longer a novelty. As a matter of fact, itís been done to death.
To begin with, itís technically illegal to sing the traditional ěHappy Birthday to Youî in a public performance anyway. The last I heard, someone owns the rights to the song, and public performances of it are forbidden unless royalties are paid.
To get around this little snafu, restaurants have taken to composing their own often nauseating tunes which they perform four or five times during your typical restaurant experience.
Theyíre usually forced at gunpoint by the management to do it, and it shows on their faces. They might as well be singing ěItís your birthday and I cannot lieÖright after you tip, I hope you die.î
I find myself cringing every time my birthday rolls around, and my family invites me to a restaurant for dinner. I know whatís coming at the end of the meal ń some insipid song followed by a bowl of cheap ice cream posing as your ěfreeî dessert.
Many years ago when the practice was new, it was amusing. Now it happens so often itís become like a passing thunderstorm. You just sort of wait it out, and youíre glad when itís over.
Enough already. Consider that practice banned when I take over. Itís gone-a-roo, along with political ads.
Thatís rightÖIím also banning political ads from the face of my kingdom. As a benevolent dictator, most of my underlings will be appointed by me anyway, so there will be little need for them. For the few positions that will be designated by an open election, ads will be unnecessary.
Why? Because they never really meant anything anyway. Most are filled with promises that never see the light of day, so letís just bypass them altogether. From now on candidates ń just surprise us. Itís what you do best.
Letís see, what else am I getting rid ofÖ I have a whole laundry list of things hereÖhmmmÖNational Anthem performances by celebrities, male enhancement ads, the North Carolina ěwink, winkî Education Lotteryî (the name alone makes me laugh), oh, and those e-mails that you have to pass along to15 people before God will bless you.
Iím really tired of getting those. Theyíre the modern day chain letters, and I have a deep dark secret to confess. I never passed those along either.
Thatís rightÖIím the guy who broke the chain. Thatís why none of us ever got the five million dollars we were all supposed to get. Blame me.
The e-mail version starts out with some spiritually uplifting message or fictitious story about someone who was healed by God of a disfiguring malady simply because the faithful took the time to pass an e-mail along to their friends.
It ends with the threat that ěif you donít pass this along to at least fifteen of your friends, maybe you donít love Jesus as much as you think you do.î
NoooÖmaybe I donít want to help some computer nerd see how many people he can dupe into sending a bogus message all over the world.
Anyway, those are gone too.
I think if you give my changes a try, youíll like living in my kingdom. If not, Iím sure weíll have one of those political uprisings weíve been hearing so much about, and Iíll be forced from power by people who actually like having birthday songs sung to them in restaurants.
Kent Bernhardt lives in Saisbury.