John's World: Overreaching for the Stars

John's World: Overreaching for the Stars

There are serious problems in the world today. Many think I’m one of them. But by far the greatest threat to 
domestic tranquility is overreaching. Overreaching is when an outside agency exceeds their authority and my comfort zone. The EPA does it several times a day. The administration schemes to find new areas or ways to overreach  into our lives. Congress tries, but some doofus always tacks on an immigration rider that gets filibustered—kind of underachieving overreaching. 

Farmers are being reached over by forces beyond our lobbying budget. It looks like fun. I could do that. Only for the best possible motive, of course: to make lives better (i.e., the way I think they should be). Here’s my plan, which I call Agenda 21±3:

  • There would only be one type of paper towel dispenser in public bathrooms. Instead of idiotically waving when you need to pull with both hands, users could stride confidently to the machine and know instinctively the one proper action to get the towels to appear. 
  • All snack and candy wrappers would be able to be opened with one hand. No more airline nuts or mints in those Kevlar-reinforced, permanently sealed sacks that defy tearing or biting. I would put NASA on this problem, since space is apparently over.
  • The Star-Spangled Banner would be sung with no more notes than Francis Scott Key used when he borrowed the old English drinking song to fit his lyrics. It would be served like fine bourbon—straight up, with a time limit of 50 seconds until the mic would go dead.
  • There would be NO pineapple in cookies.
  • Farmland auctions would have a bid clock of 45 seconds. If time ran out without a new bid—game over! Come prepared, people.
  • Gasoline prices would be rounded to the nearest whole nickel. Pennies would be abolished and used for wire to upgrade the grid.
  • Sockets and wrenches would be boldly color-coded like nutdrivers. Anything sized 13⁄16" would be free.
  • Waist and dress sizes would be accurate, no matter how much crying was involved. That goes for women, too.
  • “Baby” vegetables would be called “small” vegetables. That’s just creepy, folks.
  • Congress would be limited to a fixed number of hearings—about 10 per chamber per session. If they are wasted on deciding on the National Vegetable, possible “something-gate” investigations would have to wait until the next term. Bonus: Doing so would free up time for fundraising.
  • One time zone for the whole globe with a 24-hour clock. After a while, breakfast at 1200 will seem normal. Air travelers will finally be able to figure out the length of their flight.
  • The U.S. would switch to the metric system. It’s time to pull off this Band-Aid all at once, instead of arm-hair by arm-hair. Burma and Liberia can still hold out if they want.
  • Naming winter storms would be illegal. However, icons would be allowed.
  • Power tool batteries would be standardized across all brands and cheaper when bought alone than when bundled with yet another portable tool.
  • There would be no college degrees, just specific job qualification exams, like for the bar or sprayer applicator. Students could learn however they wish. Colleges could drop the pretense of being anything but social/sports institutions.
  • Trinidad and Tobago would have to pick one or the other. Similarly, it would be just “Netherlands,” “Ukraine” and “Ohio State University.” 
  • Selfies would be taxed and the proceeds used to eliminate the national debt.
  • Actual cash rents must be prominently posted in all fields enrolled in the farm program. So would the phone number of the landowner.

All of these helpful edicts are possible. They would remove cockleburs of hassle from the work socks of our lives. We can show the world we don’t have to do things the way they always have been done. We could do them the right way: My Way.  

Back to news


Spell Check

Chanhassen, MN
7/24/2015 08:15 PM

  Colleges could drop the pretense of being anything but social/sports institutions. The above is the best of a very good column. Coming from someone with multiple degrees. But from another time and space.

Des Moines, IA
9/7/2015 07:34 AM

  Brilliant! I say let's do it.

Hennesey, OK
7/26/2015 08:03 AM

  It's good to dream, but let's face it. It ain't happenin. Keep on writing though, it's good reading thanks


Corn College TV Education Series


Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!


Market Data provided by
Brought to you by Beyer