September 23, 2014
I quit smoking around 10 years after I quit drinking, but I miss smoking much more, and it was far harder to give up. Especially since, right after my last cigarette, I met my future husband”a smoker. Because God can be a jerk.
(Incidentally, by “smoking,” I mean tobacco. Weed never did a thing for me.)
Anyway, I”ve promised myself that if I ever find out I have cancer, I get to start smoking again.
This leaves me going for mammograms I don”t believe in, then waiting in vain for the phone to ring, like a particularly morbid teenager. That’s when I”m not twisting into awkward poses, going on a skin safari in search of promising new moles or suddenly suspicious-looking old ones.
Last week, I thought I”d finally found a new and even better excuse to light up.
“Ontario politician says it is time for a cigarette smokers registry,” said the headline at CBC.ca:
Ontario has always taken a hard line when it comes to its provincial anti-smoking laws and MPP John Abbot says it is time to take this hard line even further. Mr. Abbot wants the province to create the country’s first “smokers registry.”“Alas, even that rather tepid spirit of rebellion appears to be absent in the hearts of kids these days.”
“This will be useful for both smokers and non-smokers,” says Abbot, “The time has come for us to know where smokers live, work and, most importantly, smoke, so the non-smoking public can make decisions based on this information.”
Judging from the comments, I wasn”t the only one who failed to twig that this was supposed to be satire. In my feeble defense, I plead an intoxicating cocktail of wishful thinking, pre-dawn caffeine deficiency, and Muggeridge’s Law of Satire.
Still, I felt stupid and deserved to. As one friend emailed me, “Don”t you know by now that you can”t believe anything the CBC reports?”
The same friend informed me that there’s a comedy program on CBC Radio called This Is That, and that this was one of their bits. How was I to know? While I”m not one of those clods who think “satire” is necessarily synonymous with “funny,” still: the Onion at its best combines painfully acute plausibility with laugh out loud humor. Whereas that This Is That post read like the rough outline for a promising gag, rather than a polished bit. You can almost hear them in the writers” room: “We”ll stick in the jokes later.”
Furthermore, except for the fact that I”m obligated to pay for it, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation plays no role in my life, not even as an object of scornful amusement. I couldn”t find CBC Radio on either the AM or the FM dial were you to hold a gun to my head.
Which brings us back to the whole plausibility thing. After all, up until recently, Canada kept a long gun registry”one of those expensive and ultimately impotent “security theater” productions the state inevitably mounts after Muslims do something horrible.
After decades of promises, demands, and more promises, the registry was finally discontinued. Then thousands of firearms owners undertook the “Great Canadian Gun Registry Shuffle:” swapping rifles in a now-legal, vaguely passive-aggressive, but still ingenious stunt that delivered the coup de grace to the existing database, should a future Liberal or NDP government vote to revive it.
I would have gladly taken part in the Shuffle, but all I own is a single shotgun, and a 20 gauge youth model at that. In other words, no one else would”ve wanted it, and I can”t manage anything more powerful.
Having missed out on that mischievous, subversive fun, I was looking forward to giving that smokers” registry the nicotine stained finger, to the point of daydreaming about which brand I”d go back to buying.