|616224. Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:54 am
Noah the Second
It is a little-known fact that, for some time, God has been trying to organise a re-run of Noah's flood. His PR advisers have invented the convenient cloak of ‘global warming' to disguise His machinations, but if you go to the right place on the Internet you can tap into the tragic exchanges between God and Noah the Second.
Apparently on his mother's side, Noah II is some distant descendant of the Levantine boat-builder who finished up stranded on Mt Ararat. In fact, our modern-day Noah lives in Norwood, South London, but still sports the long unkempt beard of his unforgettable forefather. I was pretty interested myself because in the far-flung Arkwright clan we often wonder whether we, too, may have some interesting Levantine roots.
The basic, divine, instructions to Noah the Second could not have been simpler. It was going to rain for forty days and forty nights and the earth would be flooded just the same as last time around. "I therefore command you to build an Ark and fill it with examples of every living creature plus a representative cross-section of human beings. But with the latter, for Heaven's sake avoid any parking attendants, double-glazing salesmen, estate agents or Hedge Fund Managers."
As QI regulars are well aware, God instructed Noah the First to include rather more than a brace of every living thing on earth in his Ark. In fact he required that, of every clean beast, there should be a small platoon. Such "clean beasts" included all the edible animals such as sheep, cows, goats, deer and, amazingly, locusts - which presumably were considered a delicacy in those long-gone days, a sort of scampi for landlubbers. Like prairie oysters. Or manna.
The prodigies here on QI do have a good point about the Biblical arithmetic. My own guess is that God does occasionally play dice when the Holy Spirit moves him, whatever Albert Einstein had to say on the matter. He intended Noah to roll a Six for the females together with a One for the male, at least for all the edible animals, creepy-crawlies and the birds of the air. It was a reward for being useful, rather like the 72 virgins lined up in Heaven for obedient Moslems.
Unfortunately, Noah of Tooting's troubles had hardly begun. "The thing is, God" Noah explains in an early email, "I needed to get outline design approval from the maritime division in Mr Mandelson's huge ministry, yea even before I could start work. That took me yonks. And I've already had the local council round twice being nosey, while the Customs and Revenue are determined to charge me VAT, even though safety equipment is supposed to be exempt.
"And then there's the wood problem. All the decent trees round this neck of the woods have had preservation orders slapped on them. Even worse, in my bit of Norwood we find ourselves designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, set up in order to protect the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls, and unless I could chop down their trees there would be no owls left to spot - but I might just as well have been talking to a brick wall."
"So I next thought about using imported timber instead, but ran straight into another problem. Apparently I will be put in prison unless I use timber from countries where it is sustainable, whatever that means. I really can't see the point of that myself, since all those countries are going to be knocked flat by your Epic Flood anyway. But the environmentalist wiseacres would hear none of it."
At this point in the email exchanges even God begins to get a bit shirty. "Noah!" He booms, "I'm about to start doing the rain! Where is my bloody Ark ?"
"Forgive me, Lord," begs Noah the Second, "But things have changed a bit round here since last time. It turns out I now also need Building Regulations approval. And I've been in endless correspondence with the London Fire Brigade about their bloody Fire Certificate and a sprinkler system. On a boat ?
"Meantime all my NIMBY neighbours here in Norwood reckon I should have obtained Planning Permission for building the Ark in my garden because it amounts to development of the site, even though in my view it just is a Temporary Structure. We could argue to Doomsday on that one."
"It's damn nearly Doomsday already" thunders God who then adds : "Look, sunshine: there is a limit to how long I am prepared to faff around with the fundamental laws of physics, just to stave off my torrential rain while you go six times round the houses merely to obtain some crummy old Fire Certificate. And who on earth needs a Fire Certificate, for My Sake, when you and I both know perfectly well it will be pissing it down for weeks ?"
Undeterred, Noah the Second continues his saga of bureaucratic woe. "So in the end we had to appeal to the Secretary of State for a ruling. You can imagine how long that is taking, what with Cabinet reshuffles and all. Then the Department of the Environment demanded that a bond be posted to cover the cost of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions to clear the route for the Ark's passage to the sea. I have tried explaining to them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it."
"Have you done what I told you, and started gathering in the animals two by two, except where I want you to get seven of the smelly things instead?" asks God. Noah the Second has been forced to admit a further difficulty. "Well, as soon as I started gathering in the animals two by two, the RSPCA took me to court. They alleged I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too constrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space.
"Then the London Assembly, the Environment Agency and the Port of London Authority ruled that I couldn't build my Ark until they'd conducted an Environmental Impact Study on your proposed flood. Then again I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Equal Opportunities Commission on how many ethnic minorities, disabled, women and over-sixties I'm expected to hire for my ark building team.
"I tried to get round that one by recruiting my family instead. But as soon as they found out, the trades unions told me I'm not allowed to employ my sons any more. They insist I have to hire only fully-paid up union members with ark-building experience. To make matters worse, Customs and Excise then seized all my assets, claiming I'm attempting to leave the country illegally with endangered species. So, forgive me, Lord, but it will take at least ten years for me to finish this Ark. It's not as easy as you seem to think."
All of a sudden, the threatening skies over Norwood cleared. The sun began to shine again, and a rainbow appeared. Noah the Second looked up in wonderment at this sudden change in the weather and asked, "You mean you're not going to destroy the world after all, God?" "No, my son, I've decided against all that." saith the Lord. "I now begin to realise how the British Government got there first."
|616300. Tue Sep 22, 2009 11:26 am
|Ha ha! That was good, Peregrine.
Reminds me of the joke about God saying to Noah - "Noah, it's time to build another ark, but there are some different requirements this time."
"OK God," says Noah. "Fire away," and he gets his pen and notepad out.
"First," says God, "I want you to build this ark higher - lots of layers one on top of the other."
"OK," says Noah. "Might cause a few stability problems but nothing we can't work around."
"Second," says God, "I want you to make it watertight."
"No problem," says Noah.
"Third," says God, I want you to fill it full of fresh water and stock it with fresh-water fish."
"OK," says Noah, looking a bit dubious. "But why do you want to do that?"
"Oh no real reason," says God. "I just fancied having a multi-story carp ark."