Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Fri 28th Apr, 2006

Kill All Smokers part 001

There's someone outside the building smoking. We happen to be in the lab next to the front door; to get a bit of 'fresh' air in we've opened the windows. They've been standing there for the last fifteen minutes, smoking away and listening to their iPod and obviously waiting for someone to pick them up. The smoke has now completely penetrated the lab and is completely distracting me. I could cope if it was a nice aromatic pipe smoke as described by Neal Stepenson in "The Diamond Age", but no; it's ordinary, 'dirty leaves on fire' smoke from a standard boring cigarette.

Smokers, I think, just don't realise how annoying they are. Maybe it's because they've lost all sense of smell. Either the chemicals in smoke twist their brain into believing that no-one else minds their smoke, or they do so subconsciously out of the sort of retrojustification that we all indulge in to justify our own antisocial habits. Perhaps they just don't even think of the habit any more - their fingers light the thing, and their lungs breathe it in, without the slightest conscious thought. Maybe they justify it by thinking, "if someone wants me to stop they'll just come and ask me, and until then I'm going to stand here and make a good reek," (an idea which reminds me of a child saying "I'm just going to wave my fists about and walk toward you, and if you happen to get in the way that's your own problem.") I don't know. I've never smoked.

What I do feel like doing is going up to them and saying, "Do you mind if I just stand here for a while and let off some really noxious, rotten egg, toxic wasteland farts for a while? Because it makes me feel good, and it's actually quite good for my digestive system, and no-one else seems to mind or says anything to me while I do so anywhere else. Perhaps you'd like to join in, and we can comment on the types of food we eat to get the really horrendous birds-falling-from-the-sky smells that I think is a sign of a good fart. If you don't like the smell, just say so and I'll flip a coin - on heads I'll pretend to be polite and cork myself up, surreptitiously scowling at you in your persecution of my innocent pasttime; on tails, I'll discard all pretense at politeness and openly abuse you for daring to take my rights away, quite possibly openly farting in your face beforehand." Of course, to complete the effect, I'd have to eat a special food that costs about $30 per packet, stained my teeth and made my breath smell bad (so that even if I wasn't tooting merrily away it'd still be unpleasant to be in close conversation with me), the pack would have to warn me in violent, graphical detail that farting may kill or maim you permanently (!), and the fart would have to be a glowing cloud of green gas that everyone for fifty metres could observe and that you could never quite get rid of from your clothing.

Do you think that's going a little too far? :-)

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