Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Health Inspired by Smokers

You can find inspiration in some of the most unlikely places. For example, thoughts inspired to better health spawned by smokers. Let me begin by stating that I am a non-smoker myself, and there is absolutely no disputing the negative impact smoking can have on one’s health. That aside, observing smokers can inspire us to better health if we look closely.

My Father-in-law is a staunch Englishman who is incredibly passionate about his pipe. He is nearly 70, healthy as a horse from all appearances and, most importantly, appears to be a very relaxed, happy and satisfied gentleman. Further to this, he believes that “smoking should be mandatory”. Okay, so he’s a bit of a character. That aside, he’s worked like a devil all of his life, grew up with German bombs falling on his town during the WWII, raised a family, loves sailing and wine, and been an avid gardener forever. Never could you paint a better portrait of contentment. Ask him his secret and he replies “a nice bit of beef, good wine and bowl of ‘bacca in me pipe”.

I remember working crappy jobs in retail and whatnot when I was in my early 20’s. I’d get my typical half hour for lunch plus two 15 minute breaks. The smoker’s I worked with, however, seemed to go out for 10 minutes each and every hour. I must admit that I was jealous. Upon further reflection, we can begin to see one of smoking’s health benefits: fresh air (wilfully polluted), taking ones self out of the workplace fray and deep breathing with inhalation and exhalation, plus the development of a mini-social group with which one could vent, deflate or simply digress in their thoughts. Even now as I walk past office buildings downtown you see several employees standing outside taking smoke breaks (though perhaps it’s not quite so relaxing when it’s -30c!).

Smoking is definitely an addiction, but, that being said, many smoker’s will tell you that they absolutely love to smoke. We live in a toxic world, so wilfully adding more toxins to your body seems foolish and probably is. But then we must ask ourselves as well whether smoking is truly the lead culprit of disease and cancer, against a backdrop of bio-engineered foods, environmental pollutants and other noxious elements present in everything ranging from preservatives to underarm deodorant. UV rays cause skin cancer, but what chemicals are in sunscreen as we lather it over our largest organ – our skin? Then there is bug spray; lathering our skin in poison! My Mother has smoked all her adult life and is just now recovering from breast cancer in her mid 60’s. Another friend of mine who has never smoked a day in her life had breast cancer at 28. You hear tales of folks who had a grandparent who smoked until they were 97 and then got hit by a car, and others who lost loved ones to smoking related disease in their early 40s. George Burns made it to 99 smoking his cigars and Santa Claus has been puffing on a pipe for eternity! Life truly is a lottery and I don’t know whether I’d rather a long kick at the cat where my last couple of decades are spent old and decrepit, or to have a shorter but indulgent run.

So what am I saying here? First of all, enjoy life. If you are enjoying things that are detrimental to your health then assess their value. Smoking might kill you, as may bicycling, skydiving, or anything that involves nature or elevated heart rates. Secondly, as a smoker consciously takes 10 minutes or so to smoke, so should we all simply take 10 minutes each hour to separate ourselves from the rigours of our hectic day, take a few deep inhalations and exhalations (Yoga breathing!), and diverge your thoughts on a positive or releasing tangent. Finally, relax and enjoy life. None of us will live forever, and some of us will never truly “live”. Be what you want, be good to people and enjoy yourself.


  • At 1:03 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    this is really good stuff, and though I do smoke, the best part of that is the time spent reflecting, which david suzuki or some lama. or any real christian( sorry but gw bush, j falwell or pat robertson are not, really) could do and/or are commanded to do. out of the rest of your reflection, congruent with the wisdom of allah or el, what more needed, patience and peace; shantih, shalom, salaam, and how, as sitting bull said, tho' he knew how; he wanted only a chance.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home