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If I was in charge, I’d announce that everyone could wake up whenever they wanted to. I’d explain that my plan goes into effect immediately (that is, tomorrow at 12 AM sharp – all around the world, of course, because I am in charge of it). This would be greeted by worldwide approval (good to have when you’re in charge of the world). I would become very popular indeed. However, shortly thereafter confusion would reign.

 

Despite my good intentions, and very clear instructions, some people wake up at the regular time – not when they want to. Why is that? Force of habit? Fear of reprisals? Failure to understand my instructions? Are they so accustomed to bad news that they struggle to accept good news? These sleep-in-refusers move apprehensively through the empty streets, wondering where all the people have gone and repeatedly asking themselves if they’ve missed out on something. At the train station, they hope to get to work, where they will find some relief from this new life I’ve thrust upon them; but most of the train conductors have slept in. Only one showed up and he is angry. Everyone is queued to get on his train. There are no snacks or coffee. Someone in accounting observes that those making minimum wage are the most likely to take advantage of my new plan and sleep in. Everyone becomes bitter, angry, hungry and thirsty. It gets worst.

 

Soon couples are bickering over when the alarm clock should be set – if at all. Perhaps the divorce rate would soar, if they could only find judges and lawyers who were awake. Some people don’t know what to do with the extra time I have granted them. They call on friends who are fast asleep. Some people stop buying things. Bank managers – still waking up at 6 AM  – give two reasons for this downward trend. Firstly, most shops open whenever they want to and products may or may not arrive. A Coca-Cola truck, for example, may be stuck on the roadside while the driver has a nap. Secondly, too many people are happy. Children and teenagers are the happiest, which increases the cause for worldwide concern (not good to have when you’re in charge of the world).

 

Soon thereafter, I give up being in charge of the world. I step down not because of majority rule, but because of the constant complaints and moaning of those few who refused to accept my good intentions. How will the world remember me? During my entire reign, which someone in accounting estimated to be just over two days, I tried my best. I would hope that most people around the world remembered me fondly and appreciated my simple plan. I concede that some, too accustomed to waking up whenever they wanted to, will get fired culminating in a life-long contempt for “that person who was in charge of the world”.

 

No longer world leader, my boss tells me I have to return to work. As I sit on a crowded early morning train, heading into work, I study the silent faces around me. I come to a simple conclusion – some people don’t know a good thing when they have it.

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