In a nondescript pub in an unknown city, a Cigar and Whisky were engaged in deep conversation.
Cigar – a Churchill – was proud of his lineage but noticed with sadness that his numbers were on the wane. He worried about extinction in the near future, particularly as he seemed to be losing Smokers to Good Habits. Meanwhile, Whisky – a Laphroaig – took considerable pride in his long history and the difficulties that he had to put up with in coming into existence. Ruminating over the reasons that led to their present plight and reminiscing about the ugly turn of events proved a trifle too stifling for the Cigar and Whiskey, who found solace in each others’ company.
The recession had been severe on both. Not that they really believed this. Deep down, the root causes of their exasperation could be traced to Governments, Health Groups and in the unimaginable stupidity of the oafs who produced and sold them for a living. The matter needed some explanation.
An oratorical speaker, Churchill unleashed a tirade, lamenting the rapidly declining numbers of his family globally. Cigar population had declined 20% over the past 5 years, Churchill noted and repeated the number, hoping to aid digestion. It didn’t help matters. The good old method favoured by cigar aficionados – a 1-hour Cigar – seemed to be joining the annals of history. Churchill bellowed smoke at this thought. His consternation escalated on watching the rapidly multiplying numbers of low-cost, little cigars (Cafe Crème was one of his chief nemesis). He jeered at Man’s growing impatience with nearly everything around him. Even Cigars weren’t spared.
Laphroaig vented his spleen on pubs and businessmen. He couldn’t, for a moment, understand the sanity of liquor barons earnestly directing their consumers to consume their produce in rationed quantities. What sort of businessman produced in large amounts only to urge consumers against consuming his produce? It was an assault on Laphroaig’s highly refined sensibilities. Churchill added his chorus to this observation. Both noted that it was actually the Governments that inflicted this needless bit of pontification, after extracting their pound of flesh by way of taxes. Progressive bans, various forms of curtailment and clampdown were primarily responsible for their road to extinction.
There was unanimous agreement that humans needed to be self-regulating entities, knowing when to draw the line. When death was the only reality, the means to reaching this destination seemed relatively unimportant. Might as well get there happily, they felt.
Both were fans of numbers. WHO statistics indicated that tobacco caused 5 million deaths while alcohol consumption shaved off a further 2.5 million, every year. They did the numbers and the combined deaths came to about 0.1% of Earth’s population. Being liberal-minded fellows, they allowed an equal number of deaths through secondary causes. The percentage needle ticked to 0.2%. World population was growing at 1% every year. 0.2% deletion was hardly something that seemed worthy of hoopla. In fact, they were carrying out a great service by acting as a counter-weight to otherwise unchecked population growth.
Diabetes gorged nearly 5 million while Heart disease and Stroke consumed over 13 million every year. Electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and global warming seemed promising candidates to take top spots in the future but various self-interest groups were busy jousting to concoct conclusions that most suited their pockets. Churchill coughed and Laphroaig simmered at this apparent unjustness.
Both couldn’t help but think that they were welcome occasional additions to the mundanities of daily life. They relieved stress, brought a smile to the consumer’s face and warmed their hearts and lungs, quite literally. Nobody followed the Statutory Warnings anyway. It seemed to them that this was a grand entertainment orchestrated by health groups and governments, who couldn’t find humour in other areas.
All they wanted was to Rest in Peace.
Governments were lending a helping hand.