I have a secret, and of course I can't tell you this secret because then it won't be one, apart from the fact that my secret is I secretly admire smokers. It could be the cool sophistication, the suave manner they have while knowingly doing something that all the right people see as something that is really rather wrong. If it annoys Nicola Roxon, it can't be all that bad. It could also be the fact that they have cigarette breaks during work. How good is that? I just get a lunch break, but they get a break every half hour or so.
I'd take up smoking myself, but I might get in trouble, so I won't. No, it seems I will have to admire smokers from afar - just as one admires extremely glamorous movie stars committing reprehensible acts of gratuitous violence to one another on the big screen, or rather eloquent professors of linguistics committing a stream of offensive expletives live to air on the radio, or particularly naughty children making melodious farting sounds in front of the teacher, or other examples of people doing really rather wrong things in front of exactly the right people.
But why should smokers have all the fun as well as the lung disease? I want my cigarette breaks as well. So from now on at work I might start taking regular 'oxygen breaks' - right while I'm in the middle of doing some extremely important and vital task that can't just be dropped, of course, just to add to the piquancy of the occasion. I'll go outside, and stride up and down on the footpath with my hands behind my back, surveying the scene with a contemplative gaze, and if any manager or head or boss (there's a lot of them where I work, I can never quite work out which is who or who is what) asks just what the hell I'm doing, I'll tell them.
And smoking jackets: what ever happened to them? No matter; from now on I think I'll adopt a billowing, velveteen jacket for my oxygen breaks. A plush oxygen jacket is just the thing needed to lend an air of louche sophistication to an activity that might otherwise be seen as, say, Tim not working. It would make the whole thing that much more eventful, adding just a touch of moment to the - well, the moment. And then there are smoking rooms and smoking cars and smoking parties... the list goes on and on. I suppose we have the equivalent of a lot of those already, and a lot of these simple pleasures have been taken from smokers by the government, so maybe I don't need all of those things.
Then again, if I keep up with this oxygen kick, where will it lead me? It mightn't be long before I sashay into bars and rasp out at the barman, 'Dihydrogen monoxide, mate - on the rocks'. Or buying magazines in greasy out-of-town petrol stations and ogling lovely pictures of gardens taken by friendly old grannies with names like Mavis or Doris (the grannies have the names, I mean, not the gardens). And - dare I mention the word - 'weed'? Yes, I'll probably start pulling up the weeds in my back garden in a short while.
After I take up oxygen, my life could quickly become an out of control spiral into endless hedonistic and decadent pleasures. Who knows? I can't wait to see.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
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- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
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