Only the Lonely


A few months ago, Great Britain’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, appointed a Minister of Loneliness, probably the first in world history.

“For far too many people, loneliness is the sad reality of modern life,” May said, citing a report indicating 14 percent of the population often or always feels lonely.

An article I read said that loneliness often becomes depression, which costs people work time, which costs UK employers $3.5 billion annually.

The cynic in me thinks that’s probably a big reason why May did it.

But I love the idea, nonetheless. Loneliness is a fundamental problem for just about everybody I know. To be human is to experience loneliness. So, why shouldn’t government address the issue? The government is just us, after all. But it seldom deals with things that would actually make a difference in the lives of real people.

For instance, wouldn’t it make sense for this country to have not only a Minister of Loneliness, but also a Minister of Laughter? I’m not kidding. Laughter is good for you in every way, and yet, how many people do you know who seldom if ever laugh? The Minister of Laughter would be in charge of injecting humor into our days.

I’d also like to see a Minister of Getting Shit Done. Have you noticed how things the government is supposed to do – fix roads, keep the water safe, manage Social Security, run the parks and so on – it doesn’t do very well anymore?

That’s because of bureaucracy, budget constraints and politicians who have a stake in shit NOT getting done. So, the MGSD would have the power to increase his or her budget, depending on what shit needs doing, as well as the power to tell the bureaucracy and the politicians to stuff it in a sack.

I’d also like to see:

A Ministry of Who the Hell’s to Blame for This Mess? Have you noticed that when things go terribly wrong, as they often do, it’s hard to tell who’s responsible? Take the Great Recession. It ruined lives and drained retirement accounts. That nation is still recovering. And yet, was anyone held accountable? Not really. The sole job of the Minister of Who the Hell’s to Blame for This would be to identify and punish the individual rats and scoundrels responsible for public crises. Our court system certainly isn’t going to do it.

A Ministry of Sarcasm – I don’t know what public good would be served by having a Minister of Sarcasm, but interviews with him or her might at least be something the Minister of

Laughter could use:

Reporter: “Minister, could you please explain your job?”

Minister: “Yes, I could.”

Reporter: (Awkward pause.) “So, uh, will you?”

Minister: “Yes, I will.”

Reporter: (Awkward pause) “Do you mean, like, now?”

Minister: “No, I figured I’d answer next month.”

For maximum effect, the Minister of Sarcasm would always be accompanied by a drummer who would be in charge of delivering rimshots.

The Ministry of No, I’m Sorry, That’s Just Stupid – This job would be similar to the Supreme Court, except it would rule on lesser social annoyances like low-rise jeans, tongue studs, Heinz Mayochup, and roundabouts.

I would be perfect for that job, incidentally, as many, many things annoy me. Don’t get me started.


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