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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thank you for smoking

This is not an anti-smoking but a pro smoking message. You don’t see that one every day, do you? It’s true though, I’m as pro smoking as they come and if you stick around I’ll explain why.

First let me say though that I am just sick and tired of the smokers bashing. Just this morning I read three articles, urging pregnant women not to smoke. Oeh it’s bad for the baby.
Please, give me a break. I smoked when I was pregnant and so did all my friends and we all had healthy babies, who grew up to be healthy adults. Compare that to the kids of today. They’re allergic to this and allergic to that, they have asthma and as soon as a chilly wind blows they’re sick. Whimps I call them.

Many will say that smoking is bad for you. That it ruins your lungs and gives you cancer. Oh yeah, well I saw a doctor the other day and he stated that I had textbook lungs. “You are a walking non-smoking advertisement,” he told me. When I stated that had been smoking since I was sixteen you could have knocked that guy over with a feather.

But since we are on the subject of things that are bad for you ... what about car exhaust fumes and fumes from airplanes? A long time ago I read an article that stated that each time a plane passes by, the fumes are equal to 82 cigarettes. Hm, what do the non-smokers think of that?

And what about all the other stuff? Everybody happily smears deodorant under their arms, while medical textbooks state that the aluminum in deodorant sticks causes breast cancer.
Then there is hair dyes and cosmetics. Take a look at the ingredients folks, some of them are known to cause cancer. But do people care? ... no, they want to look good.

Some will say that if smokers want to light up that’s their good right, but that they shouldn’t bother others with second hand smoke.
Phoe-lees, second hand smoke. Back in the day when I was a teenager and went to clubs, you could cut the smoke in those places. And did anyone die of cancer? Nope, my friends and I are still very much alive.

Then there is the statement that smokers cost the state money. How so? I’ve never been to the doctor or a hospital with smoke related problems and neither have those that I know.

If you want to point a finger at people who cost the state money, what about those who drink? Some get all liquored up and get in their car. By doing so they cause accidents resulting in: material damage, hurting someone to the point that he ends up in a wheelchair, or killing someone.
Alcohol is also the leading cause for domestic violence.
Not to mention that more than one job is lost because of alcoholism.
Now how much money does that cost the state? If the drunk loses his job and ends getting employment, guess who pays for that ... you do! Unemployment insurance is deducted off your paycheck and goes to those who don’t work.

And that’s not all. Alcohol leads to high blood pressure, high blood pressure leads to strokes and heart attacks, and of course strokes and heart attacks lead to death. Not to mention that alcohol also causes liver cancer. But do bottles of beer, wine and spirits carry that message with a gory picture, nope. On the contrary, alcohol is packaged in attractive bottles and commercials are made, advertising that drinking is cool and fun.

What about junk food? Mountains of junk food are gobbled up each day, making close to half of the North American population overweight, with some being downright obese. Does anyone give them a dirty look? No, on the contrary, we’re supposed to feel sorry for them.

Then there is the sun. What’s wrong with the sun, you might ask ... skin cancer dear, ever heard of it? Some give me a dirty look when I’m smoking a cigarette, then they take off as much as is legally allowed and go and roast themselves in the sun. Skin cancer ... they don’t seem to care about that.

Let’s face it, this anti-smoking campaign was started by the cancer society who made itself billions of dollars in the process. Who heard of the cancer society twenty five years ago? Nobody, if they were there, they got no attention. And look at them now ... the richest ‘charitable’ organization.
While working for a consulting firm I saw statements (this is not hearsay, I saw those statements) of the cancer society in Colorado and Ohio. Both of them collected $1.3 million dollars in 2008. And that was just two states. Image what the cancer society rakes in over the whole of North America. We’re talking billions. Have you ever wondered where all that money is going?
Do you think they will ever reveal a cure for cancer? Of course not, the donations would dry up and then what?

And last but not least ... think of your taxes. If indeed all the smokers were to give up the habit, your taxes would sky rocket. Do you have any idea how much money goes into the tax coffers courtesy of cigarettes? Billions of dollars. Not just millions, but billions!
So if you come to think it, instead of picking on the smokers, shouldn’t you be thanking them?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Will it be a happy year?

It is the first day of the first month of a new year. Exciting, isn’t it? A whole year lies ahead, filled with possibilities. Out with the old and in with the new. As I let the old year out this morning and the New Year in, I wondered what 2011 will bring.

In case you’re wondering ... in previous years I let the old year out through the back door (in this case the balcony door) and let the New Year in through the front door. Since the past years haven’t really been all that great, I decided to change the tradition somewhat. I let the old year out through the front door and then let the New Year in through the back door. After all, the balcony door faces south, the south is associated with sunshine, sunshine is associated with warmth and happiness, so ... let the sunshine in.

Afterward I was thinking about 2010 and everything that happened.

The first notable thing happened in February when I lost my home. No, not through a sale or anything like that, my dad went into a retirement home and should I ever go back ‘home’, I will have to check-in to a hotel as there won’t be a place for me to stay. I suggested to my dad that he could come and live with me, but he didn’t want that. Living in a strange country, with a language he doesn’t understand didn’t appeal to him and I wouldn’t be able to give him the medical care he needs. So a retirement home it was.

March would have seen my 30th wedding anniversary if it was not for the fact that I got divorced some ... hm, how long has it been? Oh who cares when you're having fun.

In March I was also introduced to the electronic cigarette and gave up smoking for six whole days. No cravings whatsoever. Unfortunately, then I read an article written by a fellow ‘vaper’ (user of an electronic cigarette) stating how disgusting cigarettes smelled and tasted after ‘vaping’ only a few weeks. I started to wonder ... could this be true? If I lit up a smoke, would it smell and taste disgusting to me? So I tried it and lit up. Hm, the cigarette didn’t smell disgusting at all, I took a drag and hm, it didn’t taste disgusting either. As a matter of fact, the smoke smelled and tasted pretty good. That was it, my six smoke free days went up in smoke.
Still, I smoked significantly less. How much less? Let me put it this way ... I used to go through a carton per week, with the use of the electronic smoke I went through a packet a week.

In April ‘new’ furniture arrived. I had my dad’s ‘old’ furniture shipped over to me and when the lounge, dining room, bedroom and knick knacks arrived a hundred and one memories came with them. Some good, some funny, some painfully sad.

In May I had a birthday. I turned 53. 5 ... 3! ... am I really that old? I don’t feel old. On a good day I feel 35, on a bad day ... hm, yeah, well, 85 maybe.

In July we experienced a heat wave in Toronto and precisely during those super hot days the A/C in our condo building packed up. For three days we suffered an immense heat. We bought cooling fans that worked non- stop, but even with those fans it was unbearably hot in the rooms. I remember sitting with a cold wet towel around my neck and my feet in cold water to have some relief. When the temperature went down to 35 deg C (95 deg F) there was a noticeable difference and we breathed a sigh of relief. For nearly three weeks we were without A/C and it made me wonder how, in the olden days, we ever managed without it.

In August I got a job and with that my eleven month unemployment status came to an end. I stumbled into finance, which is something I had never done before. After having been an executive, administrative and legal assistant for more years than I care to remember, dealing with financial issues was a change, a challenge and occasionally hell on wheels.

In September a number of things happened.
We joined a bowling league; we played a bowling tournament (and took first place I might add); we were notified that our condo was to be sold; we spent evenings and weekends looking for a suitable place to live; and ended up buying the condo where we had been living for the past six years. After eleven years in Canada we finally became home owners.

The rest of the year was uneventful. Nothing particularly good happened, but nothing particularly bad happened either. We just slipped from one day into another.

And now what will 2011 bring? Last night and probably all through January, people will wish each other a happy New Year, but will it be? There will be some good times and there will be same bad times. There will be days that we’re walking on sunshine and days that we’ll be walking under a cloud of thunder. We will laugh out loud and we’ll silently cry.

364 days lie ahead of us. Are you ready for them? I hope you, me and everyone else has a truly happy year.