And the Lord spoke to Noah and said: "In six months I'm going to make it rain until the whole earth is covered with water and all the evil people are destroyed. But I want to save a few good people, and two of every kind of living thing on the planet. I am ordering you to build Me an Ark," said the Lord. And in a flash of lightning He delivered the specifications for an Ark. "OK," said Noah, trembling in fear and fumbling with the blueprints. "Six months, and it starts to rain" thundered the Lord. "You'd better have my Ark completed, or learn how to swim for a very long time." And six months passed. The skies began to cloud up and rain began to fall. The Lord saw that Noah was sitting in his front yard, weeping. And there was no Ark. "Noah," shouted the Lord, "where is my Ark?" A lightning bolt crashed into the ground next to Noah, for emphasis. "Lord, please forgive me," begged Noah. "I did my best. But there were big problems. First I had to get a building permit for the Ark construction project, and your plans didn't meet Code. So I had to hire an engineer to redraw the plans. Then I got into a big fight over whether or not the Ark needed a fire sprinkler system. My neighbors objected claiming I was violating zoning by building the Ark in my front yard, so I had to get a variance from the city planning commission. "Then I had a big problem getting enough wood for the Ark because there was a ban on cutting trees to save the Spotted Owl. Then the carpenters formed a union and went out on strike. I had to negotiate a settlement with the National Labor Relations Board before anyone would pick up a saw or a hammer. Now we got 16 carpenters going on the boat, and still no owls. "Then I started gathering up the animals, and got sued by an animal rights group. They objected to me taking only two of each kind. Just when I got the suit dismissed, EPA notified me that I couldn't complete the Ark without filing an environmental impact statement on your proposed Flood. Then the Army Corps of Engineers wanted a map of the proposed new flood plain. I sent them a globe. And the IRS (The tax authorities) has seized all my assets claiming I'm trying to avoid paying taxes by leaving the country, and I just got a notice from the state about owing some kind of use tax. "I really don't think I can finish your Ark for at least another five years," Noah wailed. The sky began to clear. The sun began to shine. A rainbow arched across the sky. Noah looked up and smiled. "You mean you're not going to destroy the earth?" Noah asked, hopefully. "Wrong!" thundered the Lord. "But being Lord of the Universe has its advantages. I fully intend to smite the Earth, but with something far worse than a Flood. Something Man invented himself." "What's that?" asked Noah. There was a long pause, and then the Lord spoke: "Government."