Light ‘Em Up

There is good and bad in every situation.  For instance, chocolate chip cookies are delicious, but they’re also high in sugar which could lead to diabetes.  Flowers are beautiful, but they also attract bees which, in some people, causes an anaphylaxis reaction when stung.  Fairy tales have a way of making children feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but then those very same people grow up and become miserable once they discover there’s no such thing as happily ever after.

It’s not any different with the health craze a lot of people are on these days.  Sure, there are benefits to living right, but Jim Spencer hasn’t been truly happy since smoking was banned inside the workplace.  “I have a right to breathe clean air!”, “I don’t want to get lung cancer via second hand smoke!”, “This place smells like an ashtray!”…he used to hear all of those complaints back when he could light ’em up inside of his office.  The government heard them as well and told him to butt out.

Jim feels that it’s unfair for his group to be singled out.  How come reheating last night’s fish in the staff microwave hasn’t been outlawed?  The smell alone is enough to make him feel queasy.  What about all the people who call in sick because they’re hung over or have developed complications with their diabetes from eating too many chocolate chip cookies?  The stress of having to do their work on top of his surely puts him at risk for a heart attack.  Why are people allowed to ignore the scent-free workplace signs?  Sitting next to Darlene, a woman who has paid perfectly good money to make herself smell like a skunk, causes his eyes to water like Niagara Falls, but he can’t say anything about her smelling like a skunk because then he’d be accused of workplace harassment.

If you were to ask Jim, he’d tell you that his love of smoking is one of the better habits going.  Do you know how many people he hasn’t told to “Fuck off!” over the years because he has had his cigarettes to turn to in times of stress?  How many brilliant ideas he’s come up with while relaxing over a smoke?  Or how many chocolate chip cookies he has avoided because smoking has given him something to do other than eat?  Lots.  Thanks to Jim’s smoking, no one has had their feelings hurt, his company has made a ton of money, and his sugar levels are right where they’re supposed to be.  Granted, there may be a health related issue brought on by his smoking that he’ll have to deal with the down the road, but he may very well get in a car accident tonight while driving down the road that leads to home.  Jim stills goes outside, though.

Because outside is exactly where Jim is now forced to go if he wants to smoke during working hours, which would be okay if he lived in San Diego where it’s sunny and seventy-two degrees outside nearly every day of the year.  But Jim lives in North Dakota where it’s freezing or windy or rainy most days.  Today is a freezing rain day, so he’s being treated to all three elements at once during his mid-morning smoke break.

“If I die from hypothermia, I swear to God my ghost will see to it that every anti-smoking nut out there goes to jail for involuntary manslaughter,” Jim says to himself in-between puffs.

He has a pack a day habit so there’s a decent chance he could succumb to the elements. Now technically, smoking isn’t permitted in American prisons, but if you’re the one who ends up in jail for involuntarily murdering Jim, are you going to argue the rules with Bubba or Psycho Sally?  Then perhaps you shouldn’t have had smoking in the workplace banned.  But you did, and now you’re looking at a possible ten years in prison.  Here’s hoping you don’t end up with Bubba or Psycho Sally for a cellmate.

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