In England, the Queen employs someone called “the Swan Marker” to ride in a classy little boat up and down the Thames, weighing swans, talking to schoolchildren about how much swans weigh, and toasting to her majesty. See:
At first I was thinking about how the British Empire was the largest empire in history, and the dominating global power for more than a hundred years. At the end of World War I they governed one quarter of the world’s population. So when the Swan Marker says “all swans, unmarked, in open waters belong to the crown,” it was kind of funny-sad, you know? It expressed the waning power of an archaic figurehead. And it seems to me that it’s exactly this sort of well-dressed pomp that’s uniformly distributed over everything, from Buckingham Palace to the swans in the river that makes England seem kind of stodgy and out of date. Silly even. That’s what I was thinking at first. But then I realized that I wish we had men in sharp uniforms and captain hats sailing in cherry wood boats up and down our rivers flying the Swan Flag and making sure all the swans were doing great. I not only wish we had that, I wish that was my job. You think I want to be here? I don’t. I’d love to spend my days putting some swans in a sack and seeing how much they weigh and placing eggs in schoolchildren’s hands and taking a break in the middle of the afternoon to stand in my little boat and toast her majesty, Hannah Montana.