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EVERYTHING BUT – Upped by smoke

Ridley Greene

EVERYTHING BUT – Upped by smoke

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THERE?ARE TWO?NOTABLE FEATURES of Barbadian life of late – outside the increased stabbing and shooting of each other.
We are drinking and smoking inordinately too much; and we sit gorging on mostly unhealthy food, becoming unimpressively fatter.
Let me hasten to say I make no reference to those sweet souls who have genuinely challenging problems with weight, despite their best medical or health efforts.
I speak to those people who indulge in heuristics: they live their lives by trial and error – passionately, without a care for whom they offend, inconvenience or destroy, including themselves.
Take the binge drinker, who sees you on your arrival at the bar and immediately licks his chops, for he has yet another session to start – at your expense and annoyance.
Men who are drunk are dead heavy and they have this bad habit of leaning on your sore shoulder, or slapping you hard on your bad back.
To boot, your face is often pitted by the proverbial golf balls of enormous size as your drunken acquaintance antithetically hurries along his slurred speech.
You drink socially these days at risk of indirect assault.
Not so with some chronic smokers. Their attack can be pointed, vengeful and odious.
Take this young woman who walked from an impressive-looking SUV into the space of some friends of mine and thereupon lit up a cigarette, oblivious to the habitat around her.
She was immediately but kindly approached by a member of the group and advised that the smoke would pose some discomfort – or the attempt was made . . . .
The young Amazon flew into a rage: declared she was outside the public building of gathering proper – no matter that she and her entourage came and found other people sitting at and standing around tables placed on the perimeter of the bar for the outdoor comfort of health-conscious patrons.
The young woman in all her bombast declared she didn’t see any No Smoking sign on the exterior walls of the bar, or in the trees around, or in the sky above. As far as she was concerned, she was within her rights to smoke in any open space and she would be damned if anyone would stop her.
No amount of pleading and explanation by management of the bar could assuage this young firebrand. The public smoking laws of Barbados were irrelevant to her and anathema to her rights – particularly now that she is living and working in New York and “have a degree”.
Her unreasonable and illogical stance was buttressed by the explosiveness of an even more belligerent person and empty vessel, who had a grave problem with “old people”. Worse than this Scotch bonnet’s aromatic smoke was her abuse and invective.
There is this notion that Minister of Health Donville Inniss and his Government are seeking to save these smokers from themselves. I would be disappointed if the powers were, because many of these tobaccoists have no urge to give up their addictive habit.
I would accept that Mr Inniss et al. are trying their best to save me from them. And I look forward toward the day when – with the minister’s help – not even a waft of smoke will be forthcoming from a single public bus.
As to having gastrointestinal fortitude, we know what we must do: along with some exercise, eat healthy food, drink less booze – outside of red wine. Obesity is not like the common cold; it is not contagious – though one may wonder when one drives along the ways and byways of St Michael.
Obesity wears all kinds of things: microminis, Levi jeans, tights, leggings, jeggings . . . . Obesity seems to know no bounds – and therein is the problem.
I can avoid chips, confectionery and poor quality chocolate with far more efficiency and success than I can the HIV virus or hepatitis B.
I can run faster from fried chicken than any fast-food combo can catch up with me – although I must confess to a weakness for Sandy’s poulet; and I need not pig out, though the Bush Bar’s humongous pork chop keeps a-calling.
If we will not be unimpressively fat, we will have to do better than eat and drink by trial and error. Obesity need not be a life sentence on the stomach.