Guide to Moral Living in Examples: Melted Boots

Cyrus ambled out to his backyard, avoiding the piles of melted, black plastic that used to be boots. He sipped his coffee and watched the bright orange windsock hang limply from the pole. The morning sun had just crested the horizon and only a few purple clouds streaked the sky. Perfect conditions.

He set the coffee down on a small table beneath the windsock and picked up the laminated sheet tied to the windsock's pole. With his thumb he erased the black marks on the sheet. He began to go through the pre-flight safety checks listed on the sheet, and made fresh black marks as he completed them. Fireproof pants, check. Fire resistant boots, check (fireproof boots didn't provide enough cushioning). Blast jacket, check. Tying a bandana around his head to keep the sweat out of his eyes, he slid a shiny, full-coverage helmet over his head. Headgear, check.

The overall effect of his outfit was to make him look like a baked potato wrapped in foil.

The lock on the shed clicked open. He let it hang from the door and he stepped inside and slid his arms through the arm straps of his rocket pack. The sun shone off of the flat, shiny surface of his face mask. The pack whined as Cyrus flicked a switch to begin the fuel injection process. Another chorus of clicking switches later, the rocket pack sent a radio signal to the siren near Cyrus' house. A deep, robotic voice boomed from the speakers, muffled by his earplugs.


Cyrus gripped the levers of his rocketpack, and flicked the ignition switch. The rocket rumbled into life. Even though the thick layers, he felt a wave of heat wash across his butt and legs. The air conditioning system in his suit kicked in and he felt a strange tingle as the coolant did battle with the flames belching out of the rocket pack.

He bent double to check on his boots. They weren't melted - he'd finally figured out how to shield them from the indomitable heat of the rocket. Success!

Standing upright and using the throttle, he felt the thrill of the harness tugging at him and the wave of euphoria of flight as his legs slackened and his body left the ground. He titled forward and flew, under rocket power, straight forward for six meters. Carefully, he descended to the ground as gentle as a feather falling from a roosting chicken.

Yes! He'd finally solved the problem!

He killed the rocket, the cooling pumps and the siren. Yanking the helmet from his head and pulling out his earplugs, he did a very slow, very awkward victory dance with the extremely heavy rocket pack jiggling on his back. He didn't even notice the burning smell at first, since working with his rocket pack for the past several months had desensitized him to the odor of smoke. Then he noticed the crackling noise and turned to look at its source.

He'd lit the entire side of his house on fire when he'd bent over to check his boots.

The Moral: Spring for the fireproof boots and buy some insoles for them because otherwise you'll burn your house down.

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