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Stephen Fry on Smoking

November 3rd, 2007 | 3 Comments | Categories: Uncategorized |

Stephen Fry’s blog is a wonder to behold. His command of the English language is, as we’ve know for decades, incredible, but he’s also clearly completely at home in the digital realm (I had no idea he was such a gadget obsessive).

Anyway, he posted a while back on addiction, and posts a particularly wonderful description of the utter stupidity of smoking –

Imagine that one day someone hit himself lightly on the head with a parsnip. Instead of stopping (for this is a foolish thing to do) he carried on doing it. When he eventually did stop he went about his business but discovered, much to his surprise, that he had a sudden unconquerable urge to hit himself lightly on the head with a parsnip all over again. So he did. And the more he did it, the more he needed to do it. The act of doing it gave him a tiny surge of joy, a little rush of pleasure that had to be elicited, never mind what a twazzock he looked, parsnipping himself on the head all day.

Smoking is no less stupid than that. In fact it is a whole bicycle-shed more stupid, because it’s smelly, unsociable, carcinogenic etc etc etc. But the principle is the same: smoking has absolutely no point other than to stop the misery of not smoking. Smokers claim that it aids concentration, soothes the nerves and so on, but we know really that it only does those things because it’s tobacco addiction that messes with concentration and jangles the nerves in the first place. Tapping your head lightly with a parsnip would aid concentration too if not doing it made you all jumpy and desperate.

…and so it goes on, in great detail. Marvellously written and argued.

I HATE smoking. With the typical vengeance of an ex-smoker. I hate that it imposes on my by making me smell horrible and damaging my health. If I started pissing on people’s feet in bars just because I was drinking so much liquid that I couldn’t possibly be expected to make it to the loo every time I needed to go, I’d probably be arrested, despite it being arguably less intrusive than smoking in a confined space with someone. It’s certainly far less likely to damage their health, and would only require their shoes to be cleaned, not every item of clothing they’re wearing… (and don’t even get me started on trying to dry clothes in doors in a flat where people smoke…)

So stop, give up, admit defeat. It’s a rubbish, antisocial habit that makes you look like a tragic addict not a cool pop star. It makes you smell, wheeze and is such a gruesome waste of money.

AND – this is the one that really riles me – don’t even THINK to pretend to me that you have any ecomonkey credentials at all if you smoke. Unless you’re growing your own tobacco. Save for the arms trade, there is no legal industry in the world more damaging than the tobacco industry. So if you’re drinking fair trade coffee and smoking Marlbro lights, you’re a complete joke. You might as well buy a copy of the Big Issue then punch the bloke in the face and steal all his money. The notion that smoking is any way ‘counter cultural’ is so utterly laugable. It ties you to the whims of big corporations more than any action short of throwing tear gas cannisters at protestors.

And, let it be known, if you’re smoking near me, I might not comment, but right then, I’m thinking about what a complete nob you look with a ciggie hanging out of your mouth, and I’ll like you a lot more the minute you stop. :o)

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3 Comments so far ↓

  • Robert Clark

    I admire your point, especially about cigarette companies being evil, but just thought I’d point out in case you didn’t know that Stephen Fry smokes. Also, so do I, but that’s beside the point.

  • Laura

    THANKS.

    Seriously, thank you. I’m desperately trying to stop this foolish habit and I’m glad I stumbled on this post. It’s put all my nicotine-deprived half thoughts in to some semblance of order. I look like a right pillock…

  • John B

    He stopped smoking in 2007, i think he is still a non smoker. His comments abot the tobacco companies were as a non smoker.