I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:
Emperor’s Decree No. V-14: Owing to the convergence of two Internet events (first, the publishing of this article by esteemed WFTC columnist, Alan Spoll and, second, to a Facebook post by a friend of the Emperor’s — name of Pete — in which said friend quoted Mark Twain as having written: “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first”), along with the Emperor’s lifelong disgust with people who think they are entitled to success strictly by virtue of their “hard work,” your benevolent ruler hereby decrees: Your hard work means nothing. You are owed absolutely squateel for that hard work. Results matter. Your hard work is laudable, but it is not binding contract that guarantees your desired outcome. It is perfectly fair for you to work every day, all day, and then to lose the race or to not get the part in the play or whatever else you want. (Them’s, as they say, the breaks.) It is also fair for someone who works only half as hard as you to be chosen or to be promoted over you or to get the position that you desired. (That’s called “superior talent”; or, perhaps, superior conniving.) You cannot do anything you put your mind to. The world is not a grade school character-education class or a high school locker room. The world is a place in which great people make their way without excuses for their failures.
The Punishment: Anyone heard, by the Imperial spies, as having said, “It’s not fair [sob, sob, sniff]…I worked so hard” will be sentenced to death. The accused will be placed in a wicker cage and he will be allowed to slowly claw his way out. (This will take a lot of hard work.) The Imperial Executioner will be in the room, lounging on a pile of cushions, clad in silk pyjamas and having his feet rubbed by comely, hard-working servants. When the prisoner finally emerges, the Executioner will yawn, return his attention to a book, reach out, absently, and gun down the accused with machine gun fire.
The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.