The story you are about to read is not true. But the quotations from our elected officials contain their actual words from recent speeches.

It was a beautiful, sunny day in August and Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public decided to walk to the park with their two children, ages 34 and 32, who still lived with them. They turned a corner and nearly bumped into the Secret Service detail of a tall man wearing a white robe.

“Doom! Doo-o-o-m!” the man moaned.

Mr. Public wiped his eyeglasses and put them on again. “Mr. President?” he asked.
“DOOM!” the president repeated. “Stronger storms, deeper droughts, longer wildfire seasons, shrinking ice caps! Immediate risks to our national security! No challenge poses a greater threat!”

“The Iranian nuclear bomb?” Mr. Public asked.

“Tough and principled diplomacy strengthening our security,” he said. “I’m talking about what we’re going to leave to our kids.”

“Eighteen trillion dollars in debt?” Mr. Public asked.

The president shook his head. “Time is not on our side here,” he warned.

“Time to go,” Mrs. Public said quietly.

Next to the president’s feet was a plastic ice bucket with a few dollar bills in it. Mrs. Public stepped around it and bumped into an aging monk dressed in sack cloth.

“Doom!” he called out, though she was inches from his face, “Do-o-o-om!”

“Governor Brown?” she asked.

“Our goose will be cooked,” the governor said. “It’s hard to imagine catastrophe, it’s hard to imagine extinction. Even to talk about it makes you sound like a crank or a nut.”

“Yes, nice to see you,” Mrs. Public said.

“We don’t even know how far we’ve gone or if we’ve gone over the edge,” he said. “There are tipping points. Feedback loops. We have to take measures against an uncertain future.”

“Are we talking about the unfunded state worker pensions?” Mrs. Public asked.

“We are talking about extinction,” the governor replied.

“That’s very nice,” Mrs. Public said, “Excuse us, won’t you?”

“We may not transform our being, but we are going to have to transform our use of the goods in the world, namely petroleum,” the governor said.

“All right, let me go,” Mrs. Public said. She stepped around the governor’s ice bucket, which contained $20 million left over from his re-election campaign, and when she looked up, she was staring into the chest of Al Gore.

“Doom!” he boomed.

“Thank you,” Mrs. Public said. She walked quickly past him, his three cash-filled ice buckets, and the private plane parked in the middle of the street.

There was one more street preacher on the block, a wizened little man wearing tan slacks and a sport jacket with strangely wide lapels. “Doom!” he said weakly.

Mrs. Public assisted him into a lawn chair. “There,” she said, “Are you comfortable?”

“I make a living,” the man said. “I’ve been here since 1970. That’s when I started warning about the climate. We had to stop using fossil fuels, I said. Or we would all perish from global cooling.”

“Global cooling?” Mrs. Public said.

“Another ice age!” the man said. “All the NASA scientists agreed. We had a consensus. And newspaper articles. You wanna see?”

“Maybe next time,” Mrs. Public said. “John, dear, would you give all these gentlemen a dollar and then let’s go, shall we?”

“Hmph,” Mr. Public nodded. “Hey, wait a minute. My wallet’s gone!”

The president, the governor, the former vice president and the man from 1970 all looked innocently in another direction and whistled. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say they emitted carbon dioxide, musically.