Once upon a time, on a Little Farm nestled in the rolling hills, there lived a Woman named Nell.
Now, Nell had lived on this Little Farm all her life. She inherited the Little Farm from her Parents when they passed away, being their only child. They loved Nell very much and taught her all the skills she needed to know to run the Little Farm, and brought her up to take responsibility for herself, the land, and her destiny. She did well for herself out there on the Little Farm, raising her crops, tending the animals, and generally going about the day to day jobs that earned her living.
As time passed Nell met her true love, John, who was from the nearby City of Federal. After they were married, he joined her there on the Little Farm, and while he had none of the knowledge and experience needed to work the Little Farm - they loved each other very much and were happy together.
Early one morning, John decided to surprise his new bride by making her breakfast.
"Bacon, Eggs, and Biscuits will make a wonderful breakfast for my darling young Wife," he thought.
As he fired up the stove and began to cook, some of the grease from the bacon frying caught fire. He stood momentarily stunned as the flames sprang from the skillet and began to grow with every passing minute. Nell, having smelled the burning grease, ran to the kitchen to find him standing there while the fire began to quickly spread.
"Quick," she called to John, "Grab the canister of flour from the counter and douse the flames!"
"What?" he answered. "Flour is for making biscuits and bread... you don't put out fires with it! There are specially trained professionals who have undergone years of study in the science of Fire Safety. Its their job to put fires like this out. Simple people like you and I don't have any business even thinking about tackling something so dangerous and complicated."
With that, John finally leaped into action and grabbed the phone from the wall. He dialed the Federal Fire Department. The operator assured him that every resource available from Federal would be dispatched with the utmost urgency.
The flames had spread from the skillet, over the cook top, and had begun creeping up the wall of the kitchen by the time the first Federal Fire Truck arrived. Nell and John had been forced by the flames and smoke out into the front yard of their little house by this time, and they watched as the beautiful, state of the art firetruck (for which the Federal City Government had paid 5 times it's actual value) pulled slowly and quietly into the driveway.
"Sorry it took us so long," said the jolly fireman who hopped out of the truck. "We try not to run the siren because it makes us look pushy and rude to the other drivers on the road." He walked to the back of the truck, passing by the expensive and shiny chemical fire extinguishers where they sat in their brackets on the side, and began to fill buckets with water from the tank at the back.
"Excuse me," interrupted Nell, "but shouldn't you use the fire extinguishers on this fire instead of water? I mean, it IS a grease fire, after all. Water just spreads grease fires. Fire Extinguishers are specifically made to extinguish grease fires...."
"Oh, the extinguishers work great," answered the fireman, "and we used to use them all the time. Some of the other Federal Fire Department units didn't like the idea of spreading dangerous chemicals around, though - what with the sensitive wildlife and ecology in the area and all. We decided a while back that it really wasn't fair for us to insist on having things our way ALL the time, just because they work. So, we compromised and decided to use water - which is much safer for the environment."
And with that, the fireman ran into the house with his bucket of Environmentally Neutral Water and tossed it on the flames - which immediately spread from the kitchen, into the living room, and began a slow creep up the stairs toward the bedrooms above.
Nell and John stared with disbelief as the fireman shrugged his shoulders and walked slowly back to his truck for another bucket of water. As he did so, a second firetruck arrived on the scene.
This firetruck was absolutely weighed down with fire fighters. There was barely room for the driver to see out the windshield and several fell off their perches in the back as it made the turn into the driveway.
"Thank God you all got here finally," cried Nell. "This guy doesn't seem to know what he's doing at all. What took the rest of you so long?"
"Our truck is solar powered," said the driver as he struggled to free himself from the tangle of bodies in the cab of the truck. "It only has a range of 15 miles, and if we drive under a tree we have to draw straws to impartially determine whose turn it is to push it back out into the sun."
"Don't worry, though," he proudly declared, "we're here now and everything is under control. I am authorized to inform you that we plan to take legal action against the Insurance Company in order to force them to provide complete fire coverage for your home, even if you don't currently hold a policy. In addition we plan to punish the Bacon Industry for their reckless pursuit of profits at the expense of public safety."
The fireman stood there with a smug look on his face, almost as if he were waiting for an expression of gratitude for the news he had shared. Nell looked back at her house to see the first flames appearing at the upstairs windows.
"I don't care about all that.... my house is burning down NOW!", Nell cried.
The fireman shook his head, a look of bemusement on his face.
"I assure you, madam, that a great deal of thought and consideration by the best minds available have come to bear on your problem. Let me be perfectly clear, there will be no adherence to the status quo. We reject the failed firefighting procedures of the past, and are prepared to focus like a laser beam on the problems at hand.You just leave everything to us - we ARE the experts, after all. As soon as one of you sign this binding legal contract, we'll be ready to leap into action."
With that, he produced a sheaf of papers nearly a foot thick, thumbed his way to the last page, and presented it before the stunned couple with a pen.
"What the hell is this?" John cried.
"Just our standard commitment form... you know, your pledge to never cook bacon again, an agreement that you'll submit planned menus for approval by our board of nutrition and food safety before making dinner, and a few other items that I'm not at liberty to divulge until after you've signed it," he said dismissively. "And you better hurry up and sign it," he added. "I've not seen a blaze this intense since the Great Depression!"
John snatched the pen out of the fireman's hand and scribbled his name hurriedly on the dotted line.
"Now PLEASE," he exclaimed, "Do something about the fire before our house burns down COMPLETELY!"
"Right," answered the fireman, tucking the document back into his coat. "Phillip, deploy the anti-carbon emissions spray!"
At this point, the only other fireman who had managed to extricate himself from the cab of the second firetruck grabbed a sprayer tank from the back and began to sweep the spray nozzle back and forth over the house, which was by this time almost completely engulfed in flames. John and Nell looked on in disbelief as the smoke began to dissipate - while the flames actually leaped higher and burned brighter.
The fireman looked back at them with a look of pride on his face.
"It's ethanol," he replied to their puzzled faces. "It's renewable and it burns much cleaner than carbon fuel. We've learned that the quicker the house burns down, the quicker it will stop producing all that noxious smoke that is damaging the atmosphere!"
"Ah, yes," beamed the first fireman, "I guess now would be a good time to address the fines and penalties you're facing for engaging in an unauthorized bonfire activity.. Hmmmm?"