Since Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth anointed me Duke of Dukes County on July 15, year of our Lord 2020, many of my loyal subjects have suggested additions to my original edict—often at a high volume in the Stop & Shop parking lot. I had no idea that being duke would be so much work. It is my fervent hope that the following fiats will bring lasting peace and harmony to Dukes County, and allow me to resume my regular nap schedule.

To wit, on this seventh day of December, year of our Lord 2020, I, the Duke of Dukes County, hereby declare:

Businesses with potholed parking lots that resemble the lunar surface shall contribute 10 per cent of their daily revenue to the Island Wheel Alignment Fund until they remedy the situation.

Dog owners who pick up their pooch’s poop and leave the bag behind shall be given a rigorous round of noogies and serve 100 hours of poop scooping.

Whereas hundreds of cruise ships are now drydocked, and whereas the struggle for summer/employee housing in Dukes County gets more dire every year, a cruise ship shall be procured for summer/employee housing. This will not only boost our economy and allow local business owners at least three hours of sleep, it will also keep those rambunctious youth offshore, where they can live it up without keeping us up at night.

Each town will have a “Zone of Silly Walks” of no less than 10 yards in length, that shall be streamed on the internet at Any pedestrians who do not attempt a silly walk shall wear a clown nose for one week.

All weddings shall be canceled until further notice. This will not only curb potential virus transmission but since half of all marriages end in divorce, this will save many of my subjects a great deal of strife and legal expense. The one exception shall be if New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern accepts my proposal to become the Duchess of Dukes County. She’s so awesome.

Anyone who leaves his or her discarded “stuff” on the roadside for more than 24 hours shall be fitted with an oxen yoke and cart and shall drag their “stuff” to the nearest dump.

Whereas the housing crisis is a threat to our Island character and economy, whereas over 40 per cent of open land is now protected, and whereas 78 per cent of Dukes County housing stock is empty for nine months of the year, the land bank shall immediately become the Workforce Housing Bank. Unless we want our first responders responding from the mainland, our teachers permanently teaching remotely, and our mail dumped in one big pile at the SSA terminal, we must act now.

Single-use plastic bottles shall be immediately banned and the young people of Plastic Free MV shall be given the Duke’s Order of Merit, our deep gratitude, and free pizza for a year.

I shall put the royal kibosh on any attempt by President Trump to trade Dukes County for Greenland before he leaves office.

Unless you are in the food service industry, posting photos of your meals on social media shall be prohibited. We don’t care. Cut it out.

Whereas there is a lack of predators for mice — which are the source of the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease — the red foxes of Woods Hole shall be given free SSA commuter books.

All those against fluoridated water shall be given DIY home dentistry drills.

Unless someone can convince me that a bowling alley in Oak Bluffs, a hotel in Edgartown or a home restoration in Tisbury impact my entire dukedom, the MVC shall immediately shelve all development of regional impact (DRI) proceedings and let the elected officials of town planning boards handle their business.

Anyone who texts, talks or checks his or her phone in a movie theatre will be given a vigorous application of noogies and be banned from all movie theaters for no less than one year.

Whereas deer play a key role in the spread of tick-borne diseases, and whereas they have no predators on this Island other than hunters and cars, in the interest of public health, the speed limit on main roads shall be increased to 75 miles an hour.

People who refuse to follow mask protocol will be given free transportation to Penikese Island.

As your Duke, I beseech all of you to put up outdoor lights this holiday season. They’re sparkly and festive and they serve to remind us that, despite the gloom and hardship we’ve endured in 2020, there is light at the end of the tunnel in 2021.

Barry Stringfellow lives in Edgartown