April 27, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

I have difficulty falling asleep because I obsess about one thing or another that happened during the day—like the lobby door at the dentist’s office that lacks a “push/pull” label, or the person ahead of me at the checkout line who was just staring at the card reader in amazement while the cashier and I twiddled our thumbs, or the local news anchor’s nightly grammatical error. While I am ruminating over these signs of the apocalypse, waiting for Morpheus to bless me, I play a little game in my head to distract my worried mind.

If I were King:

I would decree that everyone get more stickers.

Everybody loves stickers. I feel great when I get my “I Voted” sticker. My granddaughter likes smiley-face stickers, and my grandson is hooked on Ninjago (don’t ask; he lives in Japan). The point is, we humans love stickers. Our woolly ancestors, after bringing down a mastodon, would stick bits of its liver to their chests as a sign of their hunting prowess. I’m sure I read that somewhere. More stickers! We should get stickers like “I opened the door for somebody with an armful of packages,” or “I didn’t lose my temper with the kid at the drive-thru who forgot the ranch dip,” or “I parked inside the lines,” or “My hair looks good today.”

If I were King:

Cell phones would have to be converted to rotary dialing. Think about it: Texting would become impossible, distracted driving reduced, frustration with butt calls ended, and our memories would be improved because we’d have to remember numbers again. If you don’t remember somebody’s number, they’re not important to you anyway. There may even be health benefits as we strengthen our finger muscles. Think of it—a nation of healthier fingers. An added benefit: It would really make it hard to play irritating game apps. I hate you, Candy Crush.

If I were King:

FedEx guys would just leave the package on the porch and not ring the doorbell. It upsets the dog. ’Nuff said.

If I were King:

Naps would be required. Every day, all places of business, offices, factories, and telemarketers, would be required to close from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. As in, closed. Shut down. Not open. Everybody would have to take a nap. Why? Because, naps are good, and the King likes naps. I think the “Grouchy People Index” would drop. We’d all be happier. And after a few years’ practice, we’d be good enough nappers to send a team to the International Siesta Competition in Madrid. Snoozers are judged on sleeping position, loudest snore, and original costume. America needs to win this competition. Besides, I nap every day between 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., and I like a little quiet. After all, I am the King.

Now back to sleep.

Wait…Can’t sleep…I’m worrying about my costume.

This article appears in the May/June 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Otis XII hosts the radio program, Early Morning Classics with Otis XII, on 90.7 KVNO, weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. Visit kvno.org for more information.