I always figured that losing your "Empire" status can't be so terrible -- the sun still rises and sets over England (if not the British Empire) every day, and people there seem to lead normal lives of going to work and making babies and drinking pints and all that. Now here's a Brit to explain how it all works:

Not all domestic industries suffer when a nation goes into an irreversible decline, of course. Others suddenly find themselves booming. The beleaguered American newspaper industry, for example, might very well be able to profit immensely by simply dispatching its most snide and ironically detached correspondents to the new capitals of world power, from which they will be able to report with maximum condescension about the hilarious earnestness of the locals. Mark my words: Demoralized Americans won't be able to get enough of these reports, and thus will buy multiple newspapers every morning while traveling to work on buses and trains, having abandoned their cars when the U.S. government stopped qualifying for its bulk oil discount from the Saudis.

Not that working 8-to-7 six days a week will seem so important when you're no longer ruling the world. If Britain's experience is anything to go by, Americans will soon find more satisfaction by trying to break pointless world records -- crossing Greenland on a pogo stick, using only one arm, while dressed in native Bolivian costume, for example -- or writing absurdist comedy, or recovering from apocalyptic, three-gin-and-tonic lunchtime hangovers.

Oh yes, you're in for a treat.

Ready to give it a shot.